A fast-moving, plot-rich, slapdash but entertaining first novel aimed at the audience that inhaled Waiting to Exhale. The story is set among Washington, D.C.'s middle-class black community and follows the romantic trials of three thirtysomething African-American friends. It opens with Lisa, a bubbly Ph.D. candidate, attending the wedding of pal Sundi and falling head-over-heels for handsome fellow guest Walter--a slightly shady, divorced accountant. Sundi, shrugging off the worries of Lisa and the third friend, Lisa's married sister, Danielle, is wedding a conservative Nigerian named Chris in a ceremony combining African and African Methodist Episcopal rituals--a combination of cultures that becomes a running theme. But while Lisa doubts whether Sundi, a successful entrepreneur, will be able to maintain her independence once hitched to dogmatic Chris, she has no doubts about marriage itself--she craves it. So, rapidly, she dates and marries Walter--and that's when her real troubles start. Walter, rumored to be bisexual, turns out to be a drug addict and is soon suspended from his job. When Lisa throws away his dope stash, he beats her, and she flees. Meanwhile, sister Danielle moves out of her house--the one she shares with kind, considerate husband Roger and their four-year-old daughter--and rushes into a hot affair with a young black stud in her advertising office. And Sundi's marriage is quickly deteriorating as Chris becomes ever more domineering. But there's good news in store for each of them: After many twists of plot, Sundi teaches Chris to compromise; Danielle returns to wonderful Roger; and Lisa--after much soul-searching and waffling--divorces Walter, then happily finds a new love, a ""black Tootsie Roll"" in a well-cut suit. Characters, including Lisa, remain shallow, and the plot is full of lapses. But the depiction of issues, fast pace, and tone of enlightened self-help will have wide appeal. A sure-to-be-read debut.