Leslie Gould, Author . WaterBrook $13.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-57856-822-2

The Vietnam War shatters the lives of two families thousands of miles apart in this uneven novel by Gould (Garden of Dreams ). In 1975, 10-year-old American Gen experiences terrible heartache when her mother, who has gone to Vietnam to adopt a young boy, is killed in a war-related plane crash. Meanwhile, in Vietnam seven-year-old Lan witnesses her nation's bloody civil war splitting her own family right down the middle, resulting in displacement and destitution. Gould nimbly follows the two characters to adulthood, when Lan's intense poverty forces her to make the difficult choice to give two of her children up for adoption, and the infertile Gen comes to Vietnam with her husband, Jeff, to adopt them. The pacing begins to drag halfway through, as Gen and Jeff experience innumerable delays and complications with the Vietnamese government. Despite the slow momentum, many readers will appreciate this emotionally satisfying story of hope, adoption and new beginnings. (Apr. 19)

Reviewed on: 03/28/2005
Release date: 04/01/2005
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