by Tia Williams

April 2004
ISBN: 0-399-15201-6
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It’s been a while since I picked up an urban novel that I didn’t find riddled with ghetto stereotypes. During a nasty blizzard, I was stuck indoors with nothing to do, but cuddle up with Tia Williams’ urban-love novel, The Accidental Diva.

For Ms. Tia’s first time out, she made a very good impression on this sister. She introduces us to a fashionista-slash-perfectionista named Billie Burke. She’s the poster child for urban chic with her mother’s Southern-belle good looks and luxurious locks. She has two career-driven, wild gal pals to share her most intimate secrets, fears and dramas. And at the young age of 26, this African-American sister is the premiere beauty editor for one of the world’s leading beauty magazines and with the aid of her zany, Janice Dickinsonesque editor she may be promoted to a higher post.

With all these great things happening for Billie, what could she be possibly missing? The problem is it’s not what she’s missing it’s who. Jay Lane, to be more exact.

Jay is the quintessential urban-bad-boy-done-good. After dealing with the mean streets of his childhood projects, loosing both his parents to heroin and witnessing the brutal shooting of his tormented best friend as well as surviving his own external and internal demons. Mr. Lane takes his life’s lessons and writes a one-man show that becomes the toast of the New York theatre community. With the charm and wit of Taye Diggs and the street knowledge of rapper, 50-Cent, Jay is the urban-Renaissance Man. The kind of intellectual and thoughtful bad boy most women would love to take home and punish.

When the suburban-bred flower meets this gangster-turned-playwright collide, the sparks fly fast and furious, and the passion engulfs. However, when Billie discovers this missing counterpart she begins to loose perspective on her life goals and spirals into an emotional roller coaster. Jay also struggles to hide certain demons and persons from his past, who may want to break up his one shot at a real relationship. In the end, all the “happily-ever-afters” fall into place, but not before a searing session of angry thug-lovin’ that had this reader clutching her knees closed.

Ms. Williams does a great job of describing the emotional confusion Billie and Jay suffer in discovering and learning about new love. She also did a spectacular job in drawing us a gritty picture of Jay’s ‘hood. She dispelled with all the ghetto clichés and stereotypes that tend to dog other urban novels and drew characters that could be real people on any street corner or neighborhood. I felt Ms. William’s wrote an earnest accounting of ghetto-life through both the eyes of someone who has never been to the ghetto and those who endure and lived through it everyday.

If you’re in the mood for some hardcore thug-lovin’ with a passionate side, then pop in your new G-Unit CD and pick up Tia William’s debut novel, The Accidental Diva.

Reviewed in March 2005 by Cheena.

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