Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is a really good contemporary fiction. The story is a slow burn that builds to the climatic conclusion.

Elena Richardson lives in a Shaker Heights, a planned community in Cleveland. She has four children and a successful husband. Elena is living the perfect life. She owns a rental and rents it to Mia, a single mother and her daughter, Pearl. Mia is an eclectic artist and Pearl is brilliant, but shy. Pearl slowly gets to know Elena’s children, much to Elena’s chagrin.

When a family friend of Elena’s tries to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that divides the town. Mia and Elena find themselves on opposite sides. Elena used to be a reporter, so she starts digging into Mia’s past to figure out what her secrets are. But as Elena finds, Mia is not the only one keeping secrets.

This book is very popular, and I’m usually skeptical of books that are wildly popular. Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised with how good this book was. The characters were strong and it was well-paced. The story was intriguing and kept me interested. I think I’ll check out the mini-series that was recently created based on this book.