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Once Upon a Sunset

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  347 ratings  ·  143 reviews
The author of The Key to Happily Ever After—“a true gem filled with heart, laughs, and a cast of delightful characters” (Nina Bocci, USA TODAY bestselling author)—returns with a heartwarming and charming novel about a woman who travels to the Philippines to reconnect with her long-lost family…and manages to find herself along the way.

Diana Gallagher-Cary is at a tipping p
Paperback, 352 pages
Published March 3rd 2020 by Gallery Books
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Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  347 ratings  ·  143 reviews

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Nilufer Ozmekik
Feb 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Oh No! I already plan to run for prime ministry of Switzerland ( I already memorized its National Anthem) Why I stuck with three starred, off shore land books! WHYYYY!!!

Let's just we have another say feel-good, soft, heartfelt mother-daughter, grief, self-discovery story but also Switzerland read for me! I didn’t adore it but I didn’t hate it at all because it’s well written book with layered characterization and moving, tear-jerking story.

Diana (daughter) is an OB/GYN at the hospital, ends her
Mar 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Tif Marcelo, the author of ‘The Key to Happily Ever After’ returns with a heartwarming and charming novel about Diana, an OB/GYN physician whose life is disrupted - first by a decision she made professionally against the hospital administration, then a recent break up from a long term boyfriend, her mother Margo moving in, then finally a recent shocking discovery of love letters found after her grandmother’s death.

The letters were from Antonio Cruz, her grandfather written in the 1940’s whom the
Katie B
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

I am always drawn to stories that revolve around family secrets. I think it's just this natural curiosity to see how a character, or in this case characters, will react after finding out some pretty shocking news. And what I enjoyed the most about this story was the author managed to bring something new to the table as it involved an interesting conflict between the mother and daughter.

Diana Gallagher-Cary is an OB/GYN at a hospital and one day at work she does what is best for her pati
Mar 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Although the book started strong for me, I lost interest halfway through. Also, I was expecting more romance and less family drama, so I felt let down about that.

Thank you so much to Netgalley for the arc in exchange for an honest review.
Sherwood Smith
A lovely, vivid, insightful read that focuses on Filipino-American characters. I don't think I've ever read any fiction that focuses on Filipino characters, only history.

Diana and her mother Margo are very different people, now living together after the death of Margo's mother and Diana's grandmother. Margo is an artist, and seems to drift through life always looking for art, which drives focused, disciplined Diana crazy.

So Margo is recovering from her mother's death while Diana is dealing with
The Lit Bitch
Mar 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

I read Tif Marcelo for the first time last year, The Key to Happily Ever After, and thought it was super fun and a very satisfying read! I was obviously eager to get my hands on her latest release to see if the magic continued going strong!

I was especially eager to ‘travel’ to an exotic location in this one. The author is Pilipino and since this book is set in the Philippines, I thought her culture and experiences would really shine in this book.

I also really liked the idea of a closely
Camille Pagán
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love books about women who face life’s challenges head-on and come out stronger for it. Tif Marcelo’s latest, about a mother and her adult daughter who travel to the Philippines to uncover the truth about their family history, contains romance, self-discovery, and even a bit of mystery—basically everything I want in a thought-provoking page-turner. Bonus: I finished it with tears in my eyes—my favorite way to end a story! Tif Marcelo is quickly becoming one of my must-read authors.
✨Emily | Procrastinating • Bibliophile
What can I say but this once hit me in the heart and left me to wallow in my emotions. The story was not just about romantic love but familial love, and as a Filipino, the representation made the story that much more impactful to me. I was not prepared for the heavy/sad undertones in the second half of this book, and my heart was breaking and being remade from the blossoming relationships to the heartbreaking revelations. Definitely one of my favourites this year.
Read In Colour
Mar 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved Tif Marcelo's The Key to Happily Ever After, so downloading her latest, Once Upon a Sunset, was a no brainer. As she did with The Key (whose character's business gets a brief mention in Once), she delivers smart female characters her readers have come to know and love.

