“The Precious One”


Marisa de los Santos’ newest book “The Precious One” is a family drama with an interesting twist.  Wilson Cleary is the head of the Cleary clan.  He is a professor, self-made millionaire, brilliant man, but a “jerk” as described by his daughter Eustacia, Taisy.

The description of Wilson as a jerk is an apt one.  9780061670893_p0_v2_s114x166An imperious, haughty philanderer, Wilson leaves his wife and twin children, for a much younger woman who is pregnant with his child.  He rejects his first family and basically throws his 17 year-old twins and his wife out of his home.

The author’s characterization of Wilson is what makes the first half of this book strong and compelling.  When he suffers a heart attack, he reaches out to Taisy.  Her brother Marcus calls her a fool for even considering a visit.  It has been many years since she has seen him, and her curiosity wins out.  The purpose of the visit is not what Taisy envisions.  Wilson wants her to write his biography, a record of his vast achievements.  Taisy is by profession a ghost writer and half heartedly agrees wanting to know more about her father.  While staying at his guest house, she meets his “second” family.

At this point, the plot dissolves into a true soap opera.  Taisy begins to interact with Caro, the second wife, and Willow, the beloved second daughter.  With growing affection, she becomes involved in their lives and, of course, learns to love them.  Willow evolves from a brat into a wonderfully warm human being; from a friendless teenager to one who is eventually accepted by her peers and falls in love with one of the most popular boys in her school.  Taisy reconnects with the boy friend that Wilson forced her to reject.  And everyone lives happily, sort of, ever after.

Marisa de los Santos is a good writer.  Her prose is strong and descriptive.  The plot of “The Precious One,” however, is a little too  precious.

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