BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Red Thread of Fate by Lyn Liao Butler [in Booklist]

Tam’s marriage to Tony is finally weaving back together as they prepare for the adoption of their son from China. After their lunchtime phone call suddenly disconnects, Tam learns that Tony and his cousin Mia were killed. The unraveling is immediate. Tony wasn’t supposed to be in Flushing, where the accident happened; he’d told Tam he was deli-bound near his Columbia office.

For years, Tony and Mia were estranged after Tam told Tony either she was leaving or Mia and her baby, Angela, had to vacate their townhouse. So what happened? The dead might not speak, but secrets never die. Life goes on. Angela becomes Tam’s, Tam and Angela claim Charlie in Guangzhou, family becomes everything.

Readers may tire of Tam’s self-absorption, Mia’s spite (and her Chinese name is “Mei Guo” – America – because?), Angela’s 5-year-old precocity, and the insistent coincidence of homicidal truck drivers. Taiwan-born Lyn Liao Butler’s sophomore title, after The Tiger Mom’s Tale (2021), is yet another tangled melodrama, albeit with enough nods to Very Important Issues (family dysfunction, Taiwan-China divide, gender inequity, orphanage horrors) to push it toward literary fiction … lite.

Review: “Fiction,” Booklist, January 1&15, 2022

Readers: Adult

Published: 2022


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