Book Highlight: Red Thread of Fate by Lyn Liao Butler

book highlight red thread of fate lyn liao butler

Title: Red Thread of Fate

Author: Lyn Liao Butler

Publisher: Berkley

Publication Date: February 8, 2022

Genre: Women’s Fiction

In the wake of a tragedy and fueled by guilt from a secret she’s kept for years, a woman discovers how delicate the thread that binds family is in this powerful novel by Lyn Liao Butler.

Two days before Tam and Tony Kwan receive their letter of acceptance for the son they are adopting from China, Tony and his estranged cousin Mia are killed unexpectedly in an accident. A shell-shocked Tam learns she is named the guardian to Mia’s five-year-old daughter, Angela. With no other family around, Tam has no choice but to agree to take in the girl she hasn’t seen since the child was an infant. 

Overwhelmed by her life suddenly being upended, Tam must also decide if she will complete the adoption on her own and bring home the son waiting for her in a Chinese orphanage. But when a long-concealed secret comes to light just as she and Angela start to bond, their fragile family is threatened. As Tam begins to unravel the events of Tony and Mia’s past in China, she discovers the true meaning of love and the threads that bind her to the family she is fated to have.

Why This Book

Red Thread of Fate is about a woman who unexpectedly finds herself a widow, and the legal guardian of her late husband’s cousin’s daughter, all while on the verge of fulfilling her dream of adopting a young boy from China. Tam goes through so much throughout this novel, from losing her husband to becoming an overnight mother to dealing with being Asian American with a mother who holds so many family stories and secrets. But she does it. She’s not exactly alone, but she struggles through it all, fighting through grief and figuring out how to raise a young girl, much less raising two young children. As a mother of two myself, the fact that Tam was able to do this mostly alone and with little warning, well, she’s a courageous woman in my book.


My review: “Tam was a wonderful character to go on this journey with as she neatly bridges the divide between American and Taiwanese/Chinese and finds her feet as a mother and a daughter who understands her mother once had a life she didn’t know about. There were times when I felt so horrible for Tam, for everything she had to go through, but she has a quiet strength that really served her well, and conviction in her heart that was just beautiful to witness” said “part of the beauty of Butler’s plot and her careful creation of Tam’s character is how we see her grow and come into her own in spite of—or perhaps because of—the trauma she’s endured”

Utopia State of Mind said “So much is layered into this book. There are conflicting feelings of identity like a divide between feeling Taiwanese or American. At the same time there are generational secrets and Tam’s evolving relationship with her mother was one of my favorite elements”

My Book Joy said “While this is a somewhat inspiring story in the way people can come together and find family and love after wrenching loss, it’s also very very sad in it’s inherent topics. As I learned more about each character, I found myself liking them all less and less as they became more flawed and more human. By the end, though, I also found forgiveness for them the way they did for themselves”

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop | IndieBound | Target | Walmart | Waterstones (UK) | Booktopia (Australia) | Books-A-Million | Flipkart (India) | Kobo | Audible | Google Books | Apple Books | Thrift Books | Book Depository | Abe Books | Dymocks (Australia)

Check out all the other books featured this month on The Curated Bookshelf.

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