An intergenerational tale of four women—white, black, Filipina, and Mexican—set in Las Vegas from the 1950s to the present.
Starting with June Stein, who runs away from a boring marriage in New Jersey and marries a budding casino owner, McBride (We Are Called to Rise, 2014, etc.) ties together the stories of women who live in Las Vegas and the children they raise, love, and sometimes lose. Coral, who grows up thinking she knows her parentage but later learns she was adopted, buys a house on the same street as Honorata, a Filipina immigrant whose life is changed one night in June’s casino. Honorata hires an undocumented immigrant house cleaner, Engracia, whose part in the novel is to bring closure to both Honorata’s and Coral’s stories and who also brings the book full circle back to June, via the casino. What little is told of Engracia's life is both timely and interesting and merits more attention. Each of the four women makes decisions based on love, decisions which lead either to sacrifices, secrets, or both. Men enter the story briefly, cast as good husbands or complete disasters. Each of the women ends up feeling as June does: “Her world spun and spun, and all these ordinary parts of it, these things that made perfect sense, did not make sense at all. What was she doing? And what would she do now?” There’s enough information about June, Coral, Honorata, and Engracia to provide snapshots of their lives and compel readers to turn the pages, but not much more.
Touching on questions of race and class, McBride doesn’t break new ground and doesn’t go into much depth but tells a readable story that may appeal to book clubs who’d like to add their own analyses.