At the age of thirty-nine, Alice Chang suddenly finds herself living in the last place she expected: her mother’s house. But in the face of divorce, eviction, and the recent death of her father, she doesn’t have a choice.
Watching as her mother thrives in a new job and meets younger men at the local gym, Alice struggles, reflecting on her parents’ marriage, her relationship with each of them, as she adjusts to being single again for the first time in twenty years. Then she finds her father’s old journal…and uncovers a shocking family secret that forces her to question everything she thought she knew about love, regret, family, and her own path forward.
As Alice comes to terms with the man her father really was, she must finally decide who she wants to be and what it will take to get there.
I fell in love with this story right from the first page. I can’t explain just how stunning the writing is. It drew me in and held me captive. I felt like I was seated with Alice Chang as she shared her story with me. The author took me into her life as I shared in her high and low moments. I absolutely enjoyed this book.
Alice is in her late 30s when her marriage falls apart and she moves back home with her mom. Her mother is dealing with the death of her husband, Alice’s dad, after 40 years together. However, she is not dealing with it like you’d expect a widow to. Ahma, as Alice calls her, is thriving. She looks better than ever and is now dating again and has gone to work for the first time in ages. Much to Alice’s confusion and hurt, Ahma seems happier than ever.
There was a bit of mystery in the story. Ahma’s happiness following her husband’s death had me scratching my head. What was her marriage like? How bad were things for her? Why was she so quick to move on? To further heighten the tension, Alice discovered her father’s diary. Written in Korean, she can’t read it but has to wait for a translator. As readers, we are privy to the details of the diary as secrets are unlocked and we get to know more about her father before she does.
The character development in this story is what made it even more beautiful. I liked Ahma and Alice. They made me smile and I also shared in their low moments. The online dating episodes made me chuckle. These women were relatable in so many ways.
This is a beautiful, masterfully crafted story about family, love, loss, betrayal, second chances and mother-daughter relationships. I can’t recommend it enough.