Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.
In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principal is playing by the rules.
Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother- who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the alluring mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.
When the Richardsons’ friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town and puts Mia and Mrs. Richardson on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Mrs. Richardson becomes determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs to her own family – and Mia’s.
Little Fires Everywhere is undoubtedly one of the best books I’ve read this year. It captured me from the first page, and kept me enthralled right until the end, so much so that I read the book in so few sittings that I almost want to go back and read it again (this is huge for me because I rarely reread!)
I’ve always been a big fan of Jodi Picoult and Liane Moriarty, and I’ve been itching for a story that I could really get into in the same way as Big Little Lies, which I read a few years ago. But nothing so far has held that small town, big secrets vibe with such fluency.
I loved everything about this book. The characters were so well defined and my attitudes towards them really changed as the novel progressed. I even found myself dreaming about them at one point, which shows just how real they were to me. The mysteries of each character were so intricately woven and the relationship between Mia and Izzy juxtaposed with Mia’s relationship with her own daughter, Pearl was one of my favourite parts of the book.
The two main plots really captured my attention, and the theme of motherhood which ran through the whole novel had me questioning my own ideas on what motherhood is. Although the content is quite heavy in places, it never drags as Ng writes so effortlessly that the story carries you without you even noticing that you’ve just read another 100 pages.
Little Fires Everywhere is a truly absorbing story which will stay with you for a long time.
Thanks to Grace Vincent and Little, Brown Publishers for allowing me to take part in the blog tour and a copy of the book.