Belong To Me – Book Review

belongtome.jpg It seemed impossible that you could stand in a kitchen making hot chocolate and grilled-cheese sandwiches with your best friend dying in the next room, the voices of her children tangled up with the voices of your own, that you could butter bread and watch, through the window, the trees relinquishing their leaves and hear the silvery tumble of water into a kettle, and be suddenly aware that what resided at the heart of every shape and sound was peace. A rightness hovering above all that was wrong, shimmering, like heat rising from a street in summer. -From Belong To Me, page 85-

Marisa de los Santos has penned a novel filled to the brim with laughter, tears, friendships, dreams, and love. It is a novel so genuine and real that I found myself nodding and thinking ‘exactly!’ over and over again.

Cornelia Brown moves with her oncologist husband, Teo, from the city to the suburbs – envisioning a perfect life complete with manicured lawns. Instead she finds a world filled with a grounding reality; a world more rewarding than she could ever have imagined.

All of Santos’ characters are authentic – flawed and all too human at times, they wiggle their way into the reader’s heart. Piper, Cornelia’s queen-bee next door neighbor, introduces Cornelia to the neighborhood with biting judgment tinged with anger – but, later reveals herself to be a person filled with self doubt, a character whose depth and honesty made me love her. Dev, a thirteen year old boy with an absent father, embodies the awkwardness of adolescence mixed with a maturity beyond his years. Lake, Dev’s single mother, holds a devastating secret – one that will rock all the characters to their core when it is uncovered. Santos draws her male characters splendidly…Teo, Toby, Rafferty and Tom all made me wish I lived in Cornelia’s neighborhood.

Santos is an award-winning poet (and best selling author of her first novel: Love Walked In), and her love of language shows in her radiant descriptions and acute ear for dialogue. Santos builds the tension slowly, revealing her characters chapter by chapter, until the final and unexpected end. Belong To Me is not just Cornelia’s story, but the story of all women – and it ultimately reveals the redemptive power of love and forgiveness.

This was a novel I resisted putting down for even a few minutes. It is Women’s Fiction at its best. I loved it, and I can’t wait to read Love Walked In.

Santos is a talented writer – one who will touch the reader’s heart and make you wish the book will never end.

Belong To Me is highly recommended. Rated 5/5.

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16 comments

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    • Jill on March 26, 2008 at 14:16

    My interest is piqued!

  1. This sounds great! Another one to the TBR.

  2. Great review!! I loved it, too, as you already know. I need to finish my current book for a f2f book group, but as soon as that’s finished, I’m reading Loved Walked In! I can’t wait. I only wish Piper were in it. 🙁

    • Wendy on March 26, 2008 at 18:11
      Author

    Jill and Maw Books: Hope you love it as I did! This would be a great summer read on the beach!

    Les: Guess what I picked up on sale at B&N today? Yup – Love Walked In *big smile* I can’t wait to crack it open and sink back into Cornelia’s little world!!

  3. Sigh. Another one added to Mount TBR.

    • Wendy on March 27, 2008 at 13:04
      Author

    Terri: Sorry for the delay in your comment posting – my spam protection was a bit overzealous! Anyway, yes, this is a really great book…and it is a quick read 🙂

  4. This is the second positive review I’ve read of this book now – it’s moving it’s way up my wish list!

    • Wendy on March 28, 2008 at 07:55
      Author

    Mrs. S. I hope you’ll come back after you’ve read it and let me know what you thought!

    • Emily on April 10, 2008 at 13:05

    I wonder if anyone would be kind enough to tell me the secret ending…

    • Wendy on April 10, 2008 at 17:12
      Author

    Emily: *shakes head* I’m not telling *smiles* You’ll have to read the book – but I promise, it is not torture, you’ll love it!

    • lauren on October 21, 2008 at 14:52

    I HATED IT! I FELL ASLEEP AFTER TWO FREAKIN MINUTES!

    • Wendy on October 22, 2008 at 09:18
      Author

    Sorry you didn’t enjoy the book, Lauren … I think part of what makes the world so interesting is that we all like and dislike different things 🙂

    • Nay29 on December 28, 2009 at 23:29

    This book was lovely. It made you laugh, cry and reminisce on those people who belong to you in life.

    • Wendy on January 2, 2010 at 14:45
      Author

    Nay: I agree – thanks for stopping in and sharing your thoughts.

    • Rosie on September 10, 2010 at 07:00

    Very good book…I enjoyed it…laughed and cried with it…I will be looking for her other book to read…I would recommend everyone to read this one! 🙂

    • Wendy on September 13, 2010 at 09:16
      Author

    Rosie: I liked this one a tad bit more than her first one…but they are both great reads. Glad you enjoyed it so much!

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