Winter Nights

Francis Ray, Author, Ray Hill Hailstock, Author, Ray Hailstock, Author Arabesque $22 (300p) ISBN 978-1-57566-369-2
Readers willing to indulge in fairy-tale endings, relentless holiday goodwill and romance as mushy as Gramma's cornbread stuffing may enjoy these three stories packaged in a holiday volume aimed at the African American romance audience. Ray's ""Until Christmas,"" features a heroine whose career path borders on camp. Accountant Samantha dislikes the ""backbiting office atmosphere"" and, instead, aspires to the position of housekeeper for a high-school principal and his two sons. Samantha's beauty, unfailing kindness and near-mythic cooking ability ensure a happy ending. In Hailstock's ""Kwanzaa Angel,"" Erin has remained in her hometown after college to purchase her very own department store. Even harder to believe than this feat is her lingering wound at having been stood up 16 years earlier at the prom--and her lasting crush on the cad himself. Perfunctory Kwanzaa rituals strewn throughout explain the title. In ""Round Midnight,"" Hill at least adds some snappy dialogue and prose, both of which are sorely missing from the first two stories. The protagonist, a female psychiatrist, hosts a late-night radio advice show, complete with R&B songs corresponding to the evening's topic. Few readers will buy the shrink's choice of romantic partner, who turns out to be a creep. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/30/1998
Release date: 12/01/1998
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