Revell, 2006 (2006)
Reviewed by Melissa Parcel
aya Joseph is ready to break out of her
shell. After suffering heartbreak over the past year, she put her dynamic personality and clothing under wraps and unobtrusively went about her job designing clothes and uniforms for
Garments of Praise
, a company owned by her friend Chenille. But Raya decides it's time to change - she dyes her afro white-blonde, dresses in pink, and tries to make her attitude match her look. Meeting gorgeous personal trainer Flex on the train serves to boost her ego. That is, until Raya discovers that her nemesis, Megan Arietta, may be involved with Flex.
lex is working through tragedies in his own life and is relying on God to see him through. Raya is the first woman who has caught his eye and appealed to his spirit in a long while. But misunderstandings and assumptions serve to keep them apart - unless God has plans that the two can't change.
is the first in the
Shades of Style
series, centered on the women who work at the
Garments of Praise
clothing design firm. Raya and Flex make an interesting couple. They both come into the relationship with preconceived notions about each other and about relationships in general. As each grows as a person, they are able to open up more and more to each other. The secondary characters give the story an incredible amount of depth. The storyline featuring Chenille's pregnancy is astonishingly realistic and heart-wrenching, as well as filled with faith.
nfortunately, neither Raya nor Flex is well developed. The reader isn't clued in to the circumstances of their pasts until well into the story, and even then it's not very detailed. Since this is a major plot point and the reason the two have difficulty forming relationships, a clearer explanation would have been helpful. Raya has serious issues with her family, yet this is never fully explained. It's almost like background chapters are missing.
arilynn Griffith is a writer to watch in African-American chick lit. Her voice is both unique and appealing. The humor and intriguing situations help to overshadow the shortcomings and make
a worthwhile read.
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