I ve been slowly trying to read works by Filipino authors Tif Marcelo is a new to me author whom I stumbled upon while on Goodreads and Netgalley While reading the synopsis for Once Upon A Sunset, I knew this book was something that I definitely wanted to read.Told in dual POV interspersed with corresponding letters between Diana s grandfather and grandmother during WWII, this is a story of self discovery, uncovering family secrets and learning about your roots What happens when everything you thought you knew turns out to be a lie Diana is the take charge, always has it together type, while her mother, Margo is a little bit carefree They re both coping in their own different ways after their grandma Leora s passing As they stumble upon old letters, it drives Diana to go back and find out the truth about her family And so starts her and her mother s quest to the Philippines.The inevitability of responsibility and the topic of caregiving hit close to home To name a few, I loved how the book tackled topics such as healthcare treatment, military relationships and the effects of war on said relationships, and IDENTITY What part of a person is Filipino American Which parts do we gain from our parents There were some gripes I had with the book I wasn t particular fond of the romance s as they felt bland and annoying and somewhat like instalove I felt like the story could ve done without it as I cared about the history of the family and the family interactions Some of the text dialogue felt a bit jarring as it seemed like parts of conversations were missing Maybe that was due to editing mishaps but it did affect my reading experience at times It s hard to explain without spoiling anything but I also felt like moments where certain interactions happened and how things unfolded between family members felt hard to believe.Overall, I liked the read And I really appreciated the story Marcelo put together Definitely relatable and definitely something I m sure a lot of people go through.Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for providing me an e ARC in exchange for an honest review. Although the book started strong for me, I lost interest halfway through Also, I was expecting romance and less family drama, so I felt let down about that.Thank you so much to Netgalley for the arc in exchange for an honest review. The Author Of The Key To Happily Ever Aftera 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 S 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 A lovely, vivid, insightful read that focuses on Filipino American characters I don t think I ve ever read any fiction that focuses on Filipino characters, only history.Diana and her mother Margo are very different people, now living together after the death of Margo s mother and Diana s grandmother Margo is an artist, and seems to drift through life always looking for art, which drives focused, disciplined Diana crazy.So Margo is recovering from her mother s death while Diana is dealing with divorce, and then a situation comes up at the clinic where she works as a doctor, delivering babies.While the two are dealing with the emotional fallout, and their lack of communication, a total bomb drops in their lives it turns out that Margo s father apparently didn t die in WW II he returned to the islands where he had another family.Further, Margo s mother knew it.And so begins a quest for Diana to find out about the roots she never knew she had, and Margo also goes Their adventures are interspersed with Antonio s letters, and then Leora s, adding poignancy to the present day story.Every twist was unexpected Marcelo creates characters with insightful details, breathing life into them with kindness and compassion Even the sharp moments are so beautifully realized.I couldn t put this book down.Copy provided by NetGalley I love books about women who face life s challenges head on and come out stronger for it Tif Marcelo s latest, about a mother and her adult daughter who travel to the Philippines to uncover the truth about their family history, contains romance, self discovery, and even a bit of mystery basically everything I want in a thought provoking page turner Bonus I finished it with tears in my eyes my favorite way to end a story Tif Marcelo is quickly becoming one of my must read authors. 4.5 starsI read Tif Marcelo for the first time last year, The Key to Happily Ever After, and thought it was super fun and a very satisfying read I was obviously eager to get my hands on her latest release to see if the magic continued going strong I was especially eager to travel to an exotic location in this one The author is Pilipino and since this book is set in the Philippines, I thought her culture and experiences would really shine in this book.I also really liked the idea of a closely guarded family secret that the main character embraces the adventure of those secrets so obviously this was a book I was really really looking forward to for early spring.This book is marketed as a mother daughter self discovery novel with romance In my opinion, I think there was less romance than I was expecting I mean I wasn t disappointed at all by that, but I did feel like it was mother daughter family history self discovery rather than romance The romance part played a minor roll for me.As with her previous novel that I read, I found Marcelo s writing skills superior and well crafted developed I loved how well she writes, the descriptions of the Philippines were captivating and interesting and the family secrets were riveting with little twists along the way The characters are colorful and vibrant I loved getting to know each of them and I especially liked Diana I know a lot of readers really enjoyed the free spirited mother Margo, but for me I connected with Diana.I think that Marcelo really captured the complicated relationship between mother and daughter so well and I think that many women will appreciate the complexity of the story and