Another recent read that I thought was awesome!
I loved last year’s THE KEY TO HAPPILY EVER AFTER, so I was excited to get to her 2020 release, ONCE UPON A SUNSET.
Marcelo really gets to the heart of complicated family emotions in these two books, but I loved how she interspersed her grandmother’s preWWII romance with an immigrant farmer and the letters the two exchanged after he enlisted with the contemporary storyline that has mother and daughter discovering they have a family they never knew about.
Of course Diana’s life is turned upside down because of these letters, since she and her mother had always been told that her grandfather had died in the war, so to come face to face with evidence to the contrary is an emotional bombshell, especially once Diana makes contact with her family and decides to visit them in the Philippines.
There are a lot of complicated histories and relationships to unravel in the eight decades since Diana’s grandmother started her romance and ultimately had to raise her daughter alone. Diana, too, is going through some tumultuous life changes and has to decide where her next path should lead.
Marcelo does a terrific job of navigating a complex story of a mother and daughter who are facing huge changes and yet gain a new family, new insights into what they value, and possibly new love lives.
I loved this book and can’t wait for Marcelo’s April 2021 release, IN A BOOK CLUB FAR AWAY.
(By the way, I listened to the audiobook of this and I thought the narrator, Joy Osmanski, was great! Very smooth and an excellent job differentiating among the many different characters.)
ONCE UPON A SUNSET
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 point. As a Washington, DC, OB/GYN at a prestigious hospital, she uses her career to distract herself from her grief over her granny’s death and her breakup from her long-term boyfriend after her free-spirited mother moves in with her. But when she makes a medical decision that disparages the hospital, she is forced to go on a short sabbatical.
Never one to wallow, Diana decides to use the break to put order in her life, when her mother, Margo, stumbles upon a box of letters from her grandfather, Antonio Cruz, to her grandmother from the 1940s. The two women always believed that Antonio died in World War II, but the letters reveal otherwise. When they learn that he lived through the war, and that they have surviving relatives in the Philippines, Diana becomes determined to connect with the family that she never knew existed, though Margo refuses to face her history. But Diana pushes on, and heads on a once-in-a-lifetime trip that challenges her identity, family history, and her idea of romantic love that could change her life forever.
Infused with Tif Marcelo’s signature “sexy, adorable, and heartfelt” (Kate Meader, USA TODAY bestselling author) voice, Once Upon a Sunset is a moving and lyrical celebration of love, family, and second chances.
(This review is part of Read-A-Romance Month. Hope you’ll come back every day to check out my book recommendations. You can find the calendar here. Also check out The Romance of Reading, a Facebook “book club” where we’ll have great authors guest hosting every week.)
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