This anthology contains three outstanding stories about individuals overcoming issues keeping them from enjoying fulfilling relationships. The depth and complexity of the characters and the riveting plots make this a must-read book.

Johnson's "How the Other Half Lives" tells the story of best friends Jamellah and Fernecia. These former "ghetto girls" are now educated and successful but struggling with low self-esteem and shame over past actions and behavior.

Rivers introduces us to Malcolm Savoy Tyler, a most romantic brother who's not afraid to show the woman of his dreams how much he cares for her, even after she breaks his heart, in "Love Is 2 Blame." When Malcolm overcomes his trust issues with a new woman's patience and love, he's able to move on.

Zane pens a tremendously powerful, detailed look into the life of a man who has to come to grips with his drug-addict wife in "Staring Evil in the Face." After a horrific accident, Tiphanie finds herself addicted to painkillers and then street drugs when the need to alleviate the pain is more powerful than her need to care for her family. (Atria, Dec., 273 pp., $22.95)
Reviewed by: 
Debbie R. Sims