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Love Walked In #2

Belong to Me

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

A devoted city dweller, Cornelia Brown surprised no one more than herself when she was gripped by the sudden, inescapable desire to leave urban life behind and head for an idyllic suburb. Though she knows she and her beloved husband, Teo, have made the right move, she approaches her new life with trepidation and struggles to forge friendships in her new home. Cornelia's mettle is quickly tested by judgmental neighbor Piper Truitt. Perfectly manicured, impeccably dressed, and possessing impossible standards, Piper is the embodiment of everything Cornelia feared she would find in suburbia. A saving grace soon appears in the form of Lake. Over a shared love of literature and old movies, Cornelia develops an instant bond with this warm yet elusive woman who has also recently arrived in town, ostensibly to send her perceptive and brilliant son, Dev, to a school for the gifted.

Marisa de los Santos's literary talents shine in the complex interactions she creates between these three women. She deftly explores the life-altering roller coaster of emotions Piper faces as she cares for two households, her own and that of her cancer-stricken best friend, Elizabeth. Skillfully, de los Santos creates an enigmatic and beguiling character in Lake, who draws Cornelia closer even as she harbors a shocking secret. And from the first page until the exhilarating conclusion, de los Santos engages readers with Cornelia, who, while trying to adapt to her new surroundings, must remain true to herself. 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.

400 pages, Hardcover

First published April 1, 2008

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About the author

Marisa de los Santos

15 books2,930 followers
Marisa de los Santos is the New York Times bestselling author of LOVE WALKED IN, BELONG TO ME, FALLING TOGETHER, THE PRECIOUS ONE, and her newest novel, which continues with characters from the first two, I'LL BE YOUR BLUE SKY.

Marisa has also co-authored, with her husband David Teague, two novels for middle grade readers: SAVING LUCAS BIGGS and CONNECT THE STARS.

Marisa and David live in Wilmington, Delaware with their two children, Charles and Annabel, and their Yorkies, Finny and Huxley. Marisa is currently at work on her sixth novel for adults, I'D GIVE ANYTHING.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,769 reviews
Profile Image for Lara.
428 reviews96 followers
May 1, 2008
I'm basically copying this from what I wrote on my blog, which is why it's so lengthy:

I thought this was positively delicious. And I’m not just saying that because I got the book for free, either. I’m not afraid to trash free stuff, you know (Hi there, Old Navy Jeans! You still suck!). I’m saying it because it really is lovely.

I first encountered Ms. de los Santos’s writing when I picked up her book Love Walked In off one of those tables at the megabookstore with the “buy 2 paperbacks for the price of 3″ signs or whatever. I don’t think I’ve ever hidden the fact that I am a sucker for an attractive book cover despite all proverbial advice not to choose one’s reading material (or anything else) that way, and the cover for Love Walked In spoke to me. Anyway, I ended up loving the book and was so pleased to learn that de los Santos was building further upon those characters with Belong to Me.

Reading Belong to Me is like walking around with one of those geared-towards-children “READING IS FUN!” posters pinned to your back. That’s what it is: pure, unadulterated fun. It is a 390-page reminder of why I love to read. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me roll my eyes at the questionable realism, it made me snort, it made me nod my head in agreement, and it made me want to jump into the pages and hang out with most of the characters and then it made me want to jump out of the pages and hang out with the author. I mean, sure, we read books sometimes because we want to be moved at our very core or because we want to feel intellectual or because we want to learn or because it won a Pulitzer or a Booker Prize or whatever. But sometimes we read to be entertained. Belong to Me does just that - and the best thing about it is that it does that without being too embarrassingly vapid or chick lit-ish.

It doesn’t hurt that I want to be friends with Cornelia Brown, the main character, either, despite the fact that she describes herself as weighing about the same as “your average sack of groceries” (I tend to resent thin people). I can get past that - easily - with her description of her first suburban dinner party:

“It was a pastel-colored prairie of linen pants and sleeveless tops, stretching in every direction as far as the eye could see. I stood on its edge and felt myself in my dress turning - subtly, like an early-autumn leaf or a days-old open bottle of red wine - from easy and elegant to overreaching and tarty.”

