Mira, Jul 2002, 6.50, 448 pp.
In Valentine, Oklahoma, Marilee James wonders if she lost her mind accepting relatively new Valentine Voice editor and her boss Tate Halloway's proposal. She was married once before, but her former husband Stuart left her too many times for his overseas and other jaunts to photograph the world forcing her to raise her special ed son Willie Lee by herself. Marilee also mothers her abandoned niece Corrine. Still Tate is a nice guy and Marilee likes being with him and thinks she loves him, but has doubts about a lifetime.
Stuart has followed the Voice as much as possible because he has never forgotten Marilee. Now he comes to Valentine to see the woman he let get away for the first time in two years. His charisma makes Marilee wonder if she is marrying the wrong man as the steady but kind Tate seems pale in comparison.
The sequel to COLD TEA ON A HOT DAY, AT THE CORNER OF LOVE AND HEARTACHE, is an engaging contemporary small-town romance. The story line focuses on Marilee struggling to nurture her two charges, maintain her employment and other civic activities, plan for her wedding without any motherly help to smoothly cruise her through the prenuptial, and worse her feelings for the two adult men in her life. The characters make the tale work in a Running Scared style as the audience wonders who will Marilee choose, as both are good people. Will she select the steadfast almost boring fiancÚ, the dynamic undependable ex husband, or neither? To learn whom read Curtiss Ann Matlock's wonderfully warm tale.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner