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Belong To Me    by Marisa de los Santos order for
Belong To Me
by Marisa de los Santos
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover, Audio, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Lori Waddington

Cornelia Brown and her husband Teo have been city dwellers for many years. When they decide to move to the suburbs, it is because of the wonderful family memories they have of growing up in suburbia, along with Cornelia's longing to be part of a 'community of women.' Unfortunately for Cornelia, this community is ruled by Piper Pruitt, who possesses 'the kind of bobbed, butter-blond flawlessness that proliferates among newscasters and sorority women.'

Piper's first meeting with Cornelia is to express her disappointment that Cornelia and Teo are childless, and at their second meeting, Piper is dismayed at the state of Cornelia's lawn. Needless to say, Cornelia's first impression of her new neighbor is not what she had hoped for. What she doesn't know is that Piper's well-ordered life is falling apart; her best friend is dying of cancer, and her husband is in love with someone else.

Luckily for Cornelia, when she meets Lake Tremain, the two women hit it off instantly. While Cornelia is thrilled that she has made a new friend, she soon becomes aware that Lake has her own set of secrets. Lake and her thirteen-year-old son Dev are also new to the neighborhood, supposedly there in order for the incredibly gifted Dev to attend a special school. But Dev knows that his mother is hiding something, and he becomes determined to find out the real reason for their move.

Marisa de los Santos does a wonderful job of weaving these intersecting stories together, with Cornelia serving as the central character. One of the highlights of Belong To Me is watching Piper evolve into a much softer person as she deals with the losses in her life. While I felt that this novel was a bit long, it really didn't matter; Belong To Me created a sense of belonging in me that made it hard to put down.

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