In this unusual book, humor and heartbreak are side by side. Telling the story through the alternating first-person views of the hero and the heroine, Murray movingly shows emotions from both sides. The chapters slowly revealing the loss of beloved family members are particularly restrained, allowing the reader to know only what the hero is thinking. Yet there's great humor in the heroine's voice. Secondary characters are well developed and have their own surprises. The growth of the relationship and Dee-Dee's mother's reaction to an interracial romance make for a wonderful book.

Librarian Dee-Dee Anderson, calling herself Nisi when she reviews books, is living in Roanoke, Va., and having a personal dry period. She's only had the job a short time and doesn't have any real friends in the area -- especially not male friends -- and her strong, opinionated mother in Indiana is pushy but not without rules: "You can have any shade of a man as long as he's black."

But when white author Jack Browning returns some books, their relationship starts. Jack lost his wife and small son in an auto accident six months before and is still in shock. (Kensington, Nov., 400 pp., $15.00) Page Traynor
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Page Traynor