Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner

Summary ~ Then Came You ~ Jules Strauss is a Princeton senior with a full scholarship, acquaintances instead of friends, and a family she’s ashamed to invite to Parents’ Weekend. With the income she’ll receive from donating her “pedigree” eggs, she believes she can save her father from addiction.
Annie Barrow married her high school sweetheart and became the mother to two boys. After years of staying at home and struggling to support four people on her husband’s salary, she thinks she’s found a way to recover a sense of purpose and bring in some extra cash.
India Bishop, thirty-eight (really forty-three), has changed everything about herself: her name, her face, her past. In New York City, she falls for a wealthy older man, Marcus Croft, and decides a baby will ensure a happy ending. When her attempts at pregnancy fail, she turns to technology, and Annie and Jules, to help make her dreams come true.
But each of their plans is thrown into disarray when Marcus’ daughter Bettina, intent on protecting her father, becomes convinced that his new wife is not what she seems…
With startling tenderness and laugh-out-loud humor, Jennifer Weiner once again takes readers into the heart of women’s lives in an unforgettable, timely tale that interweaves themes of class and entitlement, surrogacy and donorship, the rights of a parent and the measure of motherhood.

Usually it’s not a good idea to judge a book by its cover, but in the case of Jennifer Weiner’s new release Then Came You, the cover invites you into a wonderful story of four women who are bound together by decisions and wants.  It’s a gorgeous cover and I enjoyed picking the book up every time I went to read it.  The pages within the covers were filled with a story that brings the reader into the lives of four women.  Four very different women all bound together by a child.  I don’t want to say much more about the story than is listed above because I want you to read it and I don’t want to give anything more away.  I will say that I loved reading Then Came You and it quickly became one of my favorite Jennifer Weiner books and one of my favorite books I’ve read this year.  It’s not cheesy chic lit at all and Weiner takes care to create rich and deep back stories for each of her main characters.  I became invested emotionally in each woman and her story.  I liked the twists Weiner took with the story on a whole and never once rolled my eyes. 

I don’t want to lighten things by suggesting that this be a “beach read” this summer because I found myself reading an intricate book that is focused around the timely subject of surrogacy.  With surrogacy having its spotlight in the headlines and celebrity magazines in the last couple of years (Nicole Kidman, Sarah Jessica Parker to drop a couple of names) this was an interesting look into the people it takes to even get a surrogate pregnancy off the ground.  The money, donors and the “gestational host”.  Though Weiner’s book isn’t a heavy read like say a story by Picoult or Shreve, it still made me think about the people who find themselves and place themselves in that situation. 

All in all I loved this book and hope that even if you have never picked up a book by Jennifer Weiner that you will buy Then Came You this summer and find a good story in it.  I must also take this moment to recommend the two other books by Jennifer Weiner that I love.  First is her debut novel from 2001, Good In Bed.  The other is Little Earthquakes, a story that focuses on four women in a different stage of life than the ladies in Then Came You.

{Rating 5 out of 5} Available July 12th, 2011

I would like to thank Irina Binder with Engelman & Co. PR for sending me this beautiful book.  It was such a lovely surprise the day it arrived!  Thank you Irina!!

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Book Review ~ Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos

Summary ~ Belong to Meby Marisa de los Santos ~ Cornelia Brown surprised herself when she was gripped by the sudden, inescapable desire to move to the suburbs with her husband. Her mettle is quickly tested by her impeccably dressed, overly judgmental neighbor Piper Truitt—the embodiment of everything Cornelia feared she’d find in suburbia. With Lake, another recent arrival, Cornelia shares a love of literature and old movies—as she forms an instant bond with this warm yet elusive woman and her perceptive, brilliant young son Dev.
Acclaimed bestselling author Marisa de los Santos’s literary talents shine in the complex interactions she creates between three unforgettable women, deftly entangling her characters in a web of trust, betrayal, love, and loss that challenges them in ways they never imagined.

belong-to-me-large2I LOVED THIS BOOK!  I knew by the time I was half way through it that it was going to get a 5 out of 5 rating and that feeling continued on till the end.  If you were a fan of Desperate Housewives before it went over the edge into absolute absurdity, than Belong to Me will quench your bibliophile thirst perfectly.  Like when I read Elizabeth Noble’s The Reading Groupand Jennifer Weiner’s Little Earthquakes, I loved going “in for a visit” with the characters of Belong to Me and now that the last page has been read I miss them already. 

Now I haven’t read the prequel to this book, Love Walked In, but I didn’t feel that I was missing anything because of that.  Belong to Meis told from the point of view of three characters.  Cornelia, along with her husband Teo, is the newest member in a neighborhood just outside of Philadelphia.  Cornelia finds out that when you are the new kid on the block, it might be difficult to find your niche and fit in.  That is proved true by another neighbor and fellow narrator, Piper (nick named Viper by another character).  Piper is in total control of her life and surroundings, or so she thinks.  She discovers that her husband isn’t happy and spends a good portion of the book caring for her best friend, Elizabeth, who is dying from cancer.  The third narrator is Dev.  A fourteen year old boy who’s mother moved them across the country to this new area where they meet Cornelia, Teo and their pseudo-daughter, Clare.  Dev was a very interesting character with his scientific and poetry loving mind.  His story line is full of anxiety, mystery and discovery. 

I can’t even start to tell you my favorite parts of this book because the whole thing was so great.  If you want a juicy, drama filled, funny and fantastically written book to read, than I must recommend Belong to Me!

{Rating: 5 out of 5}