Love Walked In

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Product 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 cafe, and the two women form an improbable friendship that carries them through the unpredictable currents of love and life. Love Walked In, the first novel by award-winning poet Marisa de los Santos, is bursting with keen insight and beautifully rendered prose. Invoking classic movies to illuminate the mystery and wonder of love in all its permutations, Love Walked In is an uplifting debut that marks the entrance of an enchanting literary voice.

Customer Reviews:

  • Maybe I'm Amazed...
    I've read so many books over the years, I didn't think anyone could surprise me. My sister loaned me a copy of this book- and after 5 pages- I rushed out to buy my own copy. I loved what another reviewer said- this book breathes...and you want to mark special passages, turn down pages, but mainly you never want it to end. I though that Anne Lamott, Lorrie Moore and Elizabeth Berg were the queens. Well, move over. This woman's writing SHINES. I am so enthralled- can't wait to read her next one!...more info
  • Loved this book.
    Oh my goodness, I cannot believe how much I loved this book. I couldn't put it down, laughed, cried and read it over two days time, to the exclusion of just about everything else.

    Cornelia Brown is a tiny sprite of a woman who loves old classic movies; in particular The Philadelphia Story. When Martin Grace walks into her coffee shop one day, looking so much like Cary Grant it's unbelievable, Cornelia goes out with him and begins to fall in love. What she doesn't know is that Martin has a few secrets he has yet to share, and when one is revealed to be his eleven year old daughter, Clare, Cornelia begins a journey that changes her entire life.

    This book was pitch perfect, with two amazing characters in Cornelia and Clare, people you just wish you really had in your life. The secondary characters were all wonderful, and fleshed out people. The movie and poetry references were so clever and I was completely bewitched by this book. I was also very pleased to know there is a sequel, entitled Belong to Me....more info
  • If you love books and movies, this is the book
    This book is a joy if you read and read broadly. If your knowledge of older films is complete, so much the better. If you do not read across genres, I suspect this will be a fairly ordinary novel. I think the particular charm is that it is a book about readers.
    It does have fine characterization.
    de Los Santos has a wonderful way with a sentence. You occasionally want to stop and linger over a sentence here & there...more info
  • Loved It After First 30 Pages
    I absolutely loved this book, but it took me at least 30 pages to even start liking the book. Kind-hearted Cornelia is very annoying in the beginning of the story. She is a romantic. She compares everything that happens in her life to movie scenes and actors and actresses. She is a much more child-like character than the actual child Claire. Claire's section of the book I liked right from the start. She is a child living with her mother who seems to be suffering with a bi-polar disorder. It is when these two characters, Cornelia and Claire, come together that you fall in love with the story. Cornelia will touch your heart with her kindness. Claire will bring you to tears. Together they will make you glad that you were given the chance to get to know them....more info
  • great book
    This was one of the best books I've read in a while. I read this for a book club and thought it would be just a normal light love story but it was so much more. Beautiful writing; feelings put into words that made them so clear. Feelings I've had but couldn't describe. I loved the characters that became people I knew well. I was so sorry to see it come to an end. It was one of the few books that I'll read again....more info
  • Boring, Repetitive, Uninspired
    I really wanted to like this book..but, after the first few chapters - in which EVERY point is repeated too many times with too many adjectives and correlations...I gave up. I think the author has potential - good editing would help pare the story down. I'm disappointed....more info
  • So very, very bad
    I have to admit I lost it early on, when the narrator of this "novel" claims that if the reader has not yet seen a certain movie they should put the book down and go rent it immediately. I can't believe this was even published. However I have no trouble believing it's being made into a Sarah Jessica Parker movie. The only reason I gave this one star is that zero wasn't an option. One is generous....more info
  • Love Walked In
    This was somewhat different than my usual readings....I got into the story after a bit. Not a bad read at all. Not the normal love story but a good one....more info
  • Swept me into the family
    I loved this book. Maybe it was predictable, but since no one writes predictably any more, one never knew what was coming. A warm, thoroughly satisfying story. The writer used words like an artist uses paint. Beautifully constructed....more info
  • Poignant, witty and enchanting!
    Have you ever gone to a bookstore and, while browsing through the shelves, you grab a random book and then it captures you with the opening paragraph? Well, that is the purpose of most writers, right? The opening paragraph is supposed to grab the reader. But few of them manage to grab you in the same way throughout the book. Love Walked In isn't one of those books. This beautiful, poignant and memorable gem was readable from beginning to end, so much so that I caught myself reading it while I was supposed to be working. Thirty-one-year-old Cornelia Brown had no idea just how much her life would change the moment Martin Grace walked into the caf®¶ she works in. He looks like Cary Grant -- her dream man -- which is great, because their conversations and encounters remind her of the old movies she loves so much. She has found true love... or has she? Then there's Clare Hobbs, an eleven-year-old girl who is suddenly abandoned by her manic-depressive mother. With an aloof father and indifferent neighbors, Clare has no one to turn to, until she walks into Cornelia's caf®¶. Life has many surprises in store for Cornelia and Clare. Together they learn what love is all about and how life takes unexpected directions; sometimes painful, but sometimes also wonderful.

