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The author of The Key to Happily Ever After—“a true gem filled with heart, laughs, and a cast of delightful characters” (Nina Bocci, USA TODAY bestselling author)—returns with a heartwarming and charming novel about a woman who travels to the Philippines to reconnect with her long-lost family…and manages to find herself along the way. Diana Gallagher-Cary is at a tipping p The author of The Key to Happily Ever After—“a true gem filled with heart, laughs, and a cast of delightful characters” (Nina Bocci, USA TODAY bestselling author)—returns with a heartwarming and charming novel about a woman who travels to the Philippines to reconnect with her long-lost family…and manages to find herself along the way. Diana Gallagher-Cary is at a tipping point. As a Washington, DC, OB/GYN at a prestigious hospital, she uses her career to distract herself from her grief over her granny’s death and her breakup from her long-term boyfriend after her free-spirited mother moves in with her. But when she makes a medical decision that disparages the hospital, she is forced to go on a short sabbatical. Never one to wallow, Diana decides to use the break to put order in her life, when her mother, Margo, stumbles upon a box of letters from her grandfather, Antonio Cruz, to her grandmother from the 1940s. The two women always believed that Antonio died in World War II, but the letters reveal otherwise. When they learn that he lived through the war, and that they have surviving relatives in the Philippines, Diana becomes determined to connect with the family that she never knew existed, though Margo refuses to face her history. But Diana pushes on, and heads on a once-in-a-lifetime trip that challenges her identity, family history, and her idea of romantic love that could change her life forever. Infused with Tif Marcelo’s signature “sexy, adorable, and heartfelt” (Kate Meader, USA TODAY bestselling author) voice, Once Upon a Sunset is a moving and lyrical celebration of love, family, and second chances.


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The author of The Key to Happily Ever After—“a true gem filled with heart, laughs, and a cast of delightful characters” (Nina Bocci, USA TODAY bestselling author)—returns with a heartwarming and charming novel about a woman who travels to the Philippines to reconnect with her long-lost family…and manages to find herself along the way. Diana Gallagher-Cary is at a tipping p The author of The Key to Happily Ever After—“a true gem filled with heart, laughs, and a cast of delightful characters” (Nina Bocci, USA TODAY bestselling author)—returns with a heartwarming and charming novel about a woman who travels to the Philippines to reconnect with her long-lost family…and manages to find herself along the way. Diana Gallagher-Cary is at a tipping point. As a Washington, DC, OB/GYN at a prestigious hospital, she uses her career to distract herself from her grief over her granny’s death and her breakup from her long-term boyfriend after her free-spirited mother moves in with her. But when she makes a medical decision that disparages the hospital, she is forced to go on a short sabbatical. Never one to wallow, Diana decides to use the break to put order in her life, when her mother, Margo, stumbles upon a box of letters from her grandfather, Antonio Cruz, to her grandmother from the 1940s. The two women always believed that Antonio died in World War II, but the letters reveal otherwise. When they learn that he lived through the war, and that they have surviving relatives in the Philippines, Diana becomes determined to connect with the family that she never knew existed, though Margo refuses to face her history. But Diana pushes on, and heads on a once-in-a-lifetime trip that challenges her identity, family history, and her idea of romantic love that could change her life forever. Infused with Tif Marcelo’s signature “sexy, adorable, and heartfelt” (Kate Meader, USA TODAY bestselling author) voice, Once Upon a Sunset is a moving and lyrical celebration of love, family, and second chances.

