April 21, 2011

Love of All Kinds • Love Walked In

Love Walked In book cover
Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos
Publisher: Plume
Publication Date: November 28, 2006
Source/Format: Bought || Paperback

When Martin Grace enters the hip Philadelphia coffee shop Cornelia Brown manages, her life changes forever. Meanwhile, on the other side of town, eleven-year-old Clare Hobbes must learn to fend for herself after her increasingly unstable mother has a breakdown and disappears. When the two of them show up at Cornelia's cafe, Cornelia and Clare form a bond as unlikely as it is deep. Together, they face difficult choices and discover that knowing what you love and why is as real as life gets. 

I've been meaning to read Love Walked In for quite a while now, but only got around to taking the plunge this year. There's something mesmerizing about the story, and my only regret is that I wasn't able to read it much sooner.

The first thing that intrigued me about this book is that it was by an author who was half-Filipina, half-American. This bit of knowledge immediately induced me into feeling a necessary compulsion to read this book; I felt compelled to discover if someone who was similar in background to me could really come across well when speaking through the written word.

The result? A beautiful tale interspersed with Filipino and American elements and centering around the simple story of family lost, family found and love gained. I really enjoyed my reading of Love Walked In, despite the tendency to have a bit of lengthy, wordy paragraphs and a beginning that was so-so. There's always something poignant to me about stories, well written ones to be precise, that regale us with ideas about the meaning and concept of what family truly is.

The book flits back and forth between two characters and their thoughts - Clare (the young girl) and Cornelia (the older woman) - and each of their stories draws us in completely. I was completely heartbroken for Clare upon her mother's sudden turn into a stranger and her disappearance; I also felt for her during her moments of confusion in trying to figure out who she was and who exactly she loved. For Cornelia, on the other hand, I could relate to her sense of imagination, her good humor and her willingness to love without boundaries.

Their stories (and some of the more subtle stories of the other characters, like Teo, for instance) are perfectly entwined, making it easy for any reader to understand. It's easy to fall in love with the characters because their perspectives are so clear and you really get to know them.

The entire story was a pleasure, a perfect read for a nice, relaxed day. I would definitely recommend Love Walked In to people who are fans of stories about family and about love. This book, however, is probably easier to swallow if you're an adult.


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