    This is such a great novel, so beautifully written. The characters' voices jump out of the pages and you cannot help but fall in love with these people. Cornelia has a wonderful first-person narrative style. You feel like you are reading about your closest friend. As for Clare, she is a wonderful character, someone every person -- young or old -- could relate to. All of the characters are vivid and wonderful, except for Martin, but I think he is meant to be as he is depicted in the book: handsome and charming, yet mysterious and detached -- like a movie star. Teo, Cornelia's brother-in-law, is my favorite character in the book. I don't know why, but I pictured Gerard Butler in the role. (Must have been the green eyes.) The movie references add a definite charm, making it feel like an old-fashioned film in itself. Sarah Jessica Parker wrote a back-cover blurb, and now I find out that she may play Cornelia in the movie version. I can't picture her as Cornelia. Though petite, Parker is not quite as small as Cornelia. Then again, it would be difficult to find someone who fits the character's description. Anyway, Love Walked In will draw you in, pull at the heartstrings and take you on quite a wonderful journey. My one complaint is that the plot becomes contrived and predictable toward the end, which disappointed me greatly. However, that wasn't a good enough reason to give it less than five stars. This is one of the best reads I've had all year and it has earned a special spot on my bookshelf.
    ...more info
  • Damn good read
    This beautiful, emotive find was distinctive from the very start, so much so that I caught myself reading it at times that I really hadn't ought.
    This is a lovely story, and so well presented. The protagonists became absolutely real. I was so involved with the story, I felt as if I wanted to be part of their lives. Well done. I shall look out for more....more info
  • Yummy!
    I grabbed this book off the bargain rack at my favorite bookstore. I'd never heard of the author or the book. After some hesitation, I dove into the first chapter. Wow! It swallowed me whole. 48 hours later, I found a new favorite author. She writes beautifully, uses actual vocabulary, and there weren't any awkward "love" scenes. For an accidental find, I am VERY happy. Best $2 I've ever spent!...more info
  • Very Disappointed
    Won't waste words here...I agree with most other 1 or 2 star reviewers. First half was dull, dull, dull. Somehow I kept going only to be whisked-off to fairytale land where all happy endings come true. Rubbish. The only thing I didn't notice was the bad language...must be pale compared to my own salty tongue!...more info
  • Promise walked out....
    Marisa De Los Santos is blessed with a writer's voice that renders her protagonist a witty, passionate personality whose observations and dialogue lines jump off the page. Cornelia is spicy, clever and caring woman who, at thirty, is still searching for herself when the perfect man walks into the caf®¶ she manages. But when the sheen wears off Martin's "perfection," what he leaves behind is his eleven-year-old daughter, Clare. The bond forged between Cornelia and Clare is touching. Their needs mesh well--Cornelia's to nurture, and Clare's to be mothered following the disappearance of her unstable mother.

    What a great premise for a novel. What a great promise to the reader for hours of indulgence in a simply good book. And indeed, the wonderful prose kept me going. It kept me turning the pages seeking more.

    But that's where the novel fizzled. In terms of plot development, it took almost third of the novel before the two main characters first came face to face. And in that span of time, the relationship between Cornelia and Martin never got far. The cracks in the potential for the great romance were gaping already before the reader became fully invested--along with Cornelia who genuinely tried to fall in love with him--in the blooming of this love story.

