When I read Trisha Thomas’s first novel, Nappily Ever After, I was fairly impressed. The story was about a black woman doing something that most black woman don’t dare to do, and, coincidently, something that I had recently done myself: saying goodbye to the chemical relaxer and living happily, nappily ever after. When Dr. Clint Fairchild, Venus Johnston’s boyfriend of four years, didn’t propose at a pivotal moment, she knew she had to change her path. Being what everyone else wanted her to be wasn’t working, so she decided to become the person that she wanted to be instead.
Would I Lie to You? is the sequel to Nappily Ever After. Two years later, Venus Johnston has moved from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles. She’s still sporting her fro, her career is going great, and she’s in love. (Sort of.) She is engaged to Airic (the spelling of this man’s name annoyed me every single time I looked at it), a successful software maker and entrepreneur. Airic’s still living in D.C., making it suddenly a long distance relationship, and they’ve been unable to set a wedding date for over a year. Venus is already worried/frustrated by the relationship. Are she and Airic really right for each other? Why is it so hard for him to find the time to call her, or answer his phone when she calls him? And is she settling for a relationship with no passion, or is she making the smart decision – to be with a loyal, intelligent man who will make a great father?
So when Venus finds herself working alongside a smart, successful, sexy, and sensitive rap star-turned-clothing-designer-and-entrepreneur, level-headed Venus is a little lost on the “right” thing to do. This beautiful co-worker, Jake Parsons, knows what he wants, and he’s patient. He makes his interest known, but in the meantime, he’s willing to wait for Venus to figure things out. And he’s willing to be there, physically and emotionally, for a panicked, angry Venus as her mother discovers that she has breast cancer and begins treatment. Vulnerable Venus knows she has Airic, but something is missing in that relationship, and that “something” she seems to be finding in the company of Jake Parsons. Even though she’s still wearing Airic’s diamond engagement ring on her finger.
Who does Venus want to give her heart to? Airic? Jake? Or Clint Fairchild, who is still showing up in her path? Well, I’ll just let you take a guess. It’s a good story, but there aren’t really any surprises in the plot. Oh, maybe there was one, near the end. But it’s a good surprise.
The bottom line: Would I Lie To You? is real and engaging, and the characters were thoroughly likable, even if Jake seemed a little too good to be true. The writing was pretty clear, although there were some parts where I though that the sequence of events was unclear or rushed. Characters weren’t always clearly introduced. I suspect it would help to have read Nappily Ever After before reading this book. (Or see the movie – I think that Nappily Ever After is still scheduled to be made into a movie starring Halle Berry.)
And once again, I admit that I don’t get the title. Would who lie to whom? Would Venus lie to Airic? Well, yeah. I mean, he doesn’t ask outright, but she does cheat on her fiancé, and she does not tell him about it. Would Airic lie to Venus? Yeah, but I’ll let you read the details. (He didn’t cheat, though.) Jake doesn’t lie to anybody. (Like I said, too good to be true.) But whatever the title might signify, I wouldn’t lie to you. This is a good book, about a real, admirable black woman. Nothing ghetto fabulous, nothing bling, no aspiring divas. Buy it, read it, pass it on.