New York businesswoman and bad girl Sheila Moore takes a leave of absence from her graphic design firm after she's diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and returns home to Charleston, S.C., to fight the disease. But before she leaves, she bumps into Nicholas Washington, a man who knows all about the private shame that forced her to move from South Carolina in the first place. When he offers his friendship to help her through her battle, she becomes suspicious. Is he in cahoots with her enemy, Tori Madison, to ruin her life? She's not sure, so to safeguard her heart Sheila vows to keep her growing feelings for Nicholas a secret.

Charleston novelist and heartthrob Nicholas hopes his decision to befriend Sheila will not destroy his friendship with Tori. He knows that Tori hasn't forgiven her for trying to steal her husband, Jake, four years ago. But Nicholas sees something good in Sheila. He prays to God to speak to Sheila's heart but decides to hide his feelings for her.

Thomas' long-awaited sequel to The Prodigal Husband isn't filled with page-turning conflict. Instead, it's a slow-moving study of faith and forgiveness that will delight her loyal fans. Nicholas is almost angelic in his devotion to his prayer life and to Sheila. But he speaks in cliches when he counsels Sheila about faith and how it relates to her illness. A slow pace, various subplots, overwriting and awkward chapter endings make this a harder read than its predecessor. (Apr., 256 pp., $22.95)
Reviewed by: 
Dee Y. Stewart