The Precious One by Marisa de los Santos
2015 William Morrow
Finished on April 24, 2015
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)
From the New York Times bestselling author of Love Walked In, Belong to Me, and Falling Together comes a captivating novel about friendship, family, second chances, and the redemptive power of love.
In all her life, Eustacia “Taisy” Cleary has given her heart to only three men: her first love, Ben Ransom; her twin brother, Marcus; and Wilson Cleary—professor, inventor, philanderer, self-made millionaire, brilliant man, breathtaking jerk—her father.
Seventeen years ago, Wilson ditched his first family for Caroline, a beautiful young sculptor. In all that time, Taisy’s family has seen Wilson, Caroline, and their daughter, Willow, only once.
Why then, is Wilson calling Taisy now, inviting her for an extended visit, encouraging her to meet her pretty sister—a teenager who views her with jealousy, mistrust, and grudging admiration? Why, now, does Wilson want Taisy to help him write his memoir?
Told in alternating voices—Taisy’s strong, unsparing observation and Willow’s naïve, heartbreakingly earnest yearnings—The Precious One is an unforgettable novel of family secrets, lost love, and dangerous obsession, a captivating tale with the deep characterization, piercing emotional resonance, and heartfelt insight that are the hallmarks of Marisa de los Santos’s beloved works.
I became of huge fan of Marisa de los Santos’s novels many years ago when I discovered Belong to Me and Love Walked In.
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. (from my review for Love Walked In)
I loved the vividly depicted characters and how the author slowly allows the reader to get close to them. Even the prickly ones...
...to think I almost gave up, sure that it was going to be nothing more than another book about women's friendships... Sure, Belong to Me borders on fluffy chick-lit, but the writing is oh, so beautiful. Not lyrical in the sense of Pat Conroy or Rick Bragg, but beautiful, descriptive phrases that force you to pause and go back for a second reading. And no wonder: It turns out that Marisa is also an award-winning poet.
This is a book about love & friendship, trust & loyalty, and ultimately the strength of family ties... I found myself getting teary-eyed on several occasions, yet this isn't a depressing read. More than a guilty pleasure, this intimate and engaging read is the perfect book to curl up with on a rainy, spring afternoon and one you'll want to share with all your girlfriends. (from my review for Belong to Me)
Unfortunately, I was not as enamored of de los Santos’s third novel, Falling Together. I couldn’t get interested in the story and gave up after a hundred pages. So, when an ARC of The Precious One arrived early this year, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but was hopeful for another satisfying read. I did finish reading the book, but it wasn’t until the last quarter that it finally grabbed me. And, it took me three weeks to read, which tells you that it wasn’t exactly calling out to me.
I wouldn't categorize Marisa de los Santos's books as romances, but she sure can write some beautiful passages about falling in love. Looking back at my Goodreads rating, I must have enjoyed this book better than I remember, as I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. Since I don’t like to revise my ratings with the passage of time, I’ll leave it alone, although if I were to rate it today, I’d knock half a point off and say it was good rather than very good. de los Santos's books will appeal to fans of Jojo Moyes and Rainbow Rowell, as well as Anne Tyler and Beth Hoffman. If you haven’t read her early works, I highly recommend Love Walked In and Belong To Me. These are two books that remain on my keeper shelf for future rereads.