By Roberta Austin
Dec 6, 2006 - 3:10:00 AM

Nona has worked hard to get to where she is today. She and her business partner, Alan, own Brickhouse, a gym that is one of the best around and has certainly helped the Harlem neighborhood where it is located. Nona has become a recognized celebrity with her workout videos. While wealth and fame are fabulous rewards for hard work, Nona fears all she has built could come crashing down. Unscrupulous politicians and their plans could bring the demise of Brickhouse.

Unknown to Nona, Alan has become involved in the swirl of scandal and the secrets he hides could be the downfall for them both.  Nona is having to cope with not only her business issue, but personal ones, too. Her daughter, Kelly, seems to be developing an eating disorder after a mean-spirited caption by a newspaper reporter. Nona's best friend, Leila, is dealing with the painful unraveling of her marriage to a basketball superstar. Nona is losing hope as she is swept into a downward spiral of intrigue and deceit.
Nona has been a single mom since her own divorce, but she is attracted to Derrick and wonders if the redemptive power of love can bring some peace to her hectic life. Nona is a strong heroine, but her vulnerability and love of others make her engaging. All the characters are well fleshed out and believable. The dialog has an authentic ring.
Although marketed to an African-American audience, BRICKHOUSE has universal themes that will appeal to all readers. There is a potent blend of romance and love of family and friends. Serious issues such as eating disorders and steroida buse are addressed in a compelling manner. Ms. Ewing has created a story that is both entertaining and thought provoking. I will be looking forward to her next novel.

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