Stuck in a poverty-stricken area of El Mirage, Ariz., Vanessa is holding on by a dream and a prayer. Blessed with a talented and gifted 12-year-old pianist daughter, she keeps the bills paid as a miserable caretaker/housekeeper for an elderly white woman.

With a soon-to-be-ex-husband who appears and disappears after casual intimacy, and neighbors who perform with abandon each night, Vanessa is barely holding on to her sanity and her apartment. When her daughter gets accepted into a prestigious music academy, Vanessa must come up with a $1,000 deposit for admittance. Despite her reluctance, she does what she needs to so her daughter can make it.

Ford wraps the reader around every word, every paragraph and every page of this beautiful story of a mother's love. The characters are wonderful, and the circumstances under which they meet are real, honest and sometimes painful. This novel speaks of the flaws of human nature, moving on when you want to give up and sacrificing for that one thing, whether it's a pipe dream, survival or someone else. (Jul., 234 pp., $13.95)
Reviewed by: 
Tee C. Royal