I'd give this novel 4.5 stars. The first 100 pages (one-third of the total book) just cover a lot of character study and plot set-ups. Yes, I know some of that was later shown to be important, but I felt it went on too long. I was starting to lose a little interest but then...
When the novel got to the crux of the story, it was really, really good. The plot focus about a Chinese baby abandoned at a fire station and the subsequent court battle when the single mother surfaces six months later to try to reclaim her daughter from the family in the process of adopting her, was really, really well done. All sorts of details are woven together in a terrific way.
I loved how the author really paid attention to details.....one of the characters is a reporter on a second-rate weekly in Cleveland and she uses her reporting skills to dig up a lot of background on other characters. A less-skilled writer would have just had a character (who had never learned how to research) suddenly become an ace detective.
I was up WAY too late finishing this book last night (really this early morning). The second two-thirds of the book are fascinating, thought-provoking and touching.
I recently ordered the author's first novel on CD for an upcoming trip and I'm looking forward to it!