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#177 ~ Belong to Me ~ Review and Giveaway

Cover of Belong to Me

Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos

Cornelia, a died in the wool city girl, moves with her gorgeous, oncologist husband Teo to the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Unfortunately, her prejudices about suburban life become reality almost instantaneously. No sooner had the couple moved in to their new house that nosy, opinionated neighbors, led by Piper, try to ensure that Cornelia and Teo live up to neighborhood expectations.  Cornelia was miserable until Lake, a recent transplant from California, moves into the area.  Although Lake’s easy friendship becomes distant as the holidays near, her son Dev quickly becomes a frequent visitor at Cornelia and Teo’s house.  Dev, who has grown up without a father or any extended family feels at home with them and another teenager close to them – Clare.  Just as Cornelia’s life starts to improve, things shake up for Piper and Dev.  Soon, all of their lives are impacted as they learn more about themselves and each other.  After her move to the suburbs, Cornelia’s life will never be the same.

What made this novel so special to me were the voices of Cornelia, Piper and Dev.  They were interesting and distinct individuals.  As Cornelia was a first person narrator, I fell in love with her voice first.  Her first encounters with Piper had me giggling, but I also quickly felt her pain as Lake started to pull away from her for no apparent reason.  Dev is a refreshing adolescent male.  He is both extremely smart and highly adaptable.  He also wasn’t a flat, geeky character, either.  He easily made friends in the right environment and I enjoyed his take on Clare as their relationship started to bloom.  Despite the fact that I instantaneously fell into step with Cornelia and Dev, Piper was the most interesting character in the novel.  Her journey from determining and living what was appropriate for all women and learning to be real and to follow her heart was deeply satisfying.  Although toward the end of the novel, when Dev and Cornelia’s worlds are turned upside down, their combined introspection slowed the novel down for me, I admired and enjoyed each of the characters.

Marisa de los Santos’ writing is as fluid and charming as she was when I heard her speak at the National Book Festival this past September.  She brings her characters to life and makes them feel real and whole.  During her talk there, she mentioned that Belong to Me is the sequel to Love Walked In, but that they were both writtent to be stand alone novels.  I haven’t read Love Walked In yet, but I look forward to finding out more about Cornelia and Clare’s relationship.  Clare is such a wonderful charcter in Belong to Me.  I want to know more about her and her family life.  Although I won’t know for certain until I read Love Walked In, I think it will enhance Belong to Me.  From what I’ve read by de los Santos, I believe the opposite will be true as well.

Belong to Me, as the title indicates, is about relationships – both biological and chosen.  It illustrates so nicely the motto my parents used to have on their license plate frame: Love is a decision.  Sometimes love is easy and full of warm emotion, but it is truly love when you decide to care for another person warts and all.  It is also a good reminder that if you are not open to others, even when they don’t make a good first (or second or third) impression.  If you shut down your heart, you may be missing out on what that person can add to your life.  Belong to Me is both heartwarming and true, making it the perfect novel to read while relaxing on vacation or inside curled up on the couch on a rainy day.

+++++

Cathy from HarperCollins has graciously offered a copy of Belong to Me to giveaway to THREE of my readers.  If you like Women’s Literature and reading about relationships, you will most definitely enjoy this novel.  I will be running this giveaway until July 17th.  To enter, leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite quote about love or friendship.  For an additional entry, be sure to Twitter about the contest or let your friends know by email.  Be sure when tweeting to include @lithousewife so I can add your extra entry.  When emailing about it, be sure to copy me at jennifer (at) literatehousewife (dot) com.  Good luck!!!!

*******

To buy this book, click here.

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23 Comments

  • At 2009.07.04 13:19, Pam said:

    A week or so ago, Marisa did a guest post for another blogger on why she uses the F-word when she writes. Based on that tiny sample of her writing, I know I have to read her books, now. I was going to start with Love Walked In but if they stand alone, I think I might prefer starting with Belong to Me.
    As for my entry, I’m an Oscar Wilde kind of gal so all of my quotes tend to be a little bit jaded and witty. Woops! I do like this one Van Gogh quote, though: “Love is something eternal; the aspect may change, but not the essence”
    Thanks for a great review. I’m excited about reading this.
    .-= Pam´s last blog .. =-.

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    • At 2009.07.04 13:23, mari said:

      My mom gave me this book at Christmas but I have yet to read it. Your review has bumped it up my To Read Pile. 🙂
      .-= mari´s last blog .. =-.

      • At 2009.07.04 13:57, Heather said:

        I LOVED this book and also Love Walked In, I’m glad you enjoyed it too. Don’t enter me as I already own a copy. Great review!
        .-= Heather´s last blog .. =-.

