Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos
Reasons for reading: saw it in Shelf Awareness and then saw many great reviews; New To Me Author for the Triple 8 Challenge
Book description: "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."
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."
My thoughts: I loved this book! The story, the language, everything!
Cornelia's ideal man is Cary Grant (and really, who can blame her??) and when Martin, who bears a resemblance to that leading man and is the height of suaveness, walks in, Cornelia thinks she'll have her own Philadelphia Story-type ending. But alas, the zing just isn't there. But what Marin does have is Clare, his not-really-lost-but-not-really-in-his-life daughter, and there Cornelia finds a totally different, but just as fulfilling, love.
The author is apparently a poet and you can tell. One of my favourite phrases is "... I walked up the stairs to my apartment, carrying the moment carefully as though it were a glass globe full of butterflies." Isn't that a perfect way to describe the feelings after a perfect date?
Clare and Cornelia are great alternating characters. Perhaps Clare is a wee bit too precocious, but most of the time she does act and think like an 11 year-old, if a rather observant and wise one. And tiny but not elfin Cornelia is a treat, with her love of vintage everything - music, movies, clothes. Her fast, fierce love for Clare is a wonderful to behold.
Some reviews called the book contrived and that there are few surprises, but really, with such great language and characters, you don't mind. It held enough surprises for me and, like Cornelia's favourite old movies, I'll take romance and humour over cutting-edge and depressing any day.
Speaking of which, I enjoyed the Philadelphia Story references throughout, as it's one of my all-time favourite movies. I fully agree with Clare, who had this to say after seeing it: "That's how movies should always end. With all the good people getting what they want."
And that's basically the way Love Walked In ends, too.
Other reviews (leave a link if you've got one):