And then, later, as she so appropriately describes the way I feel at most events involving my in-laws:

“‘I’m good at dinner parties!’ I wanted to shout. ‘Dinner parties are my natural habitat! I am appropriately dressed and good at dinner parties!’”

Cornelia, honey, you’re not alone.

I don’t want to ruin the book for you by telling you much more, since I suck at keeping secrets and will inevitably overshare too much of the plot, but you should definitely read this. Set down War & Peace for a little bit and settle in for some scrumptiosity (a word, I promise!). And Ms. de los Santos, if you’re anything like Cornelia or Clare or any of your other characters (hell, even Piper-like-viper-but-with-a-p) and you’re up for a chat over too much wine, I’d be honored to join you. I can’t wait for your next book to come out.
Profile Image for Robyn.
295 reviews6 followers
July 3, 2008
*sigh* finally finished it!! This book was a selection for my non-GR bookclub and not my choice. I'm not going to describe the story line because I suck at that so all you are getting, as usual, is my opinion.

The first half is difficult to read. The author loves to embellish everything. Paragraph upon paragraph of description of something that is not even that important to the storyline. I'd say she spends the first half of the book just describing the characters. I put the book down about halfway through, because I was not enjoying, and picked up something else. Since it is for my book club I tried again after I read a more leisurely book.

Once I started again, it finally got a little more interesting. There was more actuall conversation between characters and a little less description. I still found myself skipping paragraphs when the author went on another unnecessary descriptive tangent.

The story, once you found it was nice enough. VERY sad through-out the book, a lot of death talk with I could do with out. Though when it comes down to it she could have completely eliminated one set of characters and made the book a lot more enjoyable to read, at least for me.
Profile Image for smetchie.
143 reviews92 followers
February 23, 2012
3 stars? 4 stars? I'm not sure. Some of the writing is terrific. I mean really stop-you-in-your-tracks wonderful. Many lines struck me as so lovely I had to read them over and over.

And yet I'm just not sure how I felt about it overall.

The story is told in 3 different voices and I don't like that. Cornelia, a woman who has just moved from NYC to the suburbs, Piper, a woman of roughly the same age who lives in the neighborhood Cornelia moves to, and Deveraux, a 13-year-old genius boy who moves to the same town from California with his single mom. (those are some names, huh?) Cornelia's voice, for no apparent reason, is in the first person. I suppose she's supposed to be the protagonist but we aren't treated to more of her intimate thoughts than the other voices, nor did I relate to her perspective any better. If anything, the first person voice is the least honest and intimate of the three. So maybe I don't understand the point of writing in first person. Perhaps there was some reason that went over my head. Or else maybe the author was just having trouble separating the 2 female perspectives. If it was the latter, I think she should have just scrapped the idea.

There is some serious woman-on-woman meanness in this book and, as a rule, that pisses me off. It perpetuates the notion that women are awful to each other. (You may say that's true and literature merely reflects it. But that doesn't mean I have to like it.) By the end you get to know the women better and understand why they're so catty. Sort of. Not really. You grow to like them in spite of their shitty behavior, let's say. A little. OK I didn't grow to like them but I think I was supposed to.

One of the subplots is a young mother of two who's dying of cancer. Some of those chapters I skimmed over, peeking out between my fingers, singing "La La La I Can't Hear You" in my head. Partly because I didn't want to cry on an airplane, which is where I read it, but mostly because it was just too close to home and I'm more of a head-in-the-sand type when it comes to horrible things I can't control.

It was a page-turner for sure. The story is compelling as hell and takes some very interesting twists and turns. Unfortunately,

Jesus. Where am I going with this!?I only finished it late last night so maybe I'll come back in a week and adjust my rating.

