Kensington, Sep 2001, 24.00, 368 pp.
Almost two years ago, Carolee Burns was an international star playing jazz on a piano as few have ever done. The divorce from her painter-husband Kip would have been painful by itself. However, Kip used Carolee's touring while he stayed home with their child to gain custody of Faith. Kip never bothered to explain that it was Carolee's successes that allowed him studios in their home and that the nanny spent time with Faith not him.
Devastated and unable to play, Carolee rarely ventures in public anymore except for occasionally performing at a small club in the Seattle suburbs. Former pro football player Max Wolfe watches Carolee when she performs and sees in her face and her playing the pain of someone terribly hurt. He wants to help her overcome her anguish, but even as they fall in love, Carolee cannot afford anything to interfere with her goal: regaining custody of Faith.
TELL ME WHY is an exciting romantic suspense novel that could have been greater if the story line did not turn Kip from a Machiavellian manipulator into a malevolent person. The plot works at its best when Kip outmaneuvers Carolee and seems to nurture Faith. It remains quite exciting even when Kip turns into a villain, but loses some of the raw emotional edge. In spite of that rotation in the plot, readers will realize that Stella Cameron remains one of the sub-genre's top talents.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner