Anita Bunkley's second African-American historical novel illuminates an overlooked piece of history. During WWII there were African-American fighter squadrons and medical teams where women like Janelle Roy found a place.

Since 1943 Janelle has fought prejudice against both women and her race. A brilliant and talented nurse, she has been working in private practice until one of her patients, a white woman, dies. Janelle seeks the legal advice Dalton Graham, a white civil rights lawyer.

Even with Dalton's help, Janelle's hard-won reputation is tarnished. Not only must she fight for her career, but she also fights her growing attraction for Dalton.

To escape her problems, Janelle takes a position at the Tuskegee black fighter pilots training facility. For a girl from Ohio, segregated Alabama is a new and often frightening experience. It is here she meets Lance Fuller, a daring pilot who opens her heart to love.

But when her brother is unjustly accused of murder, Janelle once more turns to Dalton and wonders where her true feelings lie.

Powerful and eye-opening, WILD EMBERS introduces readers to remarkable characters striving to find a place in a rapidly changing world. Janelle finds that she is fighting on two fronts: prejudice and injustice at home while the world is fighting a greater peril. In the end she must look inside herself to find the happiness she deserves. Like Belva Plain, Cynthia Freeman and Alex Haley, Anita Bunkley has a gift for bringing wonderful ethnic characters and their unique problems to readers in a dramatic, sweeping novel of tragedy and triumph. SWEET (June, 386 pp., $21.95)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin