Belong to Me

Belong to Me

3.8 494
by Marisa de los Santos
     
 

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Everyone has secrets. Some we keep to protect ourselves, others to protect those we love.

A devoted city dweller, Cornelia Brown surprised herself when she was gripped by the sudden desire to head for an idyllic suburb. Though she knows she's made the right move, she approaches her new life with trepidation and struggles to forge friendships. Cornelia's mettle

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Overview

Everyone has secrets. Some we keep to protect ourselves, others to protect those we love.

A devoted city dweller, Cornelia Brown surprised herself when she was gripped by the sudden desire to head for an idyllic suburb. Though she knows she's made the right move, she approaches her new life with trepidation and struggles to forge friendships. Cornelia's mettle is quickly tested by judgmental neighbor Piper Truitt, the embodiment of everything Cornelia feared she would find in suburbia. A saving grace soon appears in the form of Lake, and Cornelia develops an instant bond with this warm yet elusive woman.

As their individual stories unfold, the women become entangled in a web of trust, betrayal, love and loss that challenges them in ways they never imagined, and that ultimately teaches them what it means for one human being to belong to another.

Editorial Reviews

Redbook
Smart, funny writing about the risks we take for love.
Publishers Weekly

Cornelia Brown, heroine of de los Santos's bestselling Love Walked In, returns in a gracefully written if formulaic sophomore effort. Cornelia and her husband, Teo, move to suburban Philadelphia, where she finds it difficult to fit into the sorority-like atmosphere. Despite a bevy of domestic dramas (planning a family among them), Cornelia's first-person chapters are the quietest of the three points of view. Seemingly shallow and vicious, neighbor Piper shows her kinder side as she struggles through her best friend's fight against cancer. Though the extreme of Piper's two-facedness isn't convincing, her moments of sincerity invite genuine empathy. Cornelia also yields narrative time to Dev, a precocious teenager whose father is missing and whose mother develops a friendship with Cornelia. Dev's connection to the story is initially unclear, though he does grow close to Clare, a troubled teenager with an unconventional connection to Cornelia, and a late-breaking development grounds his role more firmly. Though each story line is a good read on its own, they don't always braid nicely, and while the predictable plot wanders into sappiness, the prose is polished and the suburban travails are familiar enough that fans of the women's fiction and higher-brow mommy lit will relate. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal

Having met Cornelia Brown in de los Santos's well-reviewed debut, Love Walked In, we now follow her and her oncologist husband, Teo Sandoval, to suburban Philadelphia. Piper Truitt lives across the street with her husband and two young children. She considers herself the arbiter of style and local propriety. Add to the mix waitress Lake and her son, Dev, who is enrolled in a private academy far superior to his previous California public school. From the outset, Cornelia and Piper are traveling down different paths, while Cornelia and Lake seem to hit it off. Go figure? But there is more beneath the surface of these women and their motivations than the lovely locale can mask. Dev thinks he and his mother moved to the area because his long-lost (and unknown to him) father is there. But how do you go about locating someone who's been gone for 13 years? Then Piper becomes caregiver to her longtime friend Elizabeth, diagnosed with cancer, a role that seems more appealing to Piper than wife to Kyle. These family dynamics collide and reconfigure in a variety of ways that readers will find fascinating. De los Santos keeps us totally engaged with these fragile creatures, who get under our skin and, ultimately, into our hearts. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ1/08.]
—Bette-Lee Fox Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

Kirkus Reviews
In de los Santos's second novel (Love Walked In, 2006), Cornelia Brown returns the as heroine, now married to handsome oncologist Teo and trying to make a new home in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Having moved out of New York City after the double whammy of a miscarriage and 9/11, Cornelia finds herself a shunned outsider among the community's perfect blond matrons. Particularly unwelcoming is her tightly wound neighbor Piper, who is as sharp-tongued as she is judgmental about fashion, flowers and childrearing. Cornelia does begin a fledgling friendship with another newcomer, Lake, a waitress who has moved from California to enroll her genius 13-year-old son Dev in a special school after his previous school punished him for being too smart. Dev suspects there might be more to the move, that Lake may be moving them closer to the mystery father he's never met. As much as Cornelia likes Lake, she senses Lake holding back at crucial moments and responds in kind. Meanwhile, Piper turns out to be a far more complicated woman than she seems on the surface. She drops everything (but her children) to care for her best friend Elizabeth, who's in the last stages of cancer. By the time Cornelia succeeds in becoming pregnant, she and Piper have grown surprisingly close, each opening her heart a little to the other. Days after Elizabeth dies, Piper's husband leaves her and she finds herself an outcast for continuing her (platonic) involvement with Elizabeth's mourning husband and children. In another development, Dev stumbles on the truth Lake has been hiding and learns the identity of his father. The father is stunned; Cornelia is devastated; and oh-so-sensitive, intelligent Dev is furious. Needless tosay, a happy ending awaits Cornelia, but readers will be far more interested in Piper, a complex, genuinely intriguing character. Pages on which she appears glow; the rest merely flicker. Witty and intelligent but too often pat. Agent: Jennifer Carlson/Dunow, Carlson & Lerner

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061838415
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/31/2009
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt

It hit me then: Lake needed a friend, probably more than I ever did. She wasn't desperate (I thought that in her own way, Lake must be as immune to quiet desperation as Toby), but she needed a friend, and her need made her fragile as I'd never imagined she could be. So, with the sudden tenderness tugging on me as a gentle current and because I've required enough second chances myself to be a true believer in them, I took three big steps toward Lake, hugged her, sat her down, and made her talk.

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