Acclaimed bestselling author Marisa de los Santos's literary talents shine in the complex interactions she creates between three unforgettable women, deftly entangling her characters in a web of trust, betrayal, love, and loss that challenges them in ways they never imagined.-- Harper
Probably the first thing that attracted me to BELONG TO ME by Marisa de los Santos was the cover artwork. I think it's just adorable with all the rain boots lined up! However, after I read the book's description, I knew I wanted to read this novel because it is just the type of book I seem to enjoy. You know what I mean? Good women's fiction with real characters.
My only hesitation (and it was a slight one) was that I hadn't read Ms. de los Santos' prior novel LOVE WALKED IN which features some of the same characters. I wasn't sure if that would affect my enjoyment of BELONG TO ME; but after reading this novel, I definitely think it stands alone. That's not to say that I'm not going to go back and read LOVE WALKED IN because I loved the characters in this novel and want to learn more about them.
I found the main character in this story, Cornelia, to be very interesting; and while I didn't have a whole lot in common with her, I found myself relating to her especially when she moved to the suburbs. I think a lot of women will sympathize with Cornelia and how she felt around Piper, the "perfect-little" mom and wife. As I read this novel, I began liking Cornelia more and more; and I loved that the author made her so complex and flawed. And while I'm not sure I agreed with her initial reactions to her husband near the end of the book, I absolutely could understand her feelings and anger towards him. I felt that the portrayal of Cornelia was very real.
I also really appreciated how Ms. de los Santos created the character of Piper -- she was just so interesting and at times funny. I probably should have disliked her and her shallowness; however, I found myself really liking her (eventually) and wanting her to find some sense of peace and happiness. I loved watching her discover things about herself and change for the better.
Actually, Cornelia and Piper weren't the only characters that I found interesting, Almost all of the characters in this book had something important to add to this story. As a reader, I think I learned something from each of them; and that's one of the things that I loved most about this book. I walked away from reading BELONG TO ME thinking about myself, my marriage, and my friendships. I love it when a book makes me think!
I liked the characters and the story, but I think I really appreciated the author's writing style. Ms. de los Santos' writing definitely brought this book to another level for me when compared with other contemporary women's fiction. BELONG TO ME was just so incredibly easy to read for me, and I was immediately drawn into the characters' lives. I thought the dialogue was extremely natural and Ms. de los Santos' descriptions were almost poetic. It is evident to me that Ms. de los Santos is a gifted writer. In fact, she is actually an award-winning poet with a Ph.D. in literature and creative writing.
I absolutely adored BELONG TO ME and will be recommending it to all of my friends. I also think this novel would make a fantastic book club selection because there are just so many wonderful characters to analyze and interesting themes to discuss. There is a ten question reading guide available in the back of the book which will help focus your discussion, but I truly believe that there is a great deal to talk about even without it.
Please stop by tomorrow because Ms. de los Santos will be stopping by with a wonderful guest post about writing this novel and how one very special character came to her! There also might be an added incentive to visit -- if you know what I mean!