cover image Red Thread of Fate

Red Thread of Fate

Lyn Liao Butler. Berkley, $17 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-593-19874-2

Butler (The Tiger Mom’s Tale) captivates with a well-crafted tale of disaster and revelations. Tam Kwan and her husband, Tony, discuss over the phone their pending adoption of an orphaned boy in China, while he is walking with his cousin Mia. During the call, Tony and Mia are run over and killed by a truck. What follows is a series of heart-wrenching discoveries. First, Tam is persuaded by Mia’s boss to take in Mia’s five-year-old daughter, Angela. Tam had been estranged from Mia since Angela was born, after learning she and Tony were having an affair (he never specified how closely related they were, but Mia had the sense they were second cousins). Now, Tam finds out Tony and Mia were not cousins at all. She also learns her adoptive son’s background was misrepresented. Butler keeps the twists coming, plowing through the story at breakneck speed. She perfectly portrays Tam’s growing sense of ambivalence about the loss of her husband, her responsibility to Angela, and her desire to adopt, and skillfully adds depth to complicated characters such as Mia. Readers will devour this engaging family saga. Agent: Rachel Brooks, Bookends Literary. (Feb.)