30 review for Once Upon a Sunset

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Oh No! I already plan to run for prime ministry of Switzerland ( I already memorized its National Anthem) Why I stuck with three starred, off shore land books! WHYYYY!!! Let's just we have another say feel-good, soft, heartfelt mother-daughter, grief, self-discovery story but also Switzerland read for me! I didn’t adore it but I didn’t hate it at all because it’s well written book with layered characterization and moving, tear-jerking story. Diana (daughter) is an OB/GYN at the hospital, ends her Oh No! I already plan to run for prime ministry of Switzerland ( I already memorized its National Anthem) Why I stuck with three starred, off shore land books! WHYYYY!!! Let's just we have another say feel-good, soft, heartfelt mother-daughter, grief, self-discovery story but also Switzerland read for me! I didn’t adore it but I didn’t hate it at all because it’s well written book with layered characterization and moving, tear-jerking story. Diana (daughter) is an OB/GYN at the hospital, ends her long term relationship and one day unexpected things happen at the hospital result with her taking some leave. No job, no boyfriend and it gets worse when she hears her grandmother’s passing away because this also means her mom Margo will move to her house. As she tries to adapt with her new life, she finds a letter from 1940’s that belongs to her grandfather she thinks he has died at the Second World War. But she realizes he hasn’t died at that time and she has relatives at Philippines. Yes, so many revelations and life changing situations at the same time. And Diana sees that as an opportunity to experience new things about her life as her mother is reluctant to dig more about the past because the recent news about relatives is hard for her to adjust herself. Struggling but also heartwarming relationship parts about mother and daughter are good parts of the book but I think the Philippines setting fasten the pace and made the reading more intriguing for me. So why did I give 3 stars instead of four! I think after seeing the name of the book and the cover, I was ready to read something romantic but I got more family, facing the past and resolution story. Maybe this fact made me a little disappointed but it was still promising, soft and enjoyable read. I’d like to read more books of this author. Maybe I read so many amazing books lately and I became tougher grader so I started to give everything three stars including Uber driver's performances. I think they will boycott me sooner and I will start to walk. Special thanks to NetGalley and Gallery Pocket Books for sharing this feel-good ARC in exchange my honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nursebookie

    Tif Marcelo, the author of ‘The Key to Happily Ever After’ returns with a heartwarming and charming novel about Diana, an OB/GYN physician whose life is disrupted - first by a decision she made professionally against the hospital administration, then a recent break up from a long term boyfriend, her mother Margo moving in, then finally a recent shocking discovery of love letters found after her grandmother’s death. The letters were from Antonio Cruz, her grandfather written in the 1940’s whom the Tif Marcelo, the author of ‘The Key to Happily Ever After’ returns with a heartwarming and charming novel about Diana, an OB/GYN physician whose life is disrupted - first by a decision she made professionally against the hospital administration, then a recent break up from a long term boyfriend, her mother Margo moving in, then finally a recent shocking discovery of love letters found after her grandmother’s death. The letters were from Antonio Cruz, her grandfather written in the 1940’s whom they were told had died during WWII - however, the dates in those letters proved otherwise. Taking a short sabbatical from the hospital, she travels to the Philippines to discover and learn about her living relatives. In the journey to the islands, she discovers much more than a new found family... In Tif Marcelo’s signature style incorporating the intricate relationships of family, relationships, food and love, I was transported not only in time of a long lost true love, but also to the bustling sights and sounds of Metro Manila and the beautiful sunsets I have longed for that brought me back to a simpler time. Marcelo true to her medical background as a nurse and heritage, really delivered in this amazing book I thoroughly enjoyed. Part historical fiction and part literary and women’s fiction, Marcelo delivered a highly personal story inspired by her own grandfather. Also mentioned in this story were the Filipino Farm workers in Central California as well as the Fist and Second Filipino Infantry Regiments of the US Army.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Katie B

    3.5 stars I am always drawn to stories that revolve around family secrets. I think it's just this natural curiosity to see how a character, or in this case characters, will react after finding out some pretty shocking news. And what I enjoyed the most about this story was the author managed to bring something new to the table as it involved an interesting conflict between the mother and daughter. Diana Gallagher-Cary is an OB/GYN at a hospital and one day at work she does what is best for her pati 3.5 stars I am always drawn to stories that revolve around family secrets. I think it's just this natural curiosity to see how a character, or in this case characters, will react after finding out some pretty shocking news. And what I enjoyed the most about this story was the author managed to bring something new to the table as it involved an interesting conflict between the mother and daughter. Diana Gallagher-Cary is an OB/GYN at a hospital and one day at work she does what is best for her patient but unfortunately it creates a bit of controversy. Diana is forced to take some leave from the hospital. Her maternal grandmother died recently, and Diana's mother, Margo, has moved in with her. One day Margo finds some letters that were written in the 1940s by her grandfather, Antonio, to her grandmother. They are shocked to discover that Antonio didn't die during World War 2 like they believed and apparently they have relatives in the Philippines. Diana is eager to connect with these family members, but Margo isn't as interested into digging into the past. Diana and Margo were faced with a tough problem and it's one of those situations in which you can understand each person's point of view. I get why Diana from the get go wanted to find out the truth about her family but at the same time it wasn't shocking that Margo would have a hard time emotionally processing this new revelation. I had an interest in seeing how the conflict would play out. I also liked how the Philippines was the setting for part of the story as it's not a country I often see featured in fiction books. Overall, a good read and a book I recommend especially if you like stories that explore the family dynamics between a mother and daughter. I won a free copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway but I was not obligated to post a review. All views expressed are my honest opinion.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Melike

