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A Private Affair

Rooms of the Heart by Donna Hill
(Genesis Press, $4.99, PG-13) ISBN 1-885478-41-0
It's a great time to be a Donna Hill fan. She's a triple threat with not one, but three new releases currently on bookstore shelves. Genesis Press has reissued Donna Hill's first novel, written in 1990. Rooms of the Heart was one of the first titles published by another African-American publishing house, Odyssey Books.

Rooms of the Heart is a novel of misunderstandings and second chances.

Interior designer Tempest Dailey and architect Braxton Thorne first met as students on the University of Virginia campus. Braxton had admired her from afar, afraid to make his move. When an academic opportunity presented itself, he asked for Tempest's help with his thesis. Theirs was a passionate relationship until family loyalties and obligations came between them.

Their paths cross years later. They are married...to other people. Ironically, it is David Lang, Tempest's husband and business partner, who brings Braxton in to consult on a major project, unaware of their history. David and Tempest's marriage is already on the rocks.

The old sparks are rekindled. The triangle is drawn. But David needs Tempest to create the image of a happy family to enhance his political and professional ambition. He will stop at nothing to keep her. The triangle takes on yet another dimension when Braxton's wife, Jasmine enters the picture.

Rooms of the Heart is classic Donna Hill. After an early career writing short stories and columns for romance magazines, Hill hit the ground running with her first novel. While she has definitely grown as a writer in the last eight years, the themes and plot devices Donna Hill fans have come to expect are evident even in this early work.

Rooms of the Heart has been out of print for several years. This book is a necessary part of any Donna Hill aficionado's collection.

Did Braxton and Tempest live happily ever after? Hill reprises the characters in secondary roles in her most Arabesque novel, Charade.

--Gwendolyn Osborne

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