the realness of their dynamic.While I really loved this read I think the only thing I had hoped for was a little romance I get it, the romance wasn t the focus, but everything I saw highlighted that this was a romance mixed with mother daughter family secrets plot, so I was expecting romance I didn t care if the story didn t have the romance element but the fact that it was marketed as such implied there would be That s obviously not the author s fault perhaps the publisher was hoping to reach or appeal to a larger audience but either way if you are going into this one thinking it will be full of romance, it is not But you should still read it all the same because the story is well written and nuanced I loved the authenticity of this book, not just with the characters but with the setting Pick this one up if you love family secrets and the complexity between mothers and daughters See my full review here I loved Tif Marcelo s The Key to Happily Ever After, so downloading her latest, Once Upon a Sunset, was a no brainer As she did with The Key whose character s business gets a brief mention in Once , she delivers smart female characters her readers have come to know and love.I love historical fiction and I love a good HEA and Marcelo manages to blend both of these genres flawlessly Told through present day encounters and a series of letters exchanged by her grandparents, Once Upon a Sunset takes readers on a journey from Washington, DC to Philippines as the two protagonists learn about their family history, about their mother daughter relationship and, ultimately, about themselves.Once Upon a Sunset was a really solid read I really appreciate Tif Marcelo s characters and my introduction to the Filipino troops who served in WWII for the U.S It s one of those little known history facts that should be acknowledged and celebrated often. While I didn t 100% fall in love with this story the way I d been hoping to, it was still a good read It s got a compelling premise, and a lot of heart, and so many elements of Diana s trip to the PI and her experience with her extended family were relatable. Tif Marcelo, the author of The Key to Happily Ever After returns with a heartwarming and charming novel about Diana, an OB GYN physician whose life is disrupted first by a decision she made professionally against the hospital administration, then a recent break up from a long term boyfriend, her mother Margo moving in, then finally a recent shocking discovery of love letters found after her grandmother s death.The letters were from Antonio Cruz, her grandfather written in the 1940 s whom they were told had died during WWII however, the dates in those letters proved otherwise Taking a short sabbatical from the hospital, she travels to the Philippines to discover and learn about her living relatives In the journey to the islands, she discovers much than a new found family In Tif Marcelo s signature style incorporating the intricate relationships of family, relationships, food and love, I was transported not only in time of a long lost true love, but also to the bustling sights and sounds of Metro Manila and the beautiful sunsets I have longed for that brought me back to a simpler time Marcelo true to her medical background as a nurse and heritage, really delivered in this amazing book I thoroughly enjoyed.Part historical fiction and part literary and women s fiction, Marcelo delivered a highly personal story inspired by her own grandfather Also mentioned in this story were the Filipino Farm workers in Central California as well as the Fist and Second Filipino Infantry Regiments of the US Army. 3.5 starsI am always drawn to stories that revolve around family secrets I think it s just this natural curiosity to see how a character, or in this case characters, will react after finding out some pretty shocking news And what I enjoyed the most about this story was the author managed to bring something new to the table as it involved an interesting conflict between the mother and daughter.Diana Gallagher Cary is an OB GYN at a hospital and one day at work she does what is best for her patient but unfortunately it creates a bit of controversy Diana is forced to take some leave from the hospital Her maternal grandmother died recently, and Diana s mother, Margo, has moved in with her One day Margo finds some letters that were written in the 1940s by her grandfather, Antonio, to her grandmother They are shocked to discover that Antonio didn t die during World War 2 like they believed and apparently they have relatives in the Philippines Diana is eager to connect with these family members, but Margo isn t as interested into digging into the past.Diana and Margo were faced with a tough problem and it s one of those situations in which you can understand each person s point of view I get why Diana from the get go wanted to find out the truth about her family but at the same time it wasn t shocking that Margo would have a hard time emotionally processing this new revelation I had an interest in seeing how the conflict would play out I also liked how the Philippines was the setting for part of the story as it s not a country I often see featured in fiction books Overall, a good read and a book I recommend especially if you like stories that explore the family dynamics between a mother and daughter.I won a free copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway but I was not obligated to post a review All views expressed are my honest opinion.
Tif believes in and writes about heart eyes romance, the strength of families, and the endurance of friendship A veteran Army Nurse with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Public Administration, she is a craft enthusiast, food lover and the occasional half marathon runner As a military spouse, she has moved nine times, and this adventure shows in some of her free spirited
- 352 pages
- Once Upon a Sunset
- Tif Marcelo
- 22 June 2019 Tif Marcelo