    Although the book started strong for me, I lost interest halfway through. Also, I was expecting more romance and less family drama, so I felt let down about that. Thank you so much to Netgalley for the arc in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sherwood Smith

    A lovely, vivid, insightful read that focuses on Filipino-American characters. I don't think I've ever read any fiction that focuses on Filipino characters, only history. Diana and her mother Margo are very different people, now living together after the death of Margo's mother and Diana's grandmother. Margo is an artist, and seems to drift through life always looking for art, which drives focused, disciplined Diana crazy. So Margo is recovering from her mother's death while Diana is dealing with A lovely, vivid, insightful read that focuses on Filipino-American characters. I don't think I've ever read any fiction that focuses on Filipino characters, only history. Diana and her mother Margo are very different people, now living together after the death of Margo's mother and Diana's grandmother. Margo is an artist, and seems to drift through life always looking for art, which drives focused, disciplined Diana crazy. So Margo is recovering from her mother's death while Diana is dealing with divorce, and then a situation comes up at the clinic where she works as a doctor, delivering babies. While the two are dealing with the emotional fallout, and their lack of communication, a total bomb drops in their lives: it turns out that Margo's father apparently didn't die in WW II: he returned to the islands . . . where he had another family. Further, Margo's mother knew it. And so begins a quest for Diana to find out about the roots she never knew she had, and Margo also goes. Their adventures are interspersed with Antonio's letters, and then Leora's, adding poignancy to the present-day story. Every twist was unexpected. Marcelo creates characters with insightful details, breathing life into them with kindness and compassion. Even the sharp moments are so beautifully realized. I couldn't put this book down. Copy provided by NetGalley

  6. 5 out of 5

    The Lit Bitch

    4.5 stars I read Tif Marcelo for the first time last year, The Key to Happily Ever After, and thought it was super fun and a very satisfying read! I was obviously eager to get my hands on her latest release to see if the magic continued going strong! I was especially eager to ‘travel’ to an exotic location in this one. The author is Pilipino and since this book is set in the Philippines, I thought her culture and experiences would really shine in this book. I also really liked the idea of a closely 4.5 stars I read Tif Marcelo for the first time last year, The Key to Happily Ever After, and thought it was super fun and a very satisfying read! I was obviously eager to get my hands on her latest release to see if the magic continued going strong! I was especially eager to ‘travel’ to an exotic location in this one. The author is Pilipino and since this book is set in the Philippines, I thought her culture and experiences would really shine in this book. I also really liked the idea of a closely guarded family secret that the main character embraces the adventure of those secrets so obviously this was a book I was really really looking forward to for early spring. This book is marketed as a mother/daughter self discovery novel with romance. In my opinion, I think there was less romance than I was expecting. I mean I wasn’t disappointed at all by that, but I did feel like it was more mother/daughter/family history/self discovery rather than romance. The romance part played a minor roll for me. As with her previous novel that I read, I found Marcelo’s writing skills superior and well crafted/developed! I loved how well she writes, the descriptions of the Philippines were captivating and interesting and the family secrets were riveting with little twists along the way. The characters are colorful and vibrant. I loved getting to know each of them and I especially liked Diana. I know a lot of readers really enjoyed the free spirited mother Margo, but for me I connected with Diana more. I think that Marcelo really captured the complicated relationship between mother and daughter so well and I think that many women will appreciate the complexity of the story and the realness of their dynamic. While I really loved this read I think the only thing I had hoped for was a little more romance. I get it, the romance wasn’t the focus, but everything I saw highlighted that this was a romance mixed with mother/daughter/family secrets plot, so I was expecting more romance. I didn’t care if the story didn’t have the romance element but the fact that it was marketed as such implied there would be more. That’s obviously not the author’s fault perhaps the publisher was hoping to reach or appeal to a larger audience but either way if you are going into this one thinking it will be full of romance, it is not. But you should still read it all the same because the story is well written and nuanced! I loved the authenticity of this book, not just with the characters but with the setting. Pick this one up if you love family secrets and the complexity between mothers and daughters! See my full review here

  7. 5 out of 5

    Camille Pagán

    I love books about women who face life’s challenges head-on and come out stronger for it. Tif Marcelo’s latest, about a mother and her adult daughter who travel to the Philippines to uncover the truth about their family history, contains romance, self-discovery, and even a bit of mystery—basically everything I want in a thought-provoking page-turner. Bonus: I finished it with tears in my eyes—my favorite way to end a story! Tif Marcelo is quickly becoming one of my must-read authors.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Read In Colour

