Charismatic language and a compelling Philadelphia setting are two of the delights of this joyously real novel. Loosely based on The Philadelphia Story, de los Santos' version updates the classic plot for contemporary readers.

Cornelia Brown manages a coffee shop and thinks about classic movies while waiting for her real life to begin. In typical film-romance fashion, Cornelia's world takes a sharp turn when a man walks into her coffee shop and her life, changing everything. From there, the plot unspools in fresh and unexpected ways, particularly when the large problems of a little girl are spliced into the story.

Constructed with a loving touch that doesn't feel deliberate so much as exactly right, this novel will make readers believe in love in all its permutations. Cornelia describes the young girl, Clare, as "brave and loving and smart and full of hope." Those words also describe this novel. (Jan., 320 pp., $23.95)
Reviewed by: 
Cindy Harrison