Published by William Morrow ISBN 978006167091X
Trade paperback, $15.99, 384 pages
As Marisa de los Santos' The Precious One opens, Taisy Cleary receives a phone out of the blue from her estranged father Wilson, the man who left her mother, twin brother Marcus and her to marry a young sculptor. After not hearing from the man in ages, he calls her to inform her that he had a heart attack two weeks ago and summons her to his home to discuss an important matter.
Marcus tells Taisy she is crazy to go see the man, but Taisy cannot say no. When she arrives, she finds that her father- a brilliant professor, inventor and self-made millionaire- wants her to help him write his memoir. Or rather, he will dictate it to Taisy and she can interview the many people who think he is brilliant too.
Taisy says yes, even though she has to stay in the poolhouse. (You wouldn't expect her to be allowed to stay in her father's house with his wife and brilliant and beautiful golden child Willow, would you?)
The only thing Willow knows about her half sister is that Taisy committed some horrible act when she was a teenager that made Wilson infuriated and lose all respect for her. Now Taisy is in their lives and Willow feels she must protect her father from her.
The story is told from the alternating perspectives of Taisy and Willow. Taisy is curious about her father and his other family and slowly comes to care for Willow and her mother. Willow has been isolated from most other people, being homeschooled and smothered by her father's attention.
As Taisy and Willow get to know each other, they come to understand and even like each other. Taisy helps Willow join the outside world, teaching her the things she needs to know.
As I read this book, I felt like Taisy could be a character in an Adriana Trigiani novel. She is a hardworking woman with a good sense of humor, and an even more developed sense of right and wrong. There's even a crazy family dinner scene that reminded me of the Roncalli family ones from Trigiani's Valentine series.
The ladies in the book club all agreed that we liked Taisy, she might even make a great addition to our book club. Her growing affection for Willow and Willow's mother was touching and sweet. One of our members has twins, so she especially enjoyed the relationship between Taisy and Marcus.
We did not like Wilson, he was pompous and self-righteous, although Taisy's discovery of his past helped to mitigate that feeling somewhat (OK, just a little bit).
This was the first book I have read of de los Santos, and I would like to read more of them. I like her style of writing, and the way she was able to write in the voices of two distinct characters.
If you're looking for a good family story, The Precious One is an excellent choice.