Review by K.T Sullivan
Gretchen Lin finds out about her husband’s affair right before a trip home to Singapore. Her mother isn’t well and her father’s business is floundering. Her cousin, Cal, was supposed to assume a leadership position in the family owned soy sauce company, but he’s not executive material. Women don’t run firms, but her father and uncle have little choice. She agrees to help for a limited time. Her soon to be ex-husband Paul wants her back in San Francisco. Working with her father reignites painful memories of the reasons why she left. Through a friend she meets James. A possible cure for all that ails her. She’s given a major opportunity in the company. One to prove herself capable and worthy, but it comes with costs. What is a daughter’s responsibility to fulfill her parents’ dreams? Is she allowed to make mistakes and start over?
I like Gretchen. She tries to please everyone, but ends up with the short straw. Her parents, husband, boyfriend, and friends have their own agendas. She’s not a priority with them and has to learn to carve out her own life. The way she proves her business savvy is funny and brave. She realizes her missed opportunities, especially with her mother, and tries to make amends. On a couple of different levels, many women will see themselves in Gretchen.
The story is a taste of bridging two cultures and making them one. An enjoyable read.
About the Author:
Kirstin Chen is a former Steinbeck Fellow in Creative Writing, she holds an MFA from Emerson College and a BA from Stanford University. She was born and raised in Singapore and currently lives in San Francisco with her husband.
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