    Reading on, though, the plot turned into pure schmaltz. The last third of the book introduced a new cast of characters unessential to the story; tacking them on into the plot seemed forced. And the unfolding events were no more than a sweetened version of a Hallmark card. Clare breezes through the most horrific traumas a child can experience with little scars. I would have considered discussing this section of the book a SPOILER had it had some credibility, but every aspect of the story simply lay flat. The prose that De Los Santos used until now to keep me going was overused to try to create excitement where none existed.

    Take the death of Mrs. Goldberg. A character mentioned in passing before, an Alzheimer patient that Cornelia never even visited in the many weeks of the first part of the novel, was suddenly mourned with depth that was hard to emphasize with. No matter how much prose De Los Santos compiled postmortem on Mrs. Goldberg, the old woman never became a real person, nor could her house so "full of treasures" be visualized. I wish the author had given the reader one important such item to understand "the stories" that suddenly so captivated Cornelia to hijack her full attention and emotions, but which the reader still was not a part of. The obscurity of Mrs. Goldberg became more so as I wondered why name a character by a distinctly Jewish name yet strip her of any cultural or religious background that would have made her life and death authentic? (No mention of who officiated her funeral, while Cornelia attended it with the reader, her heart broken....) As Cornelia devoted herself to documenting Mrs. Goldberg's stories, the reader learned none of them other than the not particularly interesting way Mrs. G. had met her husband fifty years before.

    Not to spoil the story for those readers who want to learn what happened to Clare's mother and how Cornelia's commitment to the frightened girl held up, I will not delve into my disappointment of the non-plot on these fronts.

    A good editor could have pointed these out as well as some others. (e.g., Why must each leading man in this novel be so over-the-top outstandingly handsome? And why must everyone talk about these men's looks at every opportunity?) I am certain that, with some guidance, this capable author could have streamlined the story to make this book the kind of satisfying experience it first promised but failed to deliver.

    Talia Carner, author,
    Puppet Child and China Doll

    ...more info
  • Boring, boring, boring
    I was glad to see that I wasn't the only one who thought this book was boring. I really wanted to love this book but I couldn't even finish it. Clare was just too old for her age & yes, I do know there are kids like that but she was just too much and Cornelia was just boring....more info
  • Nice
    I was instantly attracted to the story line, though it is obviously a predictable one. I was turned off in several areas for the emphasis placed on sex, but this novel was a good one overall. Like Clare, my mother is also bipolar, so I can understand a part of what she was going through. ...more info
  • A Look At Unconditional Love
    While the style of writing drove me crazy, I am compelled to recommend this book to others. The Author's continuous references to movie lines made this book hard to read; but the characters seemed to compel me at some point to just keep going. This book will make you laugh and at times leave a lump in your throat. Most of today's fiction does not tackle mental health issues. I applaud Marisa de los Santos for bringing awareness to the mental health condition known as bipolar disorder. I liked this book because it wasn't perfect and it does not have a fairytale ending. It is however, a good example of unconditional love. While I am not sure I would read anything else from this author, I am glad I read this one to the end. Read this book and pass it on.......more info
  • loved it
    I read this while traveling through Europe. It was so wonderful, I had a hard time putting it down, even with the temptation of the beautiful Italian countryside out the window...I was sad when it was over....more info
  • One of the best!
    This book is one of the best reads I have had in the past two years or so. Well-written, caring and warm. I didn't want it to end....more info
  • awful
    I have never been so wrong about a book. When I started reading LOVED WALKED IN I is fair, I will get thru it. Then the unexpected comes....Martin walks in to the coffee shop with Clare, who turns out to be his daughter. I didn't see it coming....I loved the unanticipated twist and started reading the book with gusto.... about 2\3rds of the way, it was clear that it was going to turn out just right....way too perfect. I went back to thinking this is fair, onto mediocre and then just simple dislike! From the top....Cornelia is this adorable 30+ woman who weighs 85 pounds without trying, just a tad short of stunning, quick witted and even her chill out job is nothing less than the manager of a Philadelphia coffee shop. Let's not forget she gets the man of her dreams..., a house is left to her by a close friend where the natural children don't contest the will, and she generously offers it to a total stranger. Then there is Clare who is a lovely, smart and well behaved preteen, even though she has lived with a sick mother for sometime and has an emotionally bankrupt father! No deep psychological scars there!! Of course Clare's family are wealthy. In fact money in the whole book is no issue. Cornelia's parents are wonderful, her brothers are endearing, and Theo's family warm and generous. Naturally Cornelia gets step motherhood right in that first hug in the coffee shop, never looses her patience with Clare (although how could she Clare is intuitive, sweet, loving...letter perfect) and makes NOT the slightest mistake with her boyfriend's daughter. No such bond and friendship could be forged in such a short time....come on!

