Hitts and Mrs.
Lori Bryant-Woolridge
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Hitts and Mrs.

Lori Bryant-Woolridge
384 pages
January 2004
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Imagine the joy and excitement that surrounds an engagement party. Family and friends gather to offer congratulations to an elated couple. Now, envision the bride-to-be calling off the wedding right there, at the engagement party.

This is how Hitts & Mrs. by Lori Bryant-Woolridge begins. It grabs the reader immediately and proceeds through journeys of forbidden love, questionable friendships, emotional infidelity and self-discovery.

After a whirlwind romance, Melanie Hitts, a young, attractive interior designer, cancels her engagement to Will Freedman. Shortly thereafter she moves to New York where she is offered a great job opportunity with a small design firm with a growing reputation.

While avoiding Willís phone calls and emails, Melanie focuses on her career goal of becoming a world-class designer. Unexpectedly, she is forced to give a presentation to John Carlson, the owner and chief architect at Carlson and Tuck. During the presentation, John comes across as rude and combative, but Melanie holds her own, putting him in his place. Almost instantly, John finds himself attracted to Melanie. But how can that be? Heís fifty years old, married, and White. While Melanie is his opposite - thirty-two, single, and black.

With a desire to be closer to Melanie, John hires her firm and specifically requests to work with her on the Hotel Rico project. Working together awakens the creative spark in John that he thought he had lost, and Melanie receives the encouragement a mentor usually gives. The two share a love for art, but something else about John interests her. Perhaps itís the fact that sheís comfortable sharing her innermost thoughts with him.

Meanwhile, Will has not given up on Melanie. In fact, he emails Melanieís best friend, Candace, to stay in tune with Melanieís dating status. Ultimately, Melanie and Will give their relationship another try, but this time at a slower pace. However, she continues to have unexplained feelings for John.

Sharon, Johnís wife of twenty-three years, also has unexplained feelings for John. Perhaps these feelings are resentment, as John has dominated the marriage for years and talked her out of the idea of having children. She befriends a teenager who helps her to realize that she still longs to be a mother and that she may be harboring racist ideals.

Hitts & Mrs. is not your typical romance novel with an interracial theme; this book presents a unique storyline that challenges readers to think about the rules that society applies to certain relationships. Can you be in love with two people at once? Can two people have romantic feelings and remain in a platonic friendship? Although the pacing of the story was slow at times and certain action was predictable, this novel is definitely a literary hit.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Joan Burke Stanford, 2004

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