Dear Ms Kitt,
Years ago I read one of your interracial romances, enjoyed it, and had always meant to try some more of your work. Well,…the best laid plans and all. So here I am at last reading another one of your books.
I used to live in the Germantown subdivision and remember the heat and humidity of a Memphis summer very well. The Pink Palace was a favorite place to go though I never once went to Graceland. And it’s the Memphis setting that caught my eye in this story of a young woman who meets a handsome man in her quest to help a troubled teenager.
Michaela impressed me by not taking shit from anyone yet being a lady while she managed it. She started turning ET around by laying out some sound ground rules and sticking to them. She also told Cooper straight out that she didn’t appreciate him not being honest with her. For any chance of a HEA, I think a couple needs to show me that they respect themselves and each other.
Another thing I really liked was being able to watch these two fall in love. Characters who suddenly realize that “for some reason” they’ve fallen for someone usually make me think, “lust maybe but true love? Hmmmm, have to think about that.” These two come across as more mature, more sure of their emotions. Yet they have the wisdom to know that there are a lot of things to be worked out and that they must take their time and not rush things.
Religion is a large part of the story yet isn’t shoved in our faces. The faith of the characters is a part of who they are, not what agenda they have. And for one, his reborn faith turns out to be what makes him who he is now. It’s what’s “saved” him when he had reached rock bottom. The event which brought him back to God might be greeted with skepticism by some but I know a good friend who believes as Cooper believes. She knows what she’s seen and experienced and no one will ever convince her otherwise. Michaela truly finds the difference between going to Church every Sunday and living her faith every day. And the Reverend Wallace is the kind of minister all Churches could use.
Jill sounds like a great friend to have. Ready to race down to defend her friend from any man who might harm her and willing to break some potentially painful news as gently as she can. Michaela’s godparents sound like good people too. All this just reinforces what a decent person Michaela is and what went into making her that way.
One aspect I didn’t care for the was the fact that Jefferson and all his friends and associates seem to stand for the hardened, uncaring or, perhaps, just dismissive is a better word, people in the world. While Cooper and his down at the heels church, friends and whatnot stand for the caring, empathetic ones. The distinction was quite obvious and rather “in your face.”
Cats rule. That being said, I love Lady – says the cat momma who’s received some of those indignant stares when I dared allow the food bowl to reach half empty. You also use her quite effectively to bring home to Michaela how important any show of love is to ET who’s had precious little from anyone, cat or otherwise, in his life.
Saving the best for last, thank you for not turning the book into a soapbox rant or preachy morality tale about HIV/AIDS. The condition is serious and deserves to be treated with solemnity. Yet the ones who have contracted it still need love, understanding, and acceptance. It’s not the death sentence it once was yet, as you say, it’s heartbreaking that so many are still becoming statistics for a disease that is preventable. God bless those down in the trenches trying to make a difference. I waited a while to get back to your writing but I’m glad I finally did. B