    I found nothing redeemable by the end of this book, there was not one character who was believable...much too perfect and even Martin, who we are suppose to clearly dislike...well I didn't!, I found myself feeling sorry for him. I disliked the constant references to movies, actors and heroines....most which where totally unfamiliar to me.

    Author Marisa de los Santos's love story is totally improbable. This was her first novel, and should be her last!

    ...more info
  • Great book!
    A moving story. I love the compassion she has for her characters and the way she captures childhood. This was a book I had a hard time putting down....more info
  • Smart!
    I'm so happy I stumbled across this book. It's fresh, new and smart. Kept me wanting for more!...more info
  • Enjoyable literary novel
    I really enjoyed the story. And the author had wonderful character development.....especially of the little girl.
    Pacing of the story was excellent and it was a very enjoyable read....more info
  • You can't tell a book by its cover.....
    I was pleasantly surprised by this multi-layered novel involving love, lonely children, mental illness, sex and one functional family. This book was recommended by a friend who does not read junk so despite the cover depicting a girl's legs, I read the book at a fast pace, I enjoyed the characters: Cornelia, the main protagonist and the very bright only child Clare, who charms and brings many adults to "see the light." I found the most poignant part of the plot was when Clare constructs a schedule to survive in school and as her mother's daughter as her mother becomes more steeped in a dangerous manic depression. Without giving away the ending, I did find the ending of Clare's mother ephiphany and the resolution to be unrealistic.
    The reader experiences hope, twists and turns in the plot and some joy to read about Clare who will have a chance to lead a life filled with honest love. She certainly deserves it....more info
  • Love Walked In
    I enjoyed this book even though it was entirely predictable once you get past the middle of it. I do have to say one other thing...about Martin's death. Could the author not think of any other way to get him out of the picture? It seems the writer fell short of creativity and didn't bother thinking of a more clever way to get rid of him and instead decided to just kill him off. Yes I know these things happen every day it just seemed too.. simple to me.
    I did love certain parts, especially everything about Clare and her story of Annikah and the Bears. ...more info
  • Beginning Dragged, Picked up at the middle/end
    A little boring in the beginning but then it picked up. I'd still recommend it. Very cute!...more info
  • Would have been better if told in 1/2 the time
    I read this book based on many four- and five-star reviews, but sadly, didn't feel the same. The plot is pretty good, but the story could have been told in about half the amount of pages. The author's character, Cornelia, rambles on unnecessarily about backgrounds and relationships. Everything is "profound" according to this character and it's ANNOYING. I found myself rolling my eyes every time she'd ramble about this movie character or that movie character, my insides screaming - "I GET IT! MOVE ON!" However - the story itself, the actual plot, if you can get beyond the "MOVE ON!" feeling, is pretty good. Read this if you have a copy hanging around... but don't expect to love it. If it weren't for the good plot idea, I would have given this two stars. ...more info
  • Nothing to write home about.
    While the story itself was alright, the characters were so unbelievable it was hard to get through. Cornelia's constant movie references were annoying and at only 11 years old, Clare was a little too knowledgable. I don't think Clare's mother's breakdown was fully justified and her father was just so blah. As for Teo, give me a break!...more info
  • Ugh!
    I, too, wanted to like this book, but from the first chapter, when Cornelia kept telling me what I was thinking, I was nauseated (she didn't pick up on that one). I can't stand this style of writing. I loved the first few chapters about Clare, they were well written and believable. I was really looking forward to finding out what happens to this little girl who is stuck in a horrible siutation. But the book quickly heads downhill when Cornelia and Clare meet. Everyone is just so witty and smart - including 11-year-old Clare. Come on. Her mentally ill mother abandons her on the side of the road, and 24-hours later, she's yucking it up with the Teo and Linny at the coffee shop. I couldn't read another page.