I'm back already. Four stars. Definitely. I don't need a week. I think the fact that those things up there made me mad just proves that I cared and was invested and really liked it.
Profile Image for Julie-Ann.
151 reviews3 followers
May 8, 2008
A great follow-up to "Love Walked In"... your favorite characters plus new ones to fall in love with! I just love De Los Santos's style of writing, it sucks me right in and I want to be friends with her characters. :)
Profile Image for Kim.
286 reviews777 followers
June 4, 2009
What a sweet story... really, with nice poetic references and beautiful, loving people that don't exist anywhere but in books like this. So, yeah... of course, I hate them.. Mostly because I'm that woman... the urbanite who moved to the suburbs and I'm that woman longing for the security blanket that is estrogen-induced friendship. Of course I didn't have the hot doctor husband and the financial security and BA in Art History, But, you know... those are really just the perks of the story, not the meat... Anyway, lord knows I tried to (look for that bond, that is...stay with me, folks) but the women in my suburban setting do not quote from Cukor's The Women. (Or Hell, let's be real, the new version coming out will suffice.) They aren't interested in new relationships and they most certainly do not hold dinner parties... or, at least, none that I know of. So, forgive me if I snub my nose at this wispy Winona Ryder-esque Cornelia character (and I do that with the utmost respect to de los Santos as I really did like this book) because she achieves what I'm still waiting for 5 years out.
I have to admit that this would make a great chick flick. I envision Nora Ephron and see an all star cast of Daniel Craig, Kiera Knightly, Kelly Ripa's husband (can he act? It doesn't matter.) and yes, maybe they CAN dig up Winona... I can't imagine that she's busy... Maybe they can get those Twilight kiddos to play the wise -beyond-their-years-14 year olds. I envision some great movie tie-ins from Corningware and Roche Pharmeceuticals...

I just re-read that and it sounds like I hated the book, I really didn't. Chock me up as bitter... And if you showed up at my door with a plate of cookies, I wouldn't necessarily turn you away, Winona.. honest.
Profile Image for Greta Samuelson.
393 reviews56 followers
March 18, 2023
Update -1 year later
Yesterday (3/17/23)a friend brought this book back to my “little library” at work. Today (3/18/23), it popped up on my FB memories.
It really was a good one!

My original review:
I bought this from a used bookstore a few years ago and it sat on the shelf watching me pick other books in front of it so many times.
I guess I thought it was going to be chick lit, predictable and superficial. Nope.

“But I’ve found that if you insist on it together, goodwill comes. I’ve found that love can be a decision. Forgiveness, too.”

Holy cow did Marisa De Los Santos show me how wrong I was to judge a book by its cover. This story is about a collection of families in the suburbs but it is so well done. The different, but still connected story lines, the alternating points of view in each chapter, the depth of Dev… oh Dev! what an incredible kid.

This books blows Little Fires Everywhere out of the water.
Profile Image for Patricia.
524 reviews98 followers
November 6, 2017
I fell in love with BELONG TO ME. This novel is so beautifully written, and the character are so wonderfully described I felt I knew them. Only after I finished reading did I discover that the author's previous novel, LOVE WALKED IN, included a few of the same characters, and I'm now looking for a copy.

This novel contained quite a few memorable lines. The book was about family, friendship, lying to protect others - so many different things. I really hated when BELONG TO ME ended. I would not consider this chick lit, and I highly recommend it. I shall be looking forward to the next book written by Marisa de los Santos. I received this book for my honest review.
Profile Image for Adira.
418 reviews235 followers
August 26, 2017
Whenever I read one of Marisa de los Santos' novels, I just want to reach out and shake her and ask her, "WHY ARE YOU NOT WRITING POETRY ALREADY?!?" since de los Santos' writing style is flowery and drawn out. Her novels are filled with situations that should only take a few pages to write, but the author frequently takes her sweet time just describing situations that her characters get into or the characters' thought process to the readers often times wasting time to stop and explain some random detail that pops into the character's head at random.

Belong to Me is a much better novel than the first novel in the author's Cornelia Brown series, which is Love Walked In. Belong To Me had the makings of an intriguing novel thanks to there being long lost lovers, children who needed to have their paternity tested, love triangles, and newlyweds celebrating the arrival of their first child. Yet, de los Santos had her main character, Cornelia wax poetic one too many times for my taste causing the story to go from 5 stars down to 3.5/4 stars.