    I loved Tif Marcelo's The Key to Happily Ever After, so downloading her latest, Once Upon a Sunset, was a no brainer. As she did with The Key (whose character's business gets a brief mention in Once), she delivers smart female characters her readers have come to know and love. I love historical fiction and I love a good HEA and Marcelo manages to blend both of these genres flawlessly. Told through present day encounters and a series of letters exchanged by her grandparents, Once Upon a Sunset tak I loved Tif Marcelo's The Key to Happily Ever After, so downloading her latest, Once Upon a Sunset, was a no brainer. As she did with The Key (whose character's business gets a brief mention in Once), she delivers smart female characters her readers have come to know and love. I love historical fiction and I love a good HEA and Marcelo manages to blend both of these genres flawlessly. Told through present day encounters and a series of letters exchanged by her grandparents, Once Upon a Sunset takes readers on a journey from Washington, DC to Philippines as the two protagonists learn about their family history, about their mother-daughter relationship and, ultimately, about themselves. Once Upon a Sunset was a really solid read. I really appreciate Tif Marcelo's characters and my introduction to the Filipino troops who served in WWII for the U.S. It's one of those little known history facts that should be acknowledged and celebrated more often.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Janet (mommy.the.reader)

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Once Upon a Sunset has mystery, romance, family drama, plus a dash of historical fiction all weaved together into a compelling and heartwarming story. I personally loved the social media references, and I thought the dynamic between Diana and her love interest was especially brilliant.👌

  10. 4 out of 5

    Amy Impellizzeri

    A richly drawn and poignant tale of finding yourself in unexpected places and connecting with the unlikeliest of allies. Mother and daughter, Margo & Diana, could not be more different. But when life throws them a curve ball (or two!) they end up on a trip together to the Philippines to get to the bottom of a long-held family secret. It is in Manila that they find themselves asking the same questions for once: “When is it time to take life’s biggest risks, and when is it time to let go?” A richly drawn and poignant tale of finding yourself in unexpected places and connecting with the unlikeliest of allies. Mother and daughter, Margo & Diana, could not be more different. But when life throws them a curve ball (or two!) they end up on a trip together to the Philippines to get to the bottom of a long-held family secret. It is in Manila that they find themselves asking the same questions for once: “When is it time to take life’s biggest risks, and when is it time to let go?”

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alexa

    While I didn’t 100% fall in love with this story the way I’d been hoping to, it was still a good read. It’s got a compelling premise, and a lot of heart, and so many elements of Diana’s trip to the PI and her experience with her extended family were relatable.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Camille Oquendo

    I’ve been slowly trying to read more works by Filipino authors. Tif Marcelo is a new to me author whom I stumbled upon while on Goodreads and Netgalley. While reading the synopsis for Once Upon A Sunset, I knew this book was something that I definitely wanted to read. Told in dual POV interspersed with corresponding letters between Diana’s grandfather and grandmother during WWII, this is a story of self-discovery, uncovering family secrets and learning about your roots. What happens when everythi I’ve been slowly trying to read more works by Filipino authors. Tif Marcelo is a new to me author whom I stumbled upon while on Goodreads and Netgalley. While reading the synopsis for Once Upon A Sunset, I knew this book was something that I definitely wanted to read. Told in dual POV interspersed with corresponding letters between Diana’s grandfather and grandmother during WWII, this is a story of self-discovery, uncovering family secrets and learning about your roots. What happens when everything you thought you knew turns out to be a lie? Diana is the take charge, always has it together type, while her mother, Margo is a little bit more carefree. They’re both coping in their own different ways after their grandma Leora’s passing. As they stumble upon old letters, it drives Diana to go back and find out the truth about her family. And so starts her and her mother’s quest to the Philippines. The inevitability of responsibility and the topic of caregiving hit close to home. To name a few, I loved how the book tackled topics such as healthcare treatment, military relationships and the effects of war on said relationships, and IDENTITY. What part of a person is Filipino? American? Which parts do we gain from our parents? There were some gripes I had with the book. I wasn’t particular fond of the romance(s) as they felt bland and annoying and somewhat like instalove. I felt like the story could’ve done without it as I cared more about the history of the family and the family interactions. Some of the text dialogue felt a bit jarring as it seemed like parts of conversations were missing? Maybe that was due to editing mishaps but it did affect my reading experience at times. It’s hard to explain without spoiling anything but I also felt like moments where certain interactions happened and how things unfolded between family members felt hard to believe. Overall, I liked the read. And I really appreciated the story Marcelo put together. Definitely relatable and definitely something I’m sure a lot of people go through. Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for providing me an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kendall