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        • At 2009.07.04 14:38, Sandy said:

          Carrie from Books and Movies listed this book as one of her favorite works of fiction of all time. That did it for me. I would love to read this book. My favorite saying of all time regarding friendship is “The road to a friend’s house is never too long.”
          .-= Sandy´s last blog .. =-.

          • At 2009.07.04 14:51, rhapsodyinbooks said:

            Favorite quote about love or friendship: this is a tough one, so many from which to choose! I think I’ll go with a stanza from William Butler Yeats’ poem “When You Are Old:”

            How many loved your moments of glad grace,
            And loved your beauty with love false or true,
            But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
            And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

            But I can’t resist adding, from Auden’s Funeral Blues:

            He was my North, my South, my East and West,
            My working week and my Sunday rest,
            My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
            I thought that love would last for ever; I was wrong.

            Okay, they’re both depressing. Nevertheless, they’re about love! :–)
            Thanks for the contest!

            nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

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            • At 2009.07.04 16:33, Amy Reads Good Books said:

              I read this a few months ago and really liked it! I especially liked how our perceptions of Piper evolve. Glad you enjoyed it too!
              .-= Amy Reads Good Books´s last blog .. =-.

              • At 2009.07.04 16:45, Kathy said:

                I couldn’t think of a quote, so I cheated and googled and found this great quote – Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired – by Robert Frost. I just read Love Walked In, and loved it, so I’d love to win this one. Thanks for the giveaway.
                .-= Kathy´s last blog .. =-.

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                • At 2009.07.04 18:29, Beth N Conners said:

                  I’m fond of Tennyson’s: “Tis better to have loved and lost, then never to have loved at all”.

                  I’m putting this book on my TBR list! 🙂

                  thanks – beth
                  .-= Beth N Conners´s last blog .. =-.

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                    • At 2009.07.05 11:29, Lindymc said:

                      I enjoy books about friendship. A quote that comes to mind is something my oldest and dearest friend once said – I have no idea where she had heard it. “It takes a long time to grow an old friend.”
                      Thanks for this giveaway opportunity.

                      • At 2009.07.05 15:46, Julie said:

                        A great love quote I heard the other day is this:

                        For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of our tasks; the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.
                        – Rainer Maria Rilke

                        Cheers,
                        julie.sherritt[at]gmail.com

                        • At 2009.07.05 21:34, Kay said:

                          I’ve been wanting to read this for a while! 🙂 So I’m entering this giveaway of course!

                          One of the most beautiful quote on love I’ve read, and that I really can relate to, is one by Haruki Murakami : “Anyone who falls in love is searching for the missing pieces of themselves. So anyone who’s in love gets sad when they think of their lover. It’s like stepping back inside a room you have fond memories of, one you haven’t seen in a long time.”

                          infiniteshelf at gmail dot com
                          .-= Kay´s last blog .. =-.

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                          • At 2009.07.05 23:58, just mom said:

                            In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.
                            Mother Teresa

                            • At 2009.07.06 03:28, etirv said:

                              “I get by with a little help from my friends”… John Lennon

                              • At 2009.07.06 09:37, Amanda said:

                                My favorite quote is “Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.”- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

                                • At 2009.07.06 19:02, dag888888 said:

                                  I’m old fashioned: Love is a many splendored thing! First quote that always comes to mind.

                                  • At 2009.07.09 10:20, Anita Yancey said:

                                    My favorite quote about love is. “If you love somebody, let them go. If they return, they were always yours. If they don’t, they never were.” Please enter me. Thanks!

                                    ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

                                    • At 2009.07.11 10:29, CherylS22 said:

                                      My favorite quotation about friendship is:

                                      “A friend is one who knows us, but loves us anyway” by
                                      Fr. Jerome Cummings

                                      • At 2009.07.15 13:00, Sue said:

                                        Loved Charlotte’s Web when I was a kid and I always loved the great friendship in it. This was said by Charlotte… “You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.”

                                        Thanks for sharing! smickelson1993 at yahoo dot com

                                        • At 2009.07.15 15:50, Amy said:

                                          Your review of this book has landed it on my TBR list!

                                          One of my favorite quotes can apply to friendship or love and it’s simple but I think about it every day:

                                          “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”
                                          – Mother Teresa

                                          Thank you for hosting this giveaway!
                                          Amy
                                          .-= Amy´s last blog .. =-.

                                          • […] month I held a contest for one of three copies of Marisa de los Santos’ Belong to Me.  After a little too much time, I finally have used List Randomizer to draw the winners and they […]

                                            • At 2011.01.22 22:59, Propecia said:

                                              I was very pleased to search out this web-site.I wished to thanks for your time for this glorious read!! I positively enjoying every little little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to take a look at new stuff you weblog post.

                                              • At 2011.01.22 23:05, Jennifer said:

                                                You are so welcome! I’m so glad you found me and a perfect book as well.

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