Cornelia's character is a serious motormouth. She frequently speaks in a contrived way that makes you want to infiltrate the novel and have a one on one talk with her explaining how in the real world, NOBODY else would tolerate flowery dialogues because normal people will cut you off two minutes into your monologue about your loving of random pasta dishes. Not to mention this character is beyond nice in an irritating way that makes you feel interchangeably bad for her when others tell her off and slightly gleeful that someone actually said the things you were thinking about her.

The pacing of this novel is a tad too slow and a good 100 pages could have been trimmed off the novel's framework, but as a whole, the novel is definitely worth reading. Nevertheless, I would caution readers to have extreme patience with Cornelia.
Profile Image for Howard.
1,121 reviews68 followers
February 13, 2020
2.75 Stars for Belong to Me (audiobook) by Marisa de los Santos read by Julia Gibson. I don’t think I’m the target audience for this book. I just couldn’t connect with any of the characters.
799 reviews137 followers
September 21, 2008
I had bought both books together not knowing much about them, I didn't even realize they were connected (was actually afraid I had bought a collection of poetry by mistake) so I am happy I read them in the right order. This sequel is better than the first in a lot of ways - the characters have more edge, the plot is less predictable. While the premise (city girl moves to suburbs, insert cliched snarky lines about soccer moms in their SUVS baking muffins for the new neighbor while gossiping about her behind her back) is not in any way original, it was nice to at least meet some mean people in de los Santos' Sweet Valley world. However, this was another case of overblown characters (villains and heroes well defined) and what really annoyed me was her perpetuating her own weakness, as in, heroine is looking forward to an evening with a friend, but hastens to add, dont get me wrong, I love my husband with all my heart and soul and cherish every moment with him, I just needed some girl time. It's ok, Marisa, we weren't about to call in a relationship specialist or lose starry eyed love for your perfect man and woman with their perfect marriage (as is affirmed by every character who meets them) - in fact, not only is it normal for her to disentangle herself from her unbelievably (you got that right) good looking husband, but it would actually be refreshing if they existed in any mode other than inhumanly perfect - and while they do hit a rather large bump, it's still encased in plastic for the most part and seems removed from reality.
However, while the junior high maturity factor of every good character going to an ivy league while bad characters do not and all that was super irritating, I STILL really enjoyed reading it for its well paced and high quality talent as far as overall narrative and dialogue goes. In this book she does pull a lot of that Piccoult stuff that I cannot stand, setting the scene up to end with that perfect last line or clincher moment or whatever, but if you can roll your eyes past it it's a very enjoyable Shabbos afternoon read.
Profile Image for Sharon.
969 reviews187 followers
September 27, 2013
Cornelia Brown and her husband Teo have been married for two years and decide they've had enough of city life. They find a a house in the suburbs in a nice neighbourhood.
Cornelia meets Piper Truitt who lives in the street. Piper is exactly the kind of person Cornelia was worried about meeting. Piper is a very picky type of person and is one for perfection and very judgemental.
Cornelia also meets Lake and her son Dev. Lake is a single mother who works as a waitress in a local restaurant and she and Cornelia become instant friends.
It doesn't take long to discover that even in the suburbs people have serious problems or their own.
And in time Cornelia and Teo will find ways to help those in need.

It took awhile for me to get into this book and I found it a bit slow in the beginning. By the time I got half way through it I started to enjoy it and thought there were some funny characters and touching moments.
Profile Image for Whitney.
46 reviews4 followers
April 18, 2008
Loved, loved, loved, loved, loved LOVED this book. It was the kind of book that I would think about all day... dying to get home and pick it up again. I even started bringing it on my lunch break and reading it in the park-- I couldnt get enough! I can't remember the last book I read that I became so obsessed with.

You have to read Love Walked In before you read this one in order to truly fall head over heels in love with Teo, Cornelia, and Clare... and then in Belong to me you will fall MORE in love with them along with Dev and Piper.

This author is amazing (maybe the best I have ever read) at character development... I truly felt like I knew everyone one of these characters, and have found myslef talking about them like they are real people.