    This was a super cute story!!! Initially, I was thinking this was going to be a romance but it was more a family story which I loved! I loved how the author ties the story between a mother and a daughter. It was a nice to see a story involved in the hospital setting. I also really loved the Philippines setting in this one... which made the story at a faster paced for me :). I was hoping to have a bit more romance in this one but overall, super sweet story!! 4 stars Thank you so much to Netgalley an This was a super cute story!!! Initially, I was thinking this was going to be a romance but it was more a family story which I loved! I loved how the author ties the story between a mother and a daughter. It was a nice to see a story involved in the hospital setting. I also really loved the Philippines setting in this one... which made the story at a faster paced for me :). I was hoping to have a bit more romance in this one but overall, super sweet story!! 4 stars Thank you so much to Netgalley and Gallery for the arc in exchange for an honest review. Pub date: 3/3/20 Published to GR: 2/29/20

  14. 4 out of 5

    Maida

    Heartfelt and personal. This made me miss the Philippines so much. Full review at maidamalby.com on release date 3-3-2020

  15. 5 out of 5

    nick

    3.5/5 Once Upon a Sunset was a touching story of a mother, her daughter, and a family secret that changes the entire course of their lives. Tif Marcelo's fifth book takes us on a journey to the Philippines when Margo and Diana discover that their father and grandfather respectively didn't die in WWII as they were led to believe. I love books that have a strong focus on family and family secrets, so I found myself being easily pulled into the story. It also helped that Tif Marcelo is a talented au 3.5/5 Once Upon a Sunset was a touching story of a mother, her daughter, and a family secret that changes the entire course of their lives. Tif Marcelo's fifth book takes us on a journey to the Philippines when Margo and Diana discover that their father and grandfather respectively didn't die in WWII as they were led to believe. I love books that have a strong focus on family and family secrets, so I found myself being easily pulled into the story. It also helped that Tif Marcelo is a talented author who knows how to evoke all the emotions. What made this book an interesting read for me was the contrast between Margo and Diana. Margo was more of a free-spirit compared to her OB/GYN daughter, but there were similarities to their personalities that only the reader could see. They were both strong-minded and independent women who weren't afraid to be outspoken. Diana was keen from the get-go to connect with her new-found family in the Phillippines, but as you can imagine, it wasn't easy for Margo as this changes everything she thought she knew about her parentage. Strains inevitably grow between the two but eventually, we see how Margo and Diana find a way to mend the rift between them and how in the process they both grow from the experience. The author paints the intricacies of a mother-daughter relationship beautifully with a lot of heart and soul, and it was undeniably my favorite aspect of Once Upon a Sunset. Tif Marcelo also managed to transport me to the Philippines with her vivid descriptions. This was a book that was rich in history and culture. I loved meeting Diana and Margo's family and how they too bond with the women. What slightly let me down in Once Upon a Sunset was the romance. While I wasn't expecting the romance to be at the forefront of this book, I was hoping for much more than was actually in the book. Partly because the author's previous books have had phenomenal romances and partly because I look for romances in every book I read. While I won't say that Once Upon a Sunset is my favorite book from Tif Marcelo, I still won't hesitate to recommend it to readers who are looking for a family drama. If you're in the mood for something a bit more romantic, then I'll point you towards the Journey to the Heart trilogy.

  16. 4 out of 5

    C.E. Hart

    I was first introduced to Tif Marcelo’s writing earlier this year by her wonderful story of the de la Rosa sisters in The Key to Happily Ever After! So, when I received an ARC copy of her newest book (Release date: March 3, 2020) I couldn’t wait to begin reading! Once Upon a Sunset is told from the perspectives of Margo and Diana. This dynamic mother daughter duo carries a complex yet dear authenticity. They reveal their strengths in nearly opposite ways, which causes a slight chasm in their rela I was first introduced to Tif Marcelo’s writing earlier this year by her wonderful story of the de la Rosa sisters in The Key to Happily Ever After! So, when I received an ARC copy of her newest book (Release date: March 3, 2020) I couldn’t wait to begin reading! Once Upon a Sunset is told from the perspectives of Margo and Diana. This dynamic mother daughter duo carries a complex yet dear authenticity. They reveal their strengths in nearly opposite ways, which causes a slight chasm in their relationship. Margo (mother) is a free spirit with a positive attitude who sometimes buries her emotions in hopes they won’t resurface. Diana is an active professional and an independent go-getter who often battles over following her heart or her head. I like each of these women and can put myself in both of their shoes, but strangely enough, I connect with Diana on a deeper level (even though I’m more like Margo.) I love the changes Diana experiences throughout the story and how she gains a better understanding of her mother and herself. And of course, I love the unexpected romances each of these women fall into. Tif Marcelo is a brilliant storyteller. Her Filipino background is evident in her writing, giving this story richness and depth. The Filipino culture is brought more to the forefront in this story than in her previous book, which makes me incredibly happy. I love this story and the feeling of fullness as I close the book. *This story is lightly spicy and contains some cursing. First Line: Once upon a time, there was a doctor who loved to run. Source: I received a complimentary copy as a member of the Tall Poppy Bloggers Team.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Orly Konig