    ...more info
  • Sweet and touching
    This is a wonderful story. It manages to be warm hearted and touching but not become sappy. An excellent love story between a young girl and a temporary mother....more info
  • Take out language and sex and 9-13 year olds would love this book.
    I had not read one of De Los Santos books, this one was on someone's list of good reads, now I would like to remember who and why so I won't listen to them next time. This is a perfect book for pre-teens, about the age of the partly dipicted female child on the cover(of my edition), except that it throws in references to sex and bad language. The writing is filled with copied references to old movies with long paragraphs on other insignificant subjects which serve to prolong a very simple story, that is so simplistic and silly I couldn't even get to my "100 page" rule. Take out the bad words and make less reference to sex and she could have the 9-13 year old audience wrapped up. ...more info
  • It started out with a bang!
    I loved the beginning. I could feel Claire's pain in my gut. I thought the writing was great and I loved Cornelia's character. I hated her dad and thought the author did a great job in getting me to hate her dad.
    I then thought that the author copped out as so many do by having a tragedy occur rather than dealing with some of the difficulties of getting out of some of the messy relationships.
    Another thing that really bothered me about it, and this has been spinning in my head since I finished it is the way Cornelia wrapped it up with Claire. This is so unrealistic. As a mental health professional, one can NOT do this to a child! I am furious about the way the author handled this. Claire is so vulnerable and raw and on the verge of so much loss and was not handled well....I sure hope they get this lovely girl a good therapist, pancakes is just not going to cut it to rebuild what has been broken in this little girl....more info
  • Would I have finished this novel if not for book club?
    Definitely not! The first 90 pages were awful. It became much more enjoyable halfway through, but not enough to redeem the book. All in all, I'm sure you could find a much better title than this one. ...more info
  • Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos
    I thought this was an excellent first novel by de los Santos. The characters were well defined and I cared about them. The book was very well written and a good story. I would definitely recommend this book. it's fast to read and very interesting....more info
  • Boring, Boring, Boring
    Boring, Boring, Boring, book! This book was awful! The book was way too discriptive. It took the writer a whole page to say something it could have taken a few sentences to say. I found myself skipping paragraphs to just find out what the point was. The plot was thin and predictable. One reviewer said it could have been written for young teens and I agree. I am not even sure why I bothered to finish the book.
    Terrible! Don't waste your money, if you must read it borrow from a friend or go to the library....more info
  • Orphans and Old Movies
    Cornelia Brown, manager of the Dora Caf®¶ in Philadelphia, views life as movie moments, old movies to be exact, classics, so when someone walks into the caf®¶ looking more like Cary Grant then anybody has a right to, she is attracted, who wouldn't be? Eleven-year-old Clare reads more than anyone her age should, identifying with fictional orphans and the chapters in this book alternate between Cornelia's first person narrative and the third person point of view from Clare's perspective, both stories beautifully told. We know pretty quickly these two are going to get together.

    Now as to that man who walked in. He's Martin Grace and he and Cornelia seem destined for each other, but Martin hasn't told Cornelia about his daughter who is, you guessed it, Clare, who has been taking care of her bi-polar mother, something no eleven year old should have to do. When mom goes missing, abandoning Clare, Martin brings her to meet Cornelia and the two bond. Cornelia is the mother Clare should have had and speaking of destiny, Clare seems destined to be Cornelia's daughter, but is Martin really destined for Cornelia?

    Okay, there you have it. Do you want to read this story? You should, because it is beautifully written with characters as real as your next door neighbor, characters you care about. Maria de los Santos has put a movie into a book, so vivid are her images. I loved this book, so much so that I'm starting Ms. de los Santos's Belong to Me tomorrow and if it's half the story this is, then it's a winner.

