Ten openly celebratory new stories, in a fifth collection, from the prolific Cooper (In Search of Satisfaction, 1994, etc.). With her characteristic wit and aplomb--and effortless colloquial style--the author leads her high-spirited, modern-day heroines on their hard (but usually rewarding) life's journeys. Women all need the same thing, Cooper asserts time and again: to strike a critical balance between finding love and finding--and keeping--themselves. And though these protagonists make mistakes and fall often into traps set for women since the beginning of time, they're eventually offered redemption and indeed happiness by dint of their own learned wisdom. ""Femme Fatale"" plays with the traditional meaning of that phrase as Darlin' Roscoe's version of Everywoman undergoes a radical transformation for the better. In ""The Way It Is,"" Melody learns after losing the love of her life that it's more-than-OK to pass up Mr. So-So even if it means holding out all alone for Mr. Right. The inspirational ""Yellow House Road"" features MLee (so named by a mother who had 13 children and no time to learn to spell), who leaves her lazy husband to discover what she wants out of life--and learns that just by trying she ""can DO things by herself, for herself."" But Cooper is no full-fledged Pollyanna: ""Sure Is a Shame"" concerns Inez and her sorry sister Gartha, two women who made bad choices and couldn't (or wouldn't) escape them; ""A Will and a Way"" has a tragic loss at its center, one not adequately compensated for by its unsatisfying end. Overall, though, the cumulative experiences of these invincible, irrepressible women create an unforgettable, uplifting collection. Funny, real, warm, and right on the money: stories from a gifted author that help to do womankind proud.