The Precious One
By Marisa de los Santos
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (December 1, 2015)
“With warmth, humor, and a light, sure touch, Marisa de los Santos tells a big-hearted story.”—Christina Baker Kline, author of the New York Times bestseller Orphan Train
In all her life, Eustacia “Taisy” Cleary has given her heart to only three men: her first love, Ben Ransom; her twin brother, Marcus; and Wilson Cleary—professor, inventor, philanderer, self-made millionaire, brilliant man, breathtaking jerk—her father.
Seventeen years ago, Wilson ditched his first family for Caroline, a beautiful young sculptor. In all that time, Taisy’s family has seen Wilson, Caroline, and their daughter, Willow, only once.
Why then, is Wilson calling Taisy now, inviting her for an extended visit, encouraging her to meet her pretty sister—a teenager who views her with jealousy, mistrust, and grudging admiration? Why, now, does Wilson want Taisy to help him write his memoir?
Told in alternating voices—Taisy’s strong, unsparing observations and Willow’s naive, heartbreakingly earnest yearnings—The Precious One is an unforgettable novel of family secrets, lost love, and dangerous obsession, a captivating tale with the deep characterization, piercing emotional resonance, and heartfelt insight that are the hallmarks of Marisa de los Santos’s beloved works.
“Exceptionally well crafted.” —Publishers Weekly
“Don’t go thinking I wasn’t angry about all this. I was. In fact, I would say that I was at least as angry as Marcus, whose anger stayed red-hot for years before it cooled to something hard and shiny and black.”
“He went back to his work, leaving me feeling like I’d failed, mightily. I wasn’t sure what I had been tested on; but I knew in my bones that I had gotten a great, big, red ‘F’”.
“I stole a glance at Willow who had spent her life so cherished, so boxed up and restrained and watched over in her pretty, tiny, high-walled world. What would happen when she let her feelings loose upon that world? I imagined them running rampant, trampling the garden, jumping the walls or burning them to the ground. Heaven help you too, Willow, I thought.”
“High school girls made fascist dictators look like dewy-eyed cocker spaniels; everyone knew that.”
“Boys your age have terrible judgement and lack empathy. It is not their fault, necessarily; their frontal lobes are still developing and are connected to the rest of their brains by the flimsiest of circuitry.”
“Luka’s car is a health hazard, a science experiment, a graveyard for banana peels. It’s like the Amazon rain forest; anything could be in there.”
The Precious One is my first Marisa de los Santos read, but it certainly won’t be my last, as I am her newest fan-girl, despite it being far from my typical genre. Her writing was stellar, stunning, heart squeezing, and achingly clever. From her literary references and marvelous word choices, as well as the way she so casually selects and strings them together – it is obvious that she is nothing short of brilliant. I adore her humor, keen observations, wit and banter. The dual point of view of the half-sisters was genius and I thoroughly enjoyed how each personally evolved and carried the story line, as well as how they unraveled and exposed the mystery of their odious father. The plot and writing style were both exceptional and well-paced; full of metaphor, scenarios, humor, personal fantasies/anxieties, angst, resentment, intrigue, and dread. From one end of the emotional spectrum to the other, several times, in each chapter, and I couldn’t get enough.
A New York Times bestselling author and award-winning poet with a PhD in literature and creative writing, Marisa de los Santos lives in Wilmington, Delaware, with her family.
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