Again combining the notion of women struggling to define themselves against the images of men who would dominate them, Naumoff (Silk Hope, NC, 1994, etc.) enriches the mix with a family dynamic that crosses gender and generations. Walter, the soft-spoken, naive director of the area Homes for Humanity, single-mindedly devotes himself to the betterment of blacks in his North Carolina community--but on meeting the much younger Louise he discovers a new object of devotion. Hers is a captivating innocence, and she seems to him not to be flawed like other women, such as Waiter's sister Mary, a divorcÃ¢e whose predatory sexuality and alcoholic despair constantly provoke her strait-laced brother. Louise is taken with Waiter's goodness, too, so the two marry and live in bliss--until an ex-boyfriend, Louise's night-class instructor and a man with depraved sexual tastes, threatens to send Walter a video he secretly made of the two of them together. Sensing that something is amiss, Walter confronts Mary, in whom Louise had confided; working together, they remove the tape from the pervert's collection. Walter can't resist a peek at it, however, upon which his notion of Louise as untainted shifts and their relationship suffers. Seeing her sadness, her mother tries to snap Louise out of it by confessing that her own years of sacrifice to her husband's whims had root in her guilt at having abandoned him and Louise, then an infant, for six months. Wiser but still unhappy, Louise becomes increasingly aware that Walter, like every other man, has definite plans for his woman. Some odd bits--including a male amnesia victim formally adopted by Mary and used as her sex toy--but a thoughtful story in spite of its quirks, written in a style both crisp and clever.