60-Second Critic: Love Walked In

Thirty-something Cornelia Brown dreams of life as Tracy Lord, romanced by Dexter Haven in The Philadelphia Story. Eleven-year-old Clare Hobbes imagines that she’s Anne Shirley, the orphan of Green Gables. In Love Walked In, the debut novel from Wilmington poet Marisa de los Santos, those two visions collide when Clare walks into Cornelia’s Philadelphia coffee shop. The plot here is a contrived love story, gussied up with black-and-white-movie references and Cary Grant look-alikes. But Cornelia and Clare cling to their illusions convincingly and, with each other’s gentle help, come to a realization about real life and real love naturally. Cornelia concludes: “ … a real life didn’t mean attaining my heart’s desire, but knowing it. … Knowing what you love and why, I found out, is as real as it gets.” Grade: B