I am a bit worried for the movie of Love Walked In to come out, just because I feel like if they don't cast it properly, it will never come close to comparing to the book (it probably wont anyhow) But if it is good... they will HAVE to make this book into movie too!
Profile Image for Heather.
Author 1 book4 followers
April 18, 2017
I wasn't sure if I could make it all the way through this book. I remember really enjoying Love Walked In (of which this is the sequel), but I had to slog through this one and I skimmed the last 25% of it. I liked the story, but kept getting thrown out of it by all the purple prose. Some of the sentences were so long and flowery, that I couldn't remember what she was taking about by the time I got to the end. There's a time for beautiful descriptions of things and there's a time to just say what you mean.
Profile Image for Anne.
400 reviews
February 6, 2013
A devoted city dweller, Cornelia Brown surprised no one more than herself when she was gripped by the sudden, inescapable desire to leave urban life behind and head for an idyllic suburb. Though she knows she and her beloved husband, Teo, have made the right move, she approaches her new life with trepidation and struggles to forge friendships in her new home. Cornelia's mettle is quickly tested by judgmental neighbor Piper Truitt. Perfectly manicured, impeccably dressed, and possessing impossible standards, Piper is the embodiment of everything Cornelia feared she would find in suburbia. A saving grace soon appears in the form of Lake. Over a shared love of literature and old movies, Cornelia develops an instant bond with this warm yet elusive woman who has also recently arrived in town, ostensibly to send her perceptive and brilliant son, Dev, to a school for the gifted.

I'll remember this book as the one that made me lose interest in chicklit, which I have loved up to this point. After slogging through de los Santos's 390-page turkey, I am heartily sick of the predictable secrets, clunky dialogue and idealized men that populate this genre. It was like skidding the surface and I don't want that in a book (especially not one of this size!). I want to feel the agony and ecstasy of the characters, lose myself in their stories and feel like I've learned something meaningful about relationships. You can argue that this isn't the point of chicklit and you may be right, but if every single character drives you nuts and you find yourself rolling your eyes or wincing at the descriptions and dialogue, you know you've hit the B-list and it's time to take a break. If you're going to indulge in dessert, make it satisfying dark chocolate like Emily Giffin or Sophie Kinsella. Don't waste your time on a box of Ding-Dongs like this.
Profile Image for Valerie.
155 reviews73 followers
November 5, 2008
Belong to Me is the ultimate chick lit book, and as a bonus it's really well-written. I fell right into the story, and although I read the novel that preceded it (Love Walked In) I don't think it's absolutely necessary - a reader new to Marisa de los Santos could follow this novel just fine.

Back to the chick-lit categorization: it's just so girly. I can get into a girly book as well as the next girl, but I don't think this was written with men in mind (unless the men in question were the type that love the movies "Fried Green Tomatoes", "Beaches", and "Steel Magnolias".

The women in the book are strong characters, and the novel revolves around three: Cornelia, Lake, and Piper. Each has chapters told from their own point of view, but as their lives intersect the chapters also become more intertwined. Plot twists and surprises ensue.

I think that people that like Jennifer Weiner's novels would also like this book. I'm a fan of both. I'm somewhat surprised that this book isn't a title in Oprah's book club.

