Penguin Publishing Group | September 2017 | 352 pgs
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

I read Celeste Ng's Everything I Never Told You in 2015 and enjoyed her writing style and most of all the sensitivity and the insightfulness when portraying her characters and crafting her story. This second book is no exception and once again I found myself immersed in Celeste's storytelling and her interesting cast of characters set in Shaker Heights, Cleveland. 

The Richardsons is an upper class family consists of six members. William Richardson works as a lawyer and his wife, Eleanor, is a journalist with one of the local papers. Shaker Heights has its own history and for all Eleanor knows her family roots are there. One can say Shaker Heights is a well-planned suburb and the Richardsons are quite happy with the community there until Mia Warren and her teenaged daughter, Pearl, enter into their lives. 

Mia, a single mother, is an artist and together with her daughter they travel from places to places until Shaker Heights becomes their latest resting place. They rent a house from the Richardsons and soon the four Richardson children are drawn to this enigmatic mother-daughter pair. Pearl soon quickly adapts to their new environment and has found friendship in Moody, the third child of the Richardsons family. Mia remains quiet and reserved until a coworker at a part-time place where she works confides in her about her baby daughter, May Ling Chow, whom she left at a fire station out of desperation due to her poverty condition, decides to have her baby back but an old friend of the Richardsons, the McCullough couple (the wife had had a few pregnancies but couldn't keep her babies) has decided to adopt the homeless baby and soon Eleanor and Mia find themselves on opposing sides as the custody battle divides the once peaceful community. As if that is not enough, Eleanor is determined to unravel Mia's past but that obsession will soon come with a price. 
What made someone a mother? Was it biology alone, or was it love? ~ Pg 280

Once again, Celeste Ng has delivered a taut and an insightful piece of work centering around secrets, identity and the ferocity pull of maternal love. The story begins with a slow start, basically the introduction of the Richardsons and Shaker Heights but towards the middle the reader will embrace the change of direction and momentum as lots of things happened quickly. The characterisation is the huge draw of the story and I found myself invested in Mia's story and why Eleanor Richardson is relentless in pursuing Mia's mysterious past despite of consequences there might be. Celeste Ng has portrayed a multiple aspects of the role of a mother which is both moving and thought-provoking and although I liked her previous novel, I've to say I liked this one better. 

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8 Responses
  1. jenclair Says:

    I really need to add Celeste Ng to my list. This one sounds intriguing.

  2. Lark Says:

    Sounds like the relationships in this book get pretty tangled. I've never read Celeste Ng, but I'll have to keep her in mind. :)

  3. I haven't yet tired Celeste Ng's work either (like Jenclair and Lark), although her first book is on my wish list. This one sounds really good as well. This sounds like it could be an emotional read.

  4. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - I hope you'll enjoy her books!

  5. Melody Says:

    Lark - It was sure a complicated relationship, but so intriguing to read! Hope you'll read her books at some point; they're worth reading IMO. :)

  6. Melody Says:

    Wendy - I enjoyed both of her books; but this one comes off as more emotionally driven considering it involves a baby and her mother who fights for her.

  7. Iliana Says:

    Oh a 5 star read! I have heard just rave reviews of this one and it's certainly on my TBR list. Thank you for a great review, Melody!

  8. Melody Says:

    Iliana - It was good and I love her writing. :)

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