    A lovely, poignant story about family secrets, heartaches, forgiveness, and new beginnings.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Laura In Literary Land

    What an enjoyable read! Once Upon A Sunset was the perfect book world to escape into. I really enjoyed the development of Margo and Diana as individuals and also as mother and daughter. They have a very authentic push and pull, attraction and annoyance, love and exasperation in their relationship. The mystery of what actually happened to their father/grandfather definitely captured my interest and I enjoyed discovering the truth along with the characters. Once Upon A Sunset is a delightful celeb What an enjoyable read! Once Upon A Sunset was the perfect book world to escape into. I really enjoyed the development of Margo and Diana as individuals and also as mother and daughter. They have a very authentic push and pull, attraction and annoyance, love and exasperation in their relationship. The mystery of what actually happened to their father/grandfather definitely captured my interest and I enjoyed discovering the truth along with the characters. Once Upon A Sunset is a delightful celebration of family, heritage, forgiveness, and love. This was my first book by Tif Marcelo but I will definitely be picking up more! Her previous release, The Key To Happily Ever After sounds like another really fun read! Thank you @gallerybooks @netgalley for an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review {partner}.

  19. 5 out of 5

    mindful.librarian ☀️

    (free review copy) a highly enjoyable contemporary fiction story with historical fiction and light romance elements. I loved the travel and the Manila setting and the mother-daughter relationship! There were a few things that were glossed over a bit - I guess my only criticism would be that maybe it just did too many things, but not deep enough for many of them?? I love Marcelo’s last book and definitely enjoyed this one - can’t wait to read more from her!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Susan Peterson

    I was completely drawn into this poignant story of self-discovery, family secrets, forgiveness, and opening one’s heart up to the possibility of happily ever after. I fell in love with each of the characters, won over by their candor, their vulnerability, their courage, and their accepting hearts. The setting of the Philippines, with its unique culture, language, and history, added another layer to this enthralling story.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cait

    I liked. the idea of this much more than the execution. In my head I kept comparing it to Next Year in Havana, and sorry, but the Cleeton book was just so much better. I liked. the idea of this much more than the execution. In my head I kept comparing it to Next Year in Havana, and sorry, but the Cleeton book was just so much better.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Christine (Queen of Books)

    Thank you to Gallery Books and NetGalley for a free e-arc for review. Once Upon a Sunset wasn't quite what I was expecting - based on the synopsis, I expected to follow Diana's journey, when i really think Margo is the heart of this book. In part, I feel that way because Diana seemed pretty immature for an adult, let alone an almost 40-year-old. There's one scene in particular that had me wanting to throw my phone (e-reader) across the room, when she acts like a teenager. Truly, this book would ma Thank you to Gallery Books and NetGalley for a free e-arc for review. Once Upon a Sunset wasn't quite what I was expecting - based on the synopsis, I expected to follow Diana's journey, when i really think Margo is the heart of this book. In part, I feel that way because Diana seemed pretty immature for an adult, let alone an almost 40-year-old. There's one scene in particular that had me wanting to throw my phone (e-reader) across the room, when she acts like a teenager. Truly, this book would make a lot more sense if it were labeled YA and Diana were written to be considerably younger. Margo, however, was a fantastic character. A 75-year-old grappling with issues of identify, becoming an influence, and setting off to travel with her two closest friends? I'd have enjoyed Once Upon a Sunset a lot more had greater focus been placed on Margo. Diana may serve as the catalyst, but Margo's the reason the reader cares what happens - she spent decades believing her father died in WWII (as part of the First Filipino Infantry Regiment), when he hadn't. I'd recommend this one to those looking for contemporary fiction with a hint of historical fiction and romance (the letters - flashbacks to the 1940s - seem to have as much weight throughout the book as the romance storyline). I especially appreciated that Once Upon a Sunset didn't shy away from how difficult it would have been to have been in an interracial relationship in the 1940s, and how learning new information made Diana and Margo confront their identities in different ways.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bronte-Elle

