Twenty-seven years after she adopted her baby in Ireland, Lena Molloy receives a call from the nun who set up the adoption. Sister Monica claims that she wants merely to tie up loose ends in her old age, but Lena becomes frightened that something more threatening lies behind the call, and she sets off on a journey to Ireland, with her best friend, to find her daughter's birth parents.
A woman's search for her adopted daughter's birth mother leads to dramatic discoveries in McAuley's poised debut. An adopted child herself, Lena Malloy wondered about her own birth mother, but never learned who she was. A surprise check-in phone call from Sister Monica, "the nun who gave me Mary," leads Lena to wonder about Mary's biological parents and about why the nun has called from Ireland after almost 30 years of silence. Lena's husband, Jack, discourages her curiosity, but Lena believes that Mary, a rising opera singer, will someday want to know the provenance of her magnificent voice. "You have no idea what it feels like not to know your origins. It has nothing to do with ingratitude, or selfishness," Lena thinks. "This is about feeling complete." With her best friend, Alma, Lena sets out for Dublin to see Mary in concert and do a little sleuthing. She faces off with a sour Sister Monica, finds an ally in a woman from the Natural Parents' Internetwork office and travels great distances to meet potential biological mothers. As Lena, a Catholic, works her way toward the truth, she's also forced to compromise her morals, and the secret she uncovers nearly destroys her family. McAuley deftly captures Lena's unwavering drive while building suspense, though coincidences and surprises including the one about Mary's biological father may strain credibility.
A surprise ending! The whole story is about love. It was a good book.