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A Private Affair

Quiet Storm by Donna Hill
(Genesis Press, $10.95, PG-13) ISBN 1-885478-29-1
Yes, one woman can make a difference...

Deanna Winters had it all. After completing her studies at Juilliard, she performed at the Metropolitan Opera. Deanna won three Grammy awards as a composer and classical jazz pianist who carved out her own niche in the music world. She was also a champion equestrian who won a Gold Cup in a riding competition in Surrey, England.

Then, a tragic riding accident blinded her. After a period of anger, denial and self-pity, Deanna decided to go on with her life and to make a difference for others. Using her reputation and finances, she established the Deanna Winters Foundation and Institute.

As Quiet Storm begins, Deanna Winters is about to receive a humanitarian award for the her charitable and philanthropic work with handicapped children. Major celebrities are in the attendance for the tribute. There are congratulatory words from the President of the United States and a poem by Maya Angelou.

Also in the audience are three very different men an actor, a businessman and a doctor whom Deanna affected in a personal way. Through the eyes of the men who love her, we learn who Deanna Winters really is. Which, if any, will she choose?

This is the fourth Donna Hill novel released this year. Donna Hill refuses to be pigeonholed. She has created a another novel unlike anything she's done before. Hill is forever pushing the envelope to expand her range and craft. She is not content to give her readers "the same old, same old." The writing is fresh, the approach new.

Quiet Storm is told in a series of four flashbacks by the men in her life and, finally by Deanna, herself. The narratives are straightforward and told in the third person.

We see Deanna emerge from a materially indulged, but emotionally neglected childhood into an abusive first love affair. She is pursued by Argentinean heartthrob actor Cordero Rodriquez Herrera, businessman Clay McDaniels and physician and researcher Dr. Marcus Chandler. Each man came in search of love, but each bore their own demons for Deanna to help exorcise. Deanna's version of the story explains her actions, fills in the blanks and brings the story to its logical conclusion.

Quiet Storm is a compelling story about love and second chances. As with most Donna Hill novels, family relationships are key elements of the plot. I have been deliberately vague in my plot synopsis. To reveal more, would give away Quiet Storm's essence.

Donna Hill is branching out into "message stories." In her author's note she says Quiet Storm is a story about "triumph over adversity and realizing that we, each of us, have the potential to be so much more than we give ourselves credit for. Unfortunately it often takes tragedy to make us realize it."

Quiet Storm is a good read.

--Gwendolyn Osborne

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