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by Terry McMillan

Pub Date: May 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-670-86990-2
Publisher: Viking

 McMillan (Waiting to Exhale, 1992, etc.) takes it easy with this tossed-together tale of a 42-year-old black, female professional who falls for a young Jamaican cook. The love story provides a suitable frame for the author's trademark charm and credible sense of black middle-class values, but sloppy prose and a single, rather solitary protagonist fail to give readers the synergistic magic of the earlier book. Stella Payne has it all--a charming 11-year-old son, a beautiful house north of San Francisco, and a high-paying job as a financial systems analyst. So why isn't she happy? For three years- -since her divorce from the man who talked her into abandoning her art-furniture business in favor of a more lucrative career--Stella has had no serious love interest in her life. When her son, Quincy, flies off to visit his father, workaholic Stella spontaneously signs up for nine days alone at a resort in Jamaica. The last thing she expects to find is an unquenchable passion for a 20-year-old chef's assistant; on her return home, she discovers that she can't quite relegate her happy thoughts of Winston Shakespeare to the vacation-fling portion of her memory bank. So Stella arranges for Winston to visit her in San Francisco--where the easygoing boy charms her son, her sisters, and her friends, and even talks Stella into dumping the stock exchange and returning to her artist's life. Despite Stella's repeated protests that Winston must be out of his mind, there are few serious barriers to this MayOctober love affair. Long, run-on, train-of-consciousness sentences give the impression less of the characters' mental states than of a hastily written novel. One hopes McMillan will follow her heroine's example and slow down a little on her next book. (First printing of 750,000; serial rights to People and Essence; Book-of-the-Month Club main selection; author tour)