    Once Upon A Sunset A few chapters in and I was hooked on the story and wanted to keep reading, this is a book where you're pulled into the "dark night of the soul". "What would Leora do?" That's what started it all and they ask themselves that question with hard decisions throughout the story. It shows the perspective of Diana (daughter) and Margo (mother). How they view the same situations, how and why they react differently to it. Older people still have dreams and a life to live. If you're 75 year Once Upon A Sunset A few chapters in and I was hooked on the story and wanted to keep reading, this is a book where you're pulled into the "dark night of the soul". "What would Leora do?" That's what started it all and they ask themselves that question with hard decisions throughout the story. It shows the perspective of Diana (daughter) and Margo (mother). How they view the same situations, how and why they react differently to it. Older people still have dreams and a life to live. If you're 75 years old, nothing's changed besides the number. I love how there's twists that you didn't really see coming. Running through the whole book is the question of playing it safe because that's what we're comfortable with or taking a risk/chance on something that could either bomb and go nowhere or change our life completely in the best way. I've traveled around the world but not to the  Philippines, it makes me want to jump on a plane and see everything as the story unfolds! I didn't like how there was a few strong swear words that didn't necessarily need to be in there. My thanks to Tif Marcelo and Gallery Books for letting me read and review this, first time doing this review thing, been real great and a privilege.

  24. 4 out of 5

    J.M. Powers

    I was thrilled to find out Tif Marcelo wrote a new book, Once Upon a Sunset. I first discovered this author when I read The Key to Happily Ever After and couldn’t wait to receive her newest creation through Net Galley. Once Upon a Sunset is a story surrounding a mother, (Margo), and her grown daughter (Diana). Their relationship is close, yet becomes strained when they accidently discover family secrets. They each deal with this in opposite ways. Margo and Diana disagree on how to handle this new I was thrilled to find out Tif Marcelo wrote a new book, Once Upon a Sunset. I first discovered this author when I read The Key to Happily Ever After and couldn’t wait to receive her newest creation through Net Galley. Once Upon a Sunset is a story surrounding a mother, (Margo), and her grown daughter (Diana). Their relationship is close, yet becomes strained when they accidently discover family secrets. They each deal with this in opposite ways. Margo and Diana disagree on how to handle this newfound discovery and they initially handle the fallout in opposite ways. As in Tif Marcelo’s first book, Once Upon a Sunset, the Filipino culture is brilliantly portrayed. Though the story is more about self-understanding and growth, there is a romantic vein to the story. I fell in love with both storylines. I connected with the mother, Margo and her free-spirited way of handling things, but at the same time I empathized with her daughter, Diana. Both characters delve deep into the past, and in the process discover a lot about themselves. Their relationship is not only repaired, but deepens with a new understanding about each other’s views. Their self-growth is gradual and touching. I received a complimentary copy of this ARC from Net Galley. All opinions are my own.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne

    After Diana has a tumultuous year with a bad breakup, home repairs and her mom moving in after carrying for her mother, Leora, and subsequent death and issue comes up at the hospital where she is an OB-GYN and she is forced to take a vacation. While her mom, Margo, is cleaning out Leora's home she finds letters from her father. Diana decides that now is a good time to go to the Philippines and find out what happened to her grandfather. I thought it was a sweet story and I loved Margo. Diana seem After Diana has a tumultuous year with a bad breakup, home repairs and her mom moving in after carrying for her mother, Leora, and subsequent death and issue comes up at the hospital where she is an OB-GYN and she is forced to take a vacation. While her mom, Margo, is cleaning out Leora's home she finds letters from her father. Diana decides that now is a good time to go to the Philippines and find out what happened to her grandfather. I thought it was a sweet story and I loved Margo. Diana seemed a little prickly to me and I never felt like I knew her. The imagery of the Philippines was wonderful and I liked all of the relatives and people she met there. Things wrapped up nicely in the end and that was okay too. I received a copy of this from Netgalley for an honest review.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Once Upon a Sunset by Tif Marcelo is a wonderfully heartwarming novel about family, love, acceptance, forgiveness, and finding yourself. This book also is about how your past (or finding out your true past) doesn’t define you. Diana finds herself at a crossroads in her life when she is placed on leave from her job at a hospital in D.C. after a situation occurs while she is at work. With her job in question, her relationship ending, she and her mother, Margo, find letters from her grandfather, An Once Upon a Sunset by Tif Marcelo is a wonderfully heartwarming novel about family, love, acceptance, forgiveness, and finding yourself. This book also is about how your past (or finding out your true past) doesn’t define you. Diana finds herself at a crossroads in her life when she is placed on leave from her job at a hospital in D.C. after a situation occurs while she is at work. With her job in question, her relationship ending, she and her mother, Margo, find letters from her grandfather, Antonio, to her grandmother during WWII. What they thought was the fate of Antonio, actually is found to be false. They find out he actually did not perish and that there are surviving family members in the Philippines. Diana decides that there is no better time to explore this part of her life and travels there to find the answers that she needs: who is she, where did she come from, what really happened, who are these long-lost relatives? The descriptions of the beauty of the landscapes were breathtaking. I could feel the beauty radiating from the pages. I would love to travel there. I enjoyed the subplots of the new relationship that Diana experiences, the mystery and intrigue of what really happened and why, as well as the transformation of not only Diana but also of her relationship with her mother. It was at times raw and emotional. I felt for both women (Margo and Diana) and could see how both viewpoints were reasonable yet so different. I am happy that they were able to work through these issues to come out at the end stronger with themselves and each other. This was a fast read (only because I could not put it down) and I was able to finish this in two days (with a few less hours of sleep that were happily sacrificed). I enjoyed the characters, the destination, the flow and pacing of the book as well as the plot. I enjoyed the ending as well. A great read not just for a little romance, but also for anyone that enjoys a little historical fiction, and mother-daughter relationships. I am now going to look for additional books written by Ms. Marcelo. Great book! 5/5 stars Thank you NetGalley and Gallery Books for this ARC and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon and B&N accounts upon publication.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Homerun2

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 3.5 stars This was a decent if not world-shaking read. Washington D.C. OB doc Diana is at a personal crossroads. She has gotten sideways with the posh clinic where she works for having the temerity to put patient needs before profits. And her boyfriend is trying to win her back after two-timing her and she is not interested. To top things off, her somewhat bohemian mother has moved in with her. As her mother Margo prepares to take off on a bucket list trip with friends, Diana finds some old family 3.5 stars This was a decent if not world-shaking read. Washington D.C. OB doc Diana is at a personal crossroads. She has gotten sideways with the posh clinic where she works for having the temerity to put patient needs before profits. And her boyfriend is trying to win her back after two-timing her and she is not interested. To top things off, her somewhat bohemian mother has moved in with her. As her mother Margo prepares to take off on a bucket list trip with friends, Diana finds some old family letters that hold a shocking secret -- her mother's father, always believed to be a WWII casualty, actually survived the war and started a second family in the Philippines -- even though he knew her grandmother was stranded single and pregnant. Through a series of plotting unlikelihoods, Diana and Margo both end up in the Philippines and meet their grandfather's wife and their cousins and nieces and nephews. Here's where it got dicey for me. I was never entirely convinced that this second family would welcome interlopers with open arms, particularly since there was a will and a large amount of property and money involved. And maybe they are all just superior human beings, but there was very little resentment, bitterness, jealousy or even awkwardness. Really? The ending wrapped things up quickly and too neatly given that there not just one but two romances between two people who are destined to live thousands of miles apart. Not a bad read, but didn't hold up well in terms of credibility. Thanks to the publisher and to Net Galley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Miss W Book Reviews

    Once Upon a Sunset is a beautifully written story of a mother and daughter, Margo & Diana. These two are as opposite as you can get. An unexpected trip to the Philippines sets the scene for a poignant story about family , their secrets, heartaches, heartaches and starting over and even when it is time to let go. This story was well written with complex fleshed out characters. Tif Marcelo is quickly becoming one of my go to authors for women's fiction. Once Upon a Sunset is a beautifully written story of a mother and daughter, Margo & Diana. These two are as opposite as you can get. An unexpected trip to the Philippines sets the scene for a poignant story about family , their secrets, heartaches, heartaches and starting over and even when it is time to let go. This story was well written with complex fleshed out characters. Tif Marcelo is quickly becoming one of my go to authors for women's fiction.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Francesca the Fierce (Under the Covers Book Blog)

    3.5 stars

  30. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    This was basically a Love and Gelato book for grownups and let me say I am absolutely here for it! Did the majority of the book I wished I could kick Diana in the shins? Completely and totally but still totally worth it.

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