I love historical fiction and I love a good HEA and Marcelo manages to blend both of these genres flawlessly. Told through present day encounters and a series of letters exchanged by her grandparents, Once Upon a Sunset tak
Mar 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gr-giveaways, arc
⭐⭐⭐⭐ Once Upon a Sunset has mystery, romance, family drama, plus a dash of historical fiction all weaved together into a compelling and heartwarming story. I personally loved the social media references, and I thought the dynamic between Diana and her love interest was especially brilliant.👌
Amy Impellizzeri
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A richly drawn and poignant tale of finding yourself in unexpected places and connecting with the unlikeliest of allies.

Mother and daughter, Margo & Diana, could not be more different. But when life throws them a curve ball (or two!) they end up on a trip together to the Philippines to get to the bottom of a long-held family secret. It is in Manila that they find themselves asking the same questions for once: “When is it time to take life’s biggest risks, and when is it time to let go?”
Jul 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, arc
Diana Gallagher-Cary is going through a transition. She’s just been asked to take a leave of absence after making a split-second decision to rearrange laboring mothers in birthing rooms at the hospital where she works as an OBGYN. In her mind she was taking care of a suffering patient, regardless of cost or insurance coverage—unfortunately, the administrators at her hospital don’t see it that way.

To make matters worse, Diana’s long-time boyfriend has just moved out…and her mother has moved in. W
While I didn’t 100% fall in love with this story the way I’d been hoping to, it was still a good read. It’s got a compelling premise, and a lot of heart, and so many elements of Diana’s trip to the PI and her experience with her extended family were relatable.
Camille Oquendo
I’ve been slowly trying to read more works by Filipino authors. Tif Marcelo is a new to me author whom I stumbled upon while on Goodreads and Netgalley. While reading the synopsis for Once Upon A Sunset, I knew this book was something that I definitely wanted to read.

Told in dual POV interspersed with corresponding letters between Diana’s grandfather and grandmother during WWII, this is a story of self-discovery, uncovering family secrets and learning about your roots. What happens when everythi
Aug 21, 2020 rated it did not like it
DNF’ed it pretty late into the book
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a super cute story!!!

Initially, I was thinking this was going to be a romance but it was more a family story which I loved!

I loved how the author ties the story between a mother and a daughter. It was a nice to see a story involved in the hospital setting. I also really loved the Philippines setting in this one... which made the story at a faster paced for me :).

I was hoping to have a bit more romance in this one but overall, super sweet story!!

4 stars

Thank you so much to Netgalley an
Heartfelt and personal. This made me miss the Philippines so much.

Full review at maidamalby.com on release date 3-3-2020
Feb 19, 2020 rated it liked it

Once Upon a Sunset was a touching story of a mother, her daughter, and a family secret that changes the entire course of their lives. Tif Marcelo's fifth book takes us on a journey to the Philippines when Margo and Diana discover that their father and grandfather respectively didn't die in WWII as they were led to believe.

I love books that have a strong focus on family and family secrets, so I found myself being easily pulled into the story. It also helped that Tif Marcelo is a talented au
C.E. Hart
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was first introduced to Tif Marcelo’s writing earlier this year by her wonderful story of the de la Rosa sisters in The Key to Happily Ever After! So, when I received an ARC copy of her newest book (Release date: March 3, 2020) I couldn’t wait to begin reading!

Once Upon a Sunset is told from the perspectives of Margo and Diana. This dynamic mother daughter duo carries a complex yet dear authenticity. They reveal their strengths in nearly opposite ways, which causes a slight chasm in their rela
Christine (Queen of Books)
Thank you to Gallery Books and NetGalley for a free e-arc for review.

Once Upon a Sunset wasn't quite what I was expecting - based on the synopsis, I expected to follow Diana's journey, when i really think Margo is the heart of this book.

