THE PRECIOUS ONE by Marisa de los Santos


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Half sisters who don’t really know each other are brought together by their emotionally domineering father for reasons of his own.

Inventor/professor/entrepreneur Wilson left his first wife and their adolescent twins, Taisy and Marcus, 17 years ago, and he hasn't seen them in 15 years, since the first birthday party for Willow, his daughter with his new, much younger wife, sculptor Caro. But when Wilson invites Taisy, now a successful ghostwriter in her 30s, to visit him after his heart surgery, she quickly agrees. As she travels, Taisy thinks about her high school boyfriend, Ben, and the way her father destroyed their relationship. What a coincidence that Ben turns up back in town, too. Realizing that her father wants her to ghostwrite his biography, Taisy decides to learn his real story. For all his genius, Wilson has warped almost all the lives he’s touched. As Taisy starts her research, she also begins to re-establish a relationship with the unbelievably sensitive Ben as if neither has changed in almost two decades. Meanwhile, Willow—who considers herself Wilson’s “true daughter”—is struggling. Despite appearing tall, beautiful and collected, she's intimidated by her older sister’s visit. She's also judgmental, assuming Taisy did something horrific to alienate their father, who's shown his younger daughter nothing but affection. And she's having difficulty adjusting to the private high school she’s begun attending while Wilson recuperates. Home-schooled by Wilson through her entire childhood, Willow has little experience of peer friendship or the outside world in general. Soon she has a dangerous crush on her English teacher, but waiting in the wings is a high school boy almost as perfect for her as Ben is for Taisy.

Despite intellectual pretentions, including lots of references to Middlemarch, de los Santos (Falling Together, 2011, etc.) offers a comfort-food story in which men are either predators or perfect and women are both beautiful and brilliant.

Pub Date: March 24th, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-06-167089-3
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2015


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