From Publishers Weekly
Philadelphia cafe manager Cornelia Brown drifts effortlessly through her unattached life, unapologetic for idealizing romance and breathlessly recommending The Philadelphia Story
—to the reader and everyone else. Eleven-year-old Clare is a child of divorce whose mother, a successful party planner, is quickly going to pieces. In alternating chapters of Cornelia's first person and Clare's free and direct third, poet de los Santos, making her novel debut, tells the story of their finding each other. That Cornelia, early on, immediately falls for Cary Grant doppelgänger Martin Grace is no surprise; his relation to Clare, revealed a third of the way in, isn't really either. As she discovers maternal instincts she wasn't sure she had, Cornelia works up the courage to face her own feelings for Clare with honesty. As Martin exits, Cornelia's childhood friend Teo enters, but neither makes much impact, and Clare's rather serious issues get reduced to Clare-did-this, Clare-thought-that episodes. The two main characters exist for one purpose: to enact a cross-generational, strong-but-vulnerable-and-loving, screenplay-ready femininity. Chick lit? You bet: with rights sold in at least eight countries, and, indeed, to Paramount—Sarah Jessica Parker will star and coproduce with Sideways
's Michael London. The book is fine, but for this property, it's a case of waiting for Carrie to walk in. (Jan.)
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Cornelia is a single thirtysomething who lives her life like a series of movie moments. She's a manager of a cafe because she hasn't figured out anything better to do. Her ideal man is Cary Grant. And just when she thinks he'll never show up, he does, in the form of Martin Grace. What she doesn't know is that Martin, with his cool charm and debonair demeanor, has a daughter, Clare. And she never would have known that except that Martin, in a state of panic, shows up with the girl at the cafe after her mother had a breakdown and left Clare to fend for herself. Estranged from his daughter for years, Martin doesn't know what to do with her. Both women's stories are told in alternating chapters, Cornelia's in first person, Clare's in third. This is a first novel with some wonderful and heartbreaking moments scattered throughout, along with some moments that are purely contrived for the forward movement of the plot. Overall, it is a sweet story about knowing what you love and why. Carolyn KubiszCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved