February 2, 2015

Review: Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos

Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos
Publication date: Nov. 28, 2006
Publisher: Plume
Category: Adult fiction - Contemporary
Source: Purchased
Summary: When Martin Grace enters the hip Philadelphia coffee shop Cornelia Brown manages, her life changes forever. But little does she know that her newfound love is only the harbinger of greater changes to come. Meanwhile, across town, Clare Hobbs--eleven years old and abandoned by her erratic mother--goes looking for her lost father. She crosses paths with Cornelia while meeting with him at the café, and the two women form an improbable friendship that carries them through the unpredictable currents of love and life. (Adapted goodreads.com)



The good
Marisa de Los Santos is an author I’ve been meaning to check out since Alexa and I hosted our “MABUHAY! A Celebration of Filipino Culture in Literature” blog event last year. It’s taken me a while to find time for it but I am so, so glad I did. There’s something very distinct about her writing style. Using two such different narrators to alternate between — 30-year-old coffee shop owner Cornelia Brown and 11-year-old Clare Hobbs — was a refreshing change of perspective. When Cornelia meets Martin Brown she thinks she’s met the man who will sweep her off her feet and be the love of her life. This isn’t exactly the case but he inadvertently introduces her to someone who does change her life and that’s Clare Hobbs, his daughter.

Cornelia is an intelligent, passionate woman who romanticizes movies and life. She’s never been quite sure of what she wants to do, which is why she became the owner of a coffee shop filled with colorful characters (her best friend is hilarious). The author sets up very quickly that Cornelia wants to be a mother one day; foreshadowing to the effect Clare will have on her. When she meets Martin, she thinks this is it. He’s a dead ringer for her favorite actor and he’s a kind, put together businessman but a spark (as well as many other things) are missing from the relationship. It made me think of people in my own life who are desperate to be in relationships and overlook red flags as a result. Clare is willing to ignore these things though until she meets Clare, the daughter he never once mentioned.

Clare is a girl who’s older beyond her years. Her parents are divorced and she’s lived with her mom her whole life, barely getting to know Martin. But when her mom starts acting very strangely, Clare is at a loss. She throws herself into books (her favorite is Anne of Green Gables!) and playing the part of perfect daughter and student. But soon things become too much at home and she’s forced to seek out her father. He tries, a little too late, to somewhat step into the role of “Dad” but it’s really Cornelia who very literally takes her into her arms. Watching the friendship between these two was the star of this book and a beautiful thing to behold. And it was their happily-ever-after together that I wanted to see.

(Minor) Reservations
I had a bit of trouble getting into the book at first and connecting to Cornelia, who I couldn’t exactly relate to. But I kept reading and it definitely hits its stride with the appearance of Clare. Aside from Martin, there’s another romance in the book that I both loved and felt slightly uncomfortable by. It was a bit too convenient to have the third person in that non-love triangle (it’s hard to explain without spoiling!) not physically present in the book. But hey, people find love in unexpected places right? Most of all though, I wish Clare’s mother had been fleshed out a bit more. She’s a hard character to like and I struggled to sympathize when she’s purposely manipulative towards the end.

Do I recommend?
I do! I’ve been making a point to read more adult books this year and I’m glad I made time for this one.

Happy reading!

1 comment:

  1. YAAAAAAAY. I'm so thrilled that you were able to read Love Walked In! I really enjoyed it when I first read it, and your review kind of makes me want to do a reread now...

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