Take that comment as you will.*

*Disclaimer: there are some damn good books on that club list!
Profile Image for Lori Elliott (catching up).
724 reviews1,764 followers
March 3, 2013
I didn't hate this or love it... just kinda 'ho-hum'!!! I felt like the author was trying too hard to be profound in the characters thoughts and conversations... it just seemed really wordie to me!!!
Profile Image for Diane Chamberlain.
Author 60 books12.7k followers
May 18, 2009
I liked this sequel even more than the first, Love Walked In. de los Santos has a gift and I'm so glad she's sharing it with us!
Profile Image for melanie (lit*chick).
330 reviews37 followers
April 16, 2008
Utterly readable, even if you haven't read Love Walked In, this story stands alone. The author (a poet) has a lovely fluid style. She makes the reader privy to all of the private thoughts (and this is a VERY thoughtful bunch) and weaves it all together with just enough history and background that the story makes sense. And I especially enjoyed how it explored women's friendships - the work it takes to make friends in adulthood. So often characters are "lifelong" friends or fall easily into friendship. Not here, and it was refreshing.
My only complaint was the 14 year old characters seemed so much more mature than their years, it was almost unbelievable.
But this is a great springtime read. It is a deep book masquerading as something lighter.
Profile Image for MP.
101 reviews11 followers
June 16, 2008
You know when you read a book about women that are friends..and these friends just all fit together in a perfect little group, well this isn't about those storybook friends. This book is about real people. The snob..free spirit..cancer patient..but you learn that really isn't who they are, there is much more to them and you realize how they can be friends..I'm 1/4 way into the book and I think I love these people more than most characters I've ever read. Marisa de los Santos writing is so fluid. I can't wait to read more!
Profile Image for Kathryn.
1,452 reviews235 followers
December 25, 2017
At first I was resentful towards all the new characters in the story of Teo and Cornelia and Clare and then... I was hooked and I didn't want to leave them. Really enjoyed the read.
568 reviews
August 17, 2020
I love when a main character of an adult novel is a teen. This book grabbed me from the beginning and held some surprises I didn't see coming. Great read. I didn't want It to end.
Profile Image for Tiffany.
146 reviews2 followers
June 17, 2019
I liked the first book in this series more. A lot of the story line revolved around a new neighbor and her life and not as much about the characters from the first book. It was a bit slow for me. Although I'm glad I read it because there is some important character development included. I'm excited to read the 3rd book and see what happens to all the characters.
Profile Image for Karma Hope.
574 reviews6 followers
September 1, 2017
I LOVED this book! In many ways the plot was unoriginal - finding your true self by not being afraid to deviate from social norms and expectations, women learning to get past stupid assumptions and biases, etc. Sometimes the writing verged on arrogant; either over simplifying the complex or alternately making the simple complex. BUT, then she would put words to a feeling or thought that I didn't even realize I felt or had thought! Her descriptions of motherhood were so beautiful and stunningly true! Just when you thought one of the characters was a little too perfect; she would write the most articulate, ultimately human and deeply moving scene that left me almost breathless in it's accuracy. The writing was wonderful; not in the lyrical, traditional sense(although that was sometimes true too) necessarily but because she said things exactly the way we think and say them. I was alternately sobbing uncontrollably, laughing out loud, or feeling stunned by her ability to articulate perfectly the way it feels to hold my children right after they get out of the bathtub! It is definitely a woman's book but I think many men would still enjoy it because it is such a wonderfully sincere narrative about life. Her journey along death, the grieving process and how we move on was probably the best I have ever read! You love the characters intensely and I feel sure I am going to miss several of them for the next week or two!
Profile Image for Patty.
2,300 reviews100 followers
March 24, 2013
This is the second book I have read by Marisa de los Santos in less than six months. The only problem with this is that she has only written one other novel. I might have to save it for a special occasion.

As I noted with Falling Together, de los Santos writes about people that I would like to spend time with. They lead interesting lives and have a good sense of humor. They don't take themselves too seriously and it turns out that they make good friends. Because it is fiction, there are plenty of crises for them to survive, but of course they do and de los Santos makes it all seem possible.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes stories about contemporary events, to people who like to read for the sake of reading and to folks who want to escape their lives for awhile and live in someone else's life.
Profile Image for Julie.
798 reviews18 followers
April 24, 2008
Cornelia, Teo, and Clare from Love Walked In return along with some other lovable (Dev) and questionable (Piper) characters, all of whose lives intersect in a most satisfying way.

In chapter 2, I was afraid this would be a common housewife story. By chapter 3, I liked the book. By chapter 9, I was in love with the story! And by chapter 15 I was up 2 hours past my bedtime trying to get to the end!

Another really good story with well-developed characters from Marisa de los Santos. (and already at #5 on the bestseller list in its first week!)
274 reviews
June 14, 2019
3.5 I liked this more than the first, although it was slow at the beginning and am looking forward to the third book. I loved the character growth, honesty, different story lines, and humor. Aiden had me laughing out loud! I listened to the audiobook and it was very good.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,769 reviews

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