Title: Love Walked In
Author: Marisa de los Santos
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from my personal library
Audiobook reader: Jennifer Ikeda
First line: 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 I grow up, I want to write like Marisa de los Santos. Two years ago, I devoured Belong to Me in two afternoons poolside while my kid splashed away. I didn’t know at the time that it was a sequel to Love Walked In – I never read books out of order if I can help it. I knew, though, that I had to read the original story starring Cornelia and Teo and Claire.
Cornelia Brown isn’t living up to her potential – a fact she willingly tells us. She’s managing a coffee house in Philadelphia, spending time with her friend Lynnie and wiling away the hours watching romantic movies like The Philadelphia Story. When Martin Grace, a Cary Grant-look-alike walks into the coffee house, her world is turned upside down – only not in the way she expects.
Claire, Martin’s 11-year-old daughter, is living with her mother Vivianna, and her world is falling apart. Her mother isn’t acting like herself, and Claire doesn’t know what to do about it. Then her mother disappears, and she has no choice but to reach out to the father who doesn’t know her at all.
When Cornelia and Claire meet, the stars align. Even though Cornelia knows that Martin is not the love of her life, she agrees to help with Claire until Vivianna is found, because though she hasn’t fallen in love with Martin, she has fallen in love with the brave, smart, and unique Claire.
Cornelia is one of my favorite characters in contemporary fiction. Imagine Anne of Green Gables grown up and living in our modern world. She is passionate about the people in her life, knows what she finds beautiful, and loves with her whole being. In Claire, she finds the child of her heart, if not her body.
The book is written from two perspectives – first person in Cornelia’s voice, and third person from Claire’s perspective. This makes both of them become real – and the actresses reading the two different POVs are brilliant and perfectly matched to the characters. This comes as close to perfect as an audiobook can.
Ms. de los Santos writes with a very unique style – Claire and Cornelia both have real, individual voices. This is the best kind of women’s fiction – it engages all of the senses, makes you laugh, makes you cry, and makes you long to know the people in the book. I hope her next book comes very quickly. In the meantime, I’m ready for a re-read of Belong to Me.