You may remember this author from her debut novel, Everything I Never Told You, which was a huge success a few years ago. Her new book is equally well written, compelling and suspenseful. It's a great story, and I know will be wonderful for book club discussions.
Little Fires is set in wealthy (mostly white) Shaker Heights Ohio where author Celese Ng grew up. Suspense begins from the first sentence " 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."
Isabelle, or Izzy, was not like the other Richardson kids. She wasn't athletic, or academic, or popular. Izzy was artistic, dramatic, and preferred to stay in her room. Izzy said whatever was on her mind, even when it was rude. She related best to the Richardson's part time domestic help, Mia, and her daughter, Pearl. Mia, a photographer, invites Izzy to visit her (at the duplex that she rents from the Richardsons) to learn how to shoot and develop pictures. Mia and Pearl have moved 46 times since teenage Pearl was born, so there is an interesting back story there!
Mr. Richardson, a prominent lawyer, is working on a case for his prominent friends the McCulloughs, who are fostering with intent to adopt an Asian baby who was abandoned outside a firehouse on a snowy winter day. The birth mother has surfaced, trying to argue that the baby would be best with her own blood, and asserting that she had made a mistake. Of course, the birth mother is a friend of Mia and Pearl's.
Izzy burned down her own house. And you will want to read this new novel and find out why! Lots of layers to talk about.