Signet, Sep 2002, 6.99, 344 pp.
Roxanne Steele knows her life has turned out NEAR PERFECT as she loves her spouse and knows Jamal reciprocates. Jamal's work as a professional football player has enabled Roxanne to have financial security. The only thing Roxanne lacks is a child though not for the lack of trying, but her need has turned obsessive and caused a clink in her relationship with Jamal.
Jamal becomes involved with stripper Honey Brown who threatens him with a paternity suit. He does not worry about himself bur fears the impact on Roxanne if she learns the truth as all her previous relationships were filled with deceptions so that trust is critical to her. Tragedy strikes when Jamal dies from a stroke. When Roxanne learns about Jamal's indiscretion, she turns to her best friends for solace and ultimately to her deceased spouse's teammate Linc Weaver. As she recovers from Jamal's death and his impropriety, she falls in love with Linc, but also finds out he knew and wonders how she can trust someone who hid the truth from her.
NEAR PERFECT is an entertaining contemporary character driven tale. The audience understands what makes Roxanne who she is with her high standards of morality and her quick to dismiss those who fail to attain and maintain her level. Fans of modern day relationship dramas will relish Sharon Mitchell's insightful novel, but will appreciate the cast more by reading the prequel NOTHING BUT THE RENT first as the support characters become better understood though this book can stand alone. Fans will want more stories starring the other members of the sisterhood quartet with fewer gaps between publications.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner