Virtual tour stop of Meant to Be by Karen Stivali


Sometimes you’re already committed to the wrong person when fate finally brings you the right one.

When NYU professor Daniel Gardner’s career-obsessed wife convinces him to move to the suburbs, he hopes it’s a first step toward starting the family he longs to have. Instead of domestic bliss he finds his neighbor, Marienne Valeti. She loves her freelance design job, but must contend with a growing sense of isolation created by her husband’s indifference. A penchant for good books, bad movies, and Marienne’s to-die-for brownies sparks a powerful bond between them. Passion simmers, but they resist its lure, surrendering only in the seclusion of their minds. Their friendship helps them weather every hardship, from divorce to widowhood, leaving them both secretly wondering if it can survive a first kiss.

This was an amazing and heartfelt story.  In Meant to Be by Karen Stivali, we meet Daniel and Marienne.  They are both married, but they still feel a strong pull toward one another.  As they go through different things in their lives, they begin to wonder whether or not they can remain just friends.

Stivali did a great job on this book.  Their characters were very well written and you could tell she put a lot of thought into each detail.  I pick the book up to begin reading and before I knew it, hours had passed and I was close to being finished.


Daniel’s hand froze on the page the moment he saw it. It looked more like a candid photo than a drawing. “That’s amazing,” he said, unable to take his eyes off it. “I can’t believe you drew this from memory.”

“I have a good memory.” She smiled.

“I’m speechless. Well, not literally speechless, as I’m babbling, but I don’t know what to say.” He turned to glance at Marienne and saw that she was blushing. “I had no idea I was this good looking.” He added, and she laughed, which was precisely what he wanted. He didn’t want her to be uncomfortable, at all, ever.

“Well,” she said. “There’s some artistic license.”

“Clearly,” he said. “And thank you, I’ve never looked better. Though I do look awfully sad. Is that how you see me?”

“I was going for introspective, not so much sad, but the night I drew that, yes, you did seem sad.”

“What night was that?” he asked.

“The night you came for dinner while I was baking all the Christmas cookies, the night you told me about your mom.”

“Then I’d say you captured that mood perfectly.” He looked back at the drawing, still amazed by how much it looked like him, only somehow better.

“But that’s not how I always see you. Turn the page.”

He laughed as the next drawing was also of him, this time with his head thrown back, eyes twinkling, mouth wide with laughter, right hand raised and woven through his hair. Once again he felt like he was looking at a photograph rather that a drawing. He looked at his own hand then at the drawing, she had captured it flawlessly. The expression, the pose, it was all unmistakably him. How did she do that without me posing for her?

“You’re amazing.” He was in awe, not only of her ability to put his image on paper with such beauty, but to see him with such clarity.

As part of this tour, Karen Stivali is doing a guest post.  I asked Stivali about her thoughts on marriage and ways to keep it exciting.  I also asked for her thoughts on whether or not there is any way to keep your spouse from wondering about a life with someone else.  Enjoy her response!

Marriages take work. There’s no denying that. They take perseverance and patience. Both partners need to remember to make time for each other and focus on the needs of their spouse. Lots of things can be done to keep marriages exciting. Planning alone time. Doing things together. Taking an interest in each other’s hobbies/jobs/lives. Keeping things passionate in the bedroom. Sometimes these acts can be enough to keep a marriage going or revive one that’s started to fail.

Other times, however, the relationship simply wasn’t meant to last. Couples can grow apart in many ways. Changes can be too great to overcome. The initial things that attracted you to your spouse might no longer be present. You may want different things out of life. One or both of you may not be willing to work on things, to compromise, or even to try at all.

The hardest thing to accept about any relationship can be that it’s run its course. This can be true of friendships as well as romantic relationships. It doesn’t mean you don’t still care about the other person. It doesn’t even mean you never should have gotten together. It just means that you’re no longer compatible. You’re not fulfilling each other’s needs. No amount of work can save a relationship that’s not meant to be.

We’ve all seen it happen either with our own relationships or with those of our friends. Couples who seemed perfect together can wind up being anything but. Other couples who seemed unlikely to last can wind up being the best, strongest marriages ever. There’s no way to tell. There are too many variables, too many factors that shape our lives.

That’s the point of Meant To Be. Daniel and Marienne both enter into their marriages as most couples do—full of hope for their futures, thinking they’ll be married forever. They both take those vows so seriously they stay loyal to their spouses way past the point of where their marriages are no longer viable. Their spouses are wrong for them. No amount of trying will save those relationships. That’s what fascinated me about these characters and led me to write this novel.

Sometimes you really are committed to the wrong person when fate finally brings you the right one. Daniel and Marienne aren’t looking for love outside their marriages. They don’t cheat on their spouses. Even after they’re both single they don’t jump into a relationship for fear that they’ll lose the friendship that’s become the most important relationship in both their lives. Their marriages unravel on their own, just as they would have had Daniel and Marienne never met. What their friendship shows each of them is what it’s like to be loved for who you are. What it’s like to have someone put your happiness above their own. What it’s like to be with the person with whom you’re truly Meant To Be.

Karen Stivali is nice enough to do a giveaway!  Karen will award the winner’s choice of a backlist ebook to one commenter!  Leave a comment below and you will be entered!! Also at the end of the tour, one randomly drawn commenter will receive a $20 Amazon giftcard!  Make sure you thank Karen for this awesomeness!

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Karen Stivali is a prolific writer, compulsive baker and chocoholic with a penchant for books, movies and fictional British men. When she’s not writing, she can be found cooking extravagant meals and serving them to family and friends. Prior to deciding to write full time Karen worked as a hand drawn animator, a clinical therapist, and held various food-related jobs ranging from waitress to specialty cake maker. Planning elaborate parties and fundraisers takes up what’s left of her time and sanity.

Karen has always been fascinated by the way people relate to one another so she favors books and movies that feature richly detailed characters and their relationships. In her own writing she likes to explore the dynamics between characters and has a tendency to craft romantic love stories filled with sarcasm and sexy details.

Karen has published three erotic romances with Ellora’s Cave: Marry Me (June 2012), Long- Distance Lovers (co-written with Karen Booth, March 2012) and Always You (Passionate Plume First Place Novella Winner, RWA 2012).

Karen’s first full-length novel, Meant To Be, will be published by Turquoise Morning Press on August 26, 2012. Its sequel, Holding On, will be released on November 26, 2012. A prequel to these novels, the short story All I Need, appears in the Foreign Affairs Anthology (Turquoise Morning Press, August 2012).

For more information about my current and upcoming projects please visit my website: http:// I can also be found on: Twitter: Facebook: Goodreads: Amazon:


19 thoughts on “Virtual tour stop of Meant to Be by Karen Stivali

    • This is a really complicated relationship story, but it’s first and foremost a love story with a very happily ever after ending. All the major players wind up with their lives changed, but it’s for the best. It’s realistic, but with the kind of satisfying resolution people aren’t always lucky enough to find in real life.

    • Yes, it’s a sad truth, and there are definitely sad moments in this book—very emotional issues, and not just dealing with relationship matters. But it’s also about friendship and love and some very happy things. It’s the dark things in life that make the bright ones shine so much brighter. This book features the highs and lows. It’s not overall a sad story, it’s a love story of two people who deserve every bit of happiness they get at the end.

  1. Many thanks for hosting me on and for all the comments. If anyone is interested in learning more about this novel or my others, please stop by my blog —you’ll find info on all of my writing projects along with fun guest posts and a collection of awesome recipes. Cheers!

  2. Thanks for the giveaway, Karen. It is awesome. Daniel and Marienne sound like they do their relationship right–in a thoughtful, “friends to lovers” way.

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