Desert Isle Keeper
Thirty-four year old Mya Williams’ romantic relationships suffer from the lack of a positive male role model in her life. Her father has made a habit out of cheating on her mother. Her brother Mark is turning out to be just as much a player as his father. Her 64 year old Uncle Brother has left his wife of forty-two years and their four adult daughters to take up residence with 20 year old Kay Kay McKinney (who can only be described as a hoochie mama) and their two year old son. Kay Kay is pregnant again and Uncle Brother knows it’s not his.
Mya’s boyfriend of two years has dumped her, leaving her to question whether he truly loved her and whether real love is supposed to hurt. Her friend Gail tries to convince her that what Vincent felt couldn’t be real love. But years of witnessing her parents distorted relationship, her mother’s desperate love for her father which he casually tosses aside, have formed the only image Mya has of what constitutes true love.
She then meets Jeff Gingham. Jeff is everything the men in her life haven’t been – kind, considerate, truthful, faithful. He knows what he wants and what he wants is Mya. But, she has no faith in Jeff’s love. As his love doesn’t fit her perception of real love, she cannot bring herself to fully love him.
Then she commits an unforgivable act that rips their world apart. Mya must now look inside herself to understand what forces drove her to destroy something so precious. And she must achieve the most important goal of her life, to learn to love herself so that she can love someone else.
Warm Hands hit entirely too close to home, but it is also uplifting and inspiring. Author Johnson-Hodge is eloquent in expressing Mya’s pain and confusion. I experienced a strong sense of sisterhood as Mya’s friends rallied around to help her through her crises. Even Kay Kay has an epiphany and becomes a force for good instead of evil. But the most touching moment for me was Mya’s “love thyself” ceremony. Performing that beautiful ritual would cause anyone to fall in love with themselves.
However, the most important aspect of the book is that it is real. When it comes to love, too many of us women settle for less than what we deserve, because we feel we deserve nothing better. Though it is fiction, Ms. Johnson-Hodge gets to the heart of the matter and shows us a path to redemption. Perhaps it should become required reading for those with little self-esteem.