In part, I feel that way because Diana seemed pretty immature for an adult, let alone an almost 40-year-old. There's one scene in particular that had me wanting to throw my phone (e-reader) across the room, when she acts like a teenager. Truly, this book would ma
Orly Konig
A lovely, poignant story about family secrets, heartaches, forgiveness, and new beginnings.
Laura In  Literary Land
Mar 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
What an enjoyable read! Once Upon A Sunset was the perfect book world to escape into. I really enjoyed the development of Margo and Diana as individuals and also as mother and daughter. They have a very authentic push and pull, attraction and annoyance, love and exasperation in their relationship. The mystery of what actually happened to their father/grandfather definitely captured my interest and I enjoyed discovering the truth along with the characters. Once Upon A Sunset is a delightful celeb ...more
mindful.librarian ☀️
(free review copy) a highly enjoyable contemporary fiction story with historical fiction and light romance elements. I loved the travel and the Manila setting and the mother-daughter relationship! There were a few things that were glossed over a bit - I guess my only criticism would be that maybe it just did too many things, but not deep enough for many of them?? I love Marcelo’s last book and definitely enjoyed this one - can’t wait to read more from her!
Aug 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-book
So Good.

I loved the dual perspectives between mother and daughter.

The emphasis of the importance of family.

The History.

The Romance.

I cannot wait to read/ listen to Tif Marcelo's backlist title The Key to Happily Ever After and her 2021 release In a Book Club Far Away is also on my radar.
Susan Peterson
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was completely drawn into this poignant story of self-discovery, family secrets, forgiveness, and opening one’s heart up to the possibility of happily ever after. I fell in love with each of the characters, won over by their candor, their vulnerability, their courage, and their accepting hearts. The setting of the Philippines, with its unique culture, language, and history, added another layer to this enthralling story.
Mar 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020
I liked. the idea of this much more than the execution. In my head I kept comparing it to Next Year in Havana, and sorry, but the Cleeton book was just so much better. ...more
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: red-and-myn
Once Upon A Sunset
A few chapters in and I was hooked on the story and wanted to keep reading, this is a book where you're pulled into the "dark night of the soul".

"What would Leora do?"
That's what started it all and they ask themselves that question with hard decisions throughout the story.

It shows the perspective of Diana (daughter) and Margo (mother). How they view the same situations, how and why they react differently to it.

Older people still have dreams and a life to live. If you're 75 year
J.M. Powers
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was thrilled to find out Tif Marcelo wrote a new book, Once Upon a Sunset. I first discovered this author when I read The Key to Happily Ever After and couldn’t wait to receive her newest creation through Net Galley.

Once Upon a Sunset is a story surrounding a mother, (Margo), and her grown daughter (Diana). Their relationship is close, yet becomes strained when they accidently discover family secrets. They each deal with this in opposite ways. Margo and Diana disagree on how to handle this new
Dec 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
After Diana has a tumultuous year with a bad breakup, home repairs and her mom moving in after carrying for her mother, Leora, and subsequent death and issue comes up at the hospital where she is an OB-GYN and she is forced to take a vacation. While her mom, Margo, is cleaning out Leora's home she finds letters from her father. Diana decides that now is a good time to go to the Philippines and find out what happened to her grandfather.

I thought it was a sweet story and I loved Margo. Diana seem
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Once Upon a Sunset by Tif Marcelo is a wonderfully heartwarming novel about family, love, acceptance, forgiveness, and finding yourself. This book also is about how your past (or finding out your true past) doesn’t define you.

Diana finds herself at a crossroads in her life when she is placed on leave from her job at a hospital in D.C. after a situation occurs while she is at work. With her job in question, her relationship ending, she and her mother, Margo, find letters from her grandfather, An
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Tif believes in and writes about heart-eyes romance, the strength of families, and the endurance of friendship. A veteran Army Nurse with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Public Administration, she is a craft enthusiast, food-lover and the occasional half-marathon runner. As a military spouse, she has moved nine times, and this adventure shows in some of her free-spirited character ...more

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