Review of “Love Walked In” by Marisa De Los Santos

You can add me to the legions of book bloggers who unwittingly read the sequel to this book first.


I thought Belong to Me – the sequel – was one of the best books I read all year. So I felt I had to read the “prequel” even though ordinarily I hate reading books out of order. And I wondered, would it be possible for me to be objective about these characters that I already loved? I can’t actually answer that hypothetical. All I can say is that I found the first book a bit less polished and some of the characters not as roundly drawn, but these are quibbles in degrees, not inches or yards. In short, I found the prequel almost as enchanting as the sequel, and am happy to say it was not “ruined” at all by having read the second book first. In fact, after I finished Love Walked In, I went back and read Belong to Me again, just because it was so good, and I wanted to see how the books flowed in order!

Cornelia Brown, a thirty-one year old underachieving café manager, came to Philadelphia because her favorite movie was “The Philadelphia Story” with Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn. She spends her time watching old movie romances and developing her talent for quick and witty repartee. She tells us that her life – her “real” life – began when a Cary Grant-look-alike named Martin Grace walked into the café one day, and she handed him her telephone number.

In alternate chapters, we hear from Clare, a precocious eleven-year old who lives alone with her ethereally beautiful but mentally unbalanced mother. When the mother abandons Clare, Clare seeks out her estranged father, who coincidentally happens to be Martin Grace. Martin comes to the cafe with Clare and asks Cornelia for help with caretaking, especially since he goes out of town a lot.

At the same time, Cornelia’s brother-in-law, Teo Sandoval, shows up at the cafe. Teo, great looking and kind, is a doctor, and seems to know just how to handle children.

Clare is even more instantly drawn to Teo as a parent figure than she is to Cornelia, although there’s a bit of girlhood crush in the mix. But she bonds with them both, and while she wants her mother back, she can’t conceive of a life without Cornelia and Teo.

How does it all come out? Well, of course I can’t tell you, but I can be fairly sure you will fall in love with Clare as much as Cornelia did, and that you will want to get to know this “good and brave” little girl and learn the effect she has on all of those around her.

Evaluation: This is an intelligent, entertaining, well-written story about all kinds of love – from platonic to romantic to lustful to maternal to the love between two good friends. I highly recommend this as well as the sequel, Belong to Me.

Rating: 4/5

Published by Dutton Adult, 2005

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20 Responses to Review of “Love Walked In” by Marisa De Los Santos

  1. Mystica says:

    I have this book which I won but have not got around to it. Shall start soon. Thanks for the review.

  2. Steph says:

    I really like books that examine (as I put it) “the many faces of love”. I just really dig it when authors can recognize that romance has more than one guise and that there are other ways to love someone than with sonnets and chocolate (though I wouldn’t say no to either!). I’ve not read this author but she sounds fun!

  3. Jenny says:

    I thought the author did such a great job of writing Clare. I went into the book expecting it to be romantic comedy, and in the event it made me cry many tears. Clare was a wonderful character, and I loved seeing her through new eyes in Belong to Me.

  4. Margot says:

    My daughter has been begging me to read this author. And now, this review of yours is nearly the same thing. It sounds so rich and full of fun characters. I promise both of you I will read it very soon,

  5. zibilee says:

    I have Belong to me, but I had no idea that this book even existed, which I guess is a good thing, because now I can read them in order! I am glad to hear that you liked both books so much, and I am looking forward to them now! Great review!

  6. bermudaonion says:

    I loved this book too! I’ve got Belong to Me waiting to be read. Great review, as always.

  7. Marie says:

    sounds great. maybe someday I’ll get around to it 🙂 I certainly have heard wonderful things about the second book.

  8. Lisa says:

    I’ve got both of these and have been trying to find time to get to them. First of the year–must begin reading more of my own books!

  9. Amanda says:

    I love the irony of the signature. 😀

    I absolutely loved this book. It was one of my very favorite books of 2008. I didn’t like Belong to Me quite as much – it seemed a shade too overdone for me, or perhaps I just didn’t like the one character, Piper. I’m glad you liked it, even if you read it out of order!

  10. I’m a little annoyed with myself that I haven’t read this author yet!! Making note to myself right now….

  11. Jenners says:

    Yup … I’m in the “read them in the wrong order” club too! The only thing I didn’t like about doing that was that I kind of knew who she would end up with in the end.

    I do think the second book was more developed and polished … but like you said, it was a matter of a few degrees.

    Now that we are caught up, we can read her next book with no worries about being out of order, I hope she chooses to revisit these characters again. (Though something tells me she might visit with Piper in the next book. Just a hunch.)

  12. Ti says:

    I had no idea that Belong to Me was the continuation of Love Walked In. I read half of Belong to Me and was loving it but I put it down to read something else and never picked it up again. I’m not sure why. I really liked it. It has occupied a place on my TBR shelf ever since so I have never forgotten about it and every time Marisa posts on FB I am reminded that I must read it.

  13. Alyce says:

    I”m glad to see that you liked this one too! I’m going to have to get around to reading these books someday soon.

  14. Kristi says:

    I’ve been wanting to read this for a while and you’ve reminded my why. I’ll have to move it up higher on my list.

  15. I have them both…unread yet…but will read them in order! I have read nothing but great things about them both.

  16. Staci says:

    I really loved both of these. Your review was great..I almost feel like I need to read them again! 😀

  17. I am glad you enjoyed both of these. I haven’t yet read them, but they are in my TBR pile waiting their turn.

  18. Amy says:

    I haven’t read either book yet, but I have the second one so I’m going to get my hands on Love Walked In & read it first.
    I’m really looking forward to these books since I know how well received they are by many readers. I’ve skimmed a few reviews but try not to really any because I don’t like to know too much before reading a book I’m excited about!

    ~ Amy

  19. This do sound good! I can’t resist a terrific character driven novel.

  20. stacybuckeye says:

    That’s so great about the signing, LOL! I liked this one and need to read the sequel. It would be hard for me to resist a Cary Grant lookalike. Shh, don’t tell my husband!

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