Aborting law school, Brandeis Taylor returns home and joins a local law firm as a paralegal. Outwardly, she seems cool and confident, but inwardly, she's a wounded soul, her dreams and self image shattered by date rape. The more she tries to put the past behind her, the worse her anguish becomes... until her childhood friend Jackson Grey re-enters her life, bringing hope where there has only been despair.

Jackson is determined to find the bold, independent woman that's buried beneath Brandeis' tragic demeanor. Every step of the journey is a struggle well worth the reward-Brandeis' love. Although she agrees to marry him, she is still haunted by her rape. Then her rapist returns to town, obsessed with picking up where he left off and trying to force himself into her life.

HIDDEN BLESSINGS is a precious ruby in the literary treasure chest of 1998 debuts. Ms. Thomas proves she can claim the heart while satisfying the soul. (June, 283 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Cheryl Ferguson