    Reviewed by Vesta Irene...more info
  • Must Read!
    The title of this book made me think it must be some boring gushy love story. Then I read some reviews about it and gave it a try. I'm so glad I did try it! Although it starts out a little slow, you quickly get to know the characters and care about them. I couldn't put the book down. I've given the book to several people and they all loved it too. I can't wait for this author to write another book!...more info
  • This one will stay with me...
    I enjoyed this story, particularly the storyline involving an 11-year-old girl named Clare. Her story brought tears to my eyes more than once. I know others have said that she acted old for her age, but that became part of the pathos and charm -- a child having to take on adult responsibilities.

    However, this was not a perfect story. The ending was a little too perfect -- everything was a little too neat. It seemed out of place outside of a Harlequin or a child's book. Happy endings are one thing, but this one relied too much on plot devices and serendipity normally only seen in Dickens. Maybe I'm being a Scrooge though. ::wink::

    Cornelia, the other main character, was also a little too perfect. This was covered in other reviews. It was like even when she did or said the wrong thing she was instantly forgiven and adored. Much of this book relied on Cornelia viewing Clare and vice versa. Clare clearly adored Cornelia, but it kept feeling more like the the writer was inserting her own love for her creations rather than it always being the thoughts of the child.

    An unfair criticism that I read is that the book is filled with movie references. Cornelia was a movie buff and that would inform her thoughts and language.

    What I did like was that the title meant something different -- referred to a different relationship -- than one might assume at the beginning.

    I recommend this as a touching, well-written -- but imperfect -- read. I'm glad I bought it and it will stay with me instead of merely being a story I vaguely remember. ...more info
  • Great fun and good writing
    At first I thought this was "chick lit" when my friend gave it to me, and almost didn't read it. (O.K., I'm a bit of an intellectual snob.) But it's not. It's well written and fun and clever and full of love. I highly recommend it....more info
  • 4.5 Stars. . . Sweet, Sad, Tender, Lovely
    I really enjoyed this story. Cornelia Brown narrates her life for us with classic old time movies; The Philadelphia Story, Casablanca, Rear Window, Notorious. Eleven year old, Clare Hobbs, uses fictional characters from classic children's literature.

    Thirty-something Cornelia Brown manages a hip Philadelphia coffee shop. She loves old movies and Carey Grant. When she meets handsome Martin Grace she thinks she might fall in love.

    Eleven year old Clara Hobbs has been completely abandoned by her erratic mother and turns to her estranged father for help.

    Clare and Cornelia meet and form a surprising friendship.

    Their stories are told in alternating chapters with Clare's written in the third person and Cornelia's in the first person.

    This is a book about love, romantic and true, the love and knowing of best friends, mothers and brothers, the love for a child and the love of family.

    I thought it was sweet and tender. I really liked these characters. De Los Santos keeps things realistic and doesn't tie everything up neatly in the end.

    It took me a bit to get used to the alternating narrative style and I would have liked to have a better idea of the passage of time. I know that weather condition are mentioned as well as Christmas but was never certain how much time had passed between events.

    But overall I would say.. if you like what I like you would probably like this to. I think it would stir some good discussions for a book club....more info
  • Worth the read
    It took a lot for me to get through the first few chapters. It was the story of 11-year-old Clare that kept me reading. After I'd say the first 80 or 90 pages or so the story really started to open up and I just completely fell in love with it. I'm not a fast reader but I finished it within a week because I just couldn't stand not knowing what happens next. It defintely a book that captures you once you get into the real story. I hear they're making it into a movie with Sarah Jessica Parker and Dakota Fanning and I've got to say I can't think of anyone else who would be better for either part. It's definitely on my list of classic "must reads."...more info
  • Laugh, cry, love and share
    This is a keeper so you can read it more than once - once you finally retrieve it from the friend you loaned it to who wants to read it again and again....more info
  • Great book!
    This is a great book, and the very first one from this author. The character development is endearing and addicting...leaving you wanting more. Fortunately, there IS more, her sequel to this, "Belong to Me," is even better! Enjoy....more info
  • Good, Though Flawed
    I enjoyed this book because it was engrossing and well written. I thought Cornelia was a little too quirky - annoying sometimes - and things wrapped up too neatly in the end. I didn't think a lot of it was very realistic. All in all, I liked it, though, mostly because of de los Santos' word choice and description....more info