has also reviewed:

Hidden Blessings

A Resolution of Love
by Jacquelin Thomas
(Arabesque, $4.99, PG-13) ISBN 07860-0604-8
Hidden Blessings, author Jacquelin Thomas' ambitious first novel, was about the impact of acquaintance rape on a victim, her family and friends. Her second novel, A Resolution of Love, is Arabesque's first single title New Year's Eve story.

A Resolution of Love begins as three friends prepare to ring in the New Year together at a party. Each is hopeful that the New Year will bring good things. But L.A. medical examiner Daryl Larsen is on a mission. A five-year mission to find a man to boldly go where no man has gone before...to the altar. Daryl's friends marvel that she sets the table for two and has space in her closet reserved "for this husband she's waiting for." However, rigor mortis has set into Daryl's love life and she has asked for divine intervention.

"Remember when I went to that singles retreat with my church five years ago? Well, one of the things they talked about was finding your mate. My pastor's wife said when you pray for something, you thank God in advance and then you act as if you've already received it. She said that's how she got her husband."

At the party, she meets Sheldon Turner, a former professional basketball player. Rumor has it Sheldon thinks he's God's gift to women. And, despite warnings from family, friends and the tabloids about his reputation as a womanizer, Daryl believes that he's "the one." Daryl intrigues Sheldon and he chases her until she catches him.

Sheldon and Daryl settle into a very comfortable friendship. They spend quality time getting to know one another. Jacquelin Thomas has done a good job of defining the evolution of their relationship. However, at a midpoint, Daryl and Sheldon begin to seesaw and back pedal. The couple is sending mixed signals to each other and to the reader. It slows down an otherwise well paced narrative and plausible character development. Their relationship is further complicated by the appearance of an ex-girlfriend who can't seem to take "no" for an answer. Daryl is torn between believing her eyes and head or trusting her heart.

The ex-girlfriend is later found dead in her hotel suite, Sheldon is arrested and Daryl is the medical examiner on the case. At this point, the credibility alarms start to ring. It is hard to separate fact from fiction. In post O.J. Los Angeles, a medical examiner who is personally involved with a high-profile suspect wouldn't be allowed near the case. Once Daryl recognized the deceased, she did not recuse herself due to an obvious conflict of interest.

Resolution of Love is a very busy book. There are 2.5 secondary romances, lots of secondary characters and underlying plot lines that deal with domestic violence, faith and loyalty and acquaintance rape.

A Resolution of Love shows steady growth by author Jacquelin Thomas. Her underlying themes of faith, love and current social issues will strike a chord with many readers. I expect good things from her.

--Gwendolyn Osborne

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