Once Upon a Sunset

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 03 Mar 2020

Member Reviews

once upon a sunset. this was so cute and precious and full of heart. tif marcelo needs to write more books all the time and all the days.
Was this review helpful?
Once Upon a Sunset is a heartwarming story about family and finding yourself. This is my first time reading Tif Marcelo and I adored her writing style. It has so much heart, humor, and humility.

This story follows Diana an OB/GYN whose world is crumbling right between her feet. She is dealing with a tough breakup that leads her to take a sabbatical. When her mother Margo finds a box of letters by her grandparents, they both learn more about their love story and about their family's heritage.

This is a beautiful story that captivates you with its charming writing and relatable characters.

I give Once Upon a Sunset 4 stars. I really enjoyed reading my first Tif Marcelo novel. Diana and Margo's growth throughout the book is fascinating and admirable. I highly recommend it to readers who enjoy a story full of heart.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this story of families and relationships! Love learning about the food and the culture of the phillaphines... highly recommend
Was this review helpful?
Another 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. 
Some of them are already at my TBR Mountain.

Special thanks to NetGalley and Gallery Pocket Books for sharing this feel-good ARC in exchange my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
An overworked, over-stressed woman makes a decision that can impact the rest of her life. Diana has worked hard to get to where she is in her life and all of that is about to change. Her job is on the line, her mother is taking her sweet time to unpack into Diana’s house, Diana’s boyfriend has left her and she is tired. When Diana’s mother Margo, uncovers letters that could alter their lives, Diana jumps at the chance to dig deep into the past.

This was a sweet story that takes these women on a journey they will never forget. What would you do if you found out that what you believed about your parents was not true?

I really enjoyed this book and the way the story unfolded. Tif Marcelo writes this genre very well.
Was this review helpful?
Diana is an OB/Gyn and loves her job – even when she has issues with the ‘inequities’ in the hospital’s policies regarding insured versus VIP patients. And, while doing entirely the right thing for her patient turns out to be entirely the wrong thing in terms of the hospital’s administration, it does give her time to help her mother sort out her grandmother’s belongings before her “bucket list’ trip with her friends, and be there for the ‘rehab’ planned for her townhouse. A rehab planned with her now ex-fiancé, another doctor at the hospital she works at.  In the midst of all of the upheaval in Diana’s ordinarily very structured and ‘no surprises’ life there are twists – twists that she doesn’t want to acknowledge – but curiosity has more power than she ever expected.  

Diana’s mother Margo raised her alone – much as Margo was raised by her grandmother Leora. Long buried history is contained in a box of letters from Antonio (her grandfather) to her grandmother Leora, and this opened questions about other relatives, the stories they took as truth, and some lingering desire to learn of their roots.  While Diana decides to use her ‘break’ from the hospital to follow up a lead from a private investigator, Margo’s plan is to head off to New Orleans, then California and elsewhere with her friends – their bucket list trip destined to be an Instagram sensation.  

This was lovely and managed to encompass al of the hope, questions, hurts, anger, forgiveness and frustrations that must have accompanied the ‘true’ reason that Antonio never returned to the states to claim Leora or his daughter Margo.  Snippets of family strife from the ‘new relations’ appearing, protectiveness over what is seen as “their domain’ and the indomitable Flora, wife of Antonio and a woman of consequence even at the ripe age of 100, the story takes emotions, questions, mixes in a ton of history from the Filipino perspective and tempers it all with the joy of family, acceptance and love. Learning who you are, and finding answers to questions that you hadn’t even asked yourself – at least not consciously, all blend into a story that is easy to read, engaging and heartwarming. A favorite for the people, the characterizations, the emotions and the ability to tackle difficult subjects and make them make sense – Marcelo’s family and friendship-based stories are first rate. 

I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

Review first appeared at   I am, Indeed 
Was this review helpful?
Once Upon A Sunset started off well but then tapered off to a still decent, but underwhelming second half. 

For me, the beginning was relatable and had me wanting to read more simply because I felt so connected to Diana and the trials of life she was going through.  I have been through some of the exact same things so I found myself feeling sorry for her because I know how she was feeling all too well.

Once we got into the scene of meeting the long lost family (mid-book), this is where the connection to this story started to lose me.  There wasn’t anything in particular that let to me into “meh” mode, but I guess it was just… unmemorable. It was predictable and nothing really special or warming happened.  It was just…OK. Underwhelming I think is the best way to describe it.

Diana’s relationship with Joshua, a man she met upon arrival to the Philippines, felt forced.  To me, this story would have been just fine without the forced need for a love story thrown in the mix.  It would have been better off just being a story of a woman and her mother discovering their own identities.  A book doesn’t always NEED to have a love story within! The love story in Once Upon A Sunset just doesn’t fit. 

I never connected with Diana’s mother, Margo.  She just didn’t make much sense to me. Her thoughts.  Her social media status. Her “ignore it and it will go away” attitude towards certain things.  Free-spirited is one thing. But Margo was a little of something else.  I don’t know, she just wasn’t my favorite character in this story.  

Overall, this is a book I would still recommend to someone who needs an easy read.  Something you’d read while on the plane or on vacation where you don’t want to use any brainpower on a complicated book with a complicated plot.  And we all need books like these! A mindless read with a good story and a warm ending.
Was this review helpful?
While I didn’t get to start this book as soon as I would’ve liked, once I started, I couldn’t put it down. This story was so beautifully told. I could feel the emotions of Margo and Diana. It made me laugh and cry. Excellent read!
Was this review helpful?
Absolutely LOVED this title, it had all the perfect pieces of a great story. Family ties, a bit of romance & mystery, great, strong characters - all in one it was fantastic, highly recommend. 

Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to the publisher for an advance copy to read & review 
What do you do when life is falling apart? You lean on family & friends. For Diana, that means good friend Sam and mom Margo....but could there be more??? I have never been to the Philippines, or really even thought about going, but I would love to take a trip into this book! The descriptions of the hotel and city made me feel like I was right there, the dialog between characters feels like conversation, and the descriptions of the food made me hungry!! 
Tif Marcelo has a writing style that is easy to read and this book is easy to get lost in.
Was this review helpful?
Diana is having a hard time with life. A breakup, her grandmother dying, and getting in trouble at work. While going through her grand mom things, Diana and her mother Margo find letters from her grandfather. Diana decides it is a good time to go to the Philippines and find out what happened to her grandfather. This was a heartwarming story of family. Diana and Margo have a troubled relationship like a lot of mother and daughters and I found it so very real.. I received an advanced readers copy and all opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
I tried to read this book but the beginning was so boring. I couldn’t connect with the characters and the story felt too forgettable.
Was this review helpful?
This is the second Tif Marcelo book that I have read and she is now on my must read list. I love how she weaves in humor and love of family into the story line.

Diana is an ob/gyn at a better off hospital in Washington, DC. After making a life-saving decision regarding a less fortunate patient that annoyed a well-to-do patient, she was put on leave. While helping her mother go through the large pile of boxes that she brought when she moved in, she discovered information about her past that conflicted with what her mother had told her. This leads her to take a trip to the Philippines to learn more about her family history while she is on leave.

This is a wonderful story and you will also learn about Filipino culture. Salamat po!

I received an advanced copy of this book to review.
Was this review helpful?
This was a five star read. I absolutely adored this book. I love that it was about a family journey, the romance was light and I loved that this book was set in the Philippines. This was such a treat and this author is an autobuy for me.
Was this review helpful?
Diana is a OB-GYN in the DC area who recently went through some life changes. Her grandmother passed away, her mother came to live with her and she broke up with her boyfriend after finding out he cheated. She is an excellent OB-GYN and one night on shift she makes a decision that may have saved the life of a patient but it causes a lot of trouble for her employer. Diana is put on temporary leave and while on leave she discovers something about her families past. Something that changes everything she and her mother knew about her father and sends them both halfway across the world to search for answers.

I have read Tif Marcelo's previous book, The Key to Happily Ever After, and fell in love with her writing style. The stars of her books wrestle with the direction of their lives and do it in a way that is easy to sympathize with. .Diana at the beginning of the book is completely focused on work. She takes extra shifts and does everything she can to escape her non-work life. When she is forced to take a break, another problem presents itself.

I loved the format of the book. It is told from primarily Diana's view but between each chapter are letters between her grandparents during the war that separated them. These letters add so much to the story as her grandparents story is central them throughout the book. I also loved that the author sprinkled a few references to places from her prior book in this one. 

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a light-hearted, captivating read. After three chapters, I was hooked and had a hard time putting the book down.
Was this review helpful?
I had a hard time putting down this book.  The characters and story line pulled me in from the beginning.  Diana, an OB/GYN, having to make decisions which went against financial interests, finds out that she still has family in the Philippines.  Diana thought she had no family but her eccentric mother, Margo, who believed her father died in WWII.  The addition of some Filipino-American history, with family relationships and questions of identity enhance the story.  Highly recommend and thank Netgalley for the ARC.
Was this review helpful?
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 book from Net Galley. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Diana Gallagher-Cary is in need of change she's not ready to admit to - she's an OB/GYN, but she's not very happy at her prestigious hospital in Washington DC. Her grandmother who helped raise her has recently passed away, her mom has moved in and her ex has moved out. Change is a must and then something happens at work that makes her need to take a few weeks off and she and her mom happen to find out that maybe her grandfather whom they believed died fighting in the Pacific during WWII in fact lived a long life with another family in the Philippines, Diana has to do something.
Was this review helpful?
I received an ARC of this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

This novel centers around a family and the choices individual members have to make to sustain themselves and their children.  I love the understanding between the mothers and daughters.
Was this review helpful?