April 18, 2008
Love Walked In
Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos
Finished on 4/3/08
Rating: 4.75/5 (Fabulous!)
"My life--my real life--started when a man walked into it, a handsome stranger in a perfectly cut suit and, yes, I know how that sounds."
When Martin Grace enters the hip Philadelphia coffee shop Cornelia Brown manages, her life changes forever. Charming and debonair, the spitting image of Cary Grant, Martin sweeps Cornelia off her feet, but as it turns out, Martin Grace is more the harbinger of change than the change itself....
Meanwhile, on the other side of town, eleven-year-old Clare Hobbes must learn to fend for herself after her increasingly unstable mother has a breakdown and disappears. Taking inspiration from famous orphans (Anne Shirley, Sara Crewe, Mary Lennox, and even Harry Potter) Clare musters the courage to seek out her estranged father. When the two of them show up at Cornelia's cafe, Cornelia and Clare form a bond as unlikely as it is deep. Together, they face difficult choices and discover that knowing what you love and why is as real as life gets.
An acclaimed poet, Marisa de los Santos writes with a careful grace that illuminates the losses and joys of life. Witty and fresh, glowing with big-screen magic moments, Love Walked In marks the arrival of a gifted storyteller and proves that while love is always unpredictable--a dizzying, astonishing turn--it could be as close as your very own front door.
I loved this book! As soon as I realized I was reading another winner by de los Santos, I had to force myself to slow down and savor the story, knowing that once I finished, I wouldn't have a backlist to work through.
Love Walked In is much more than chick lit. (I'd probably call it women's fiction.) While some readers have criticized the book for its predictability and contrived coincidences, I found it to be a very satisfying story filled with humor, touching moments, believable dialogue and characters that stay with you long after you close the book. I enjoyed all the references to classic movies and actors, children's literature and even found the description of Pancit so enticing I immediately went online in search of a recipe to try! I read Love Walked In after the sequel, Belong to Me, and have to say I liked it even better, probably because I really liked the younger Clare in this book. She's also in Belong to Me, but she’s more of a secondary character in the sequel. Oh, but then I really liked the character of Piper in Belong to Me! Hmmm, let's just say I loved both books and that I'm thrilled to have discovered Marisa de los Santos. I can hardly wait for her to write her next novel. Move over, Elizabeth Berg! de los Santos is my new must-buy-in-hardcover favorite.
Fans of Jeanne Ray, Elizabeth Berg and Anna Quindlen won't be disappointed. I recommend both Love Walk In and Belong to Me for a great summer reading combo. Meanwhile, I hope Marisa is working on her third book, hopefully with more of Cornelia, Teo, Piper and Clare!