Go to Homepage   Timmothy B. McCann: Until…

 

Avon Books (Trade Paperback),
ISBN#0-380-80579-0
As a white woman, I find myself of two minds about bookstores with separate sections for African-American fiction. I think it's great that minority readers can easily find books that reflect their lives and issues. But I worry that talented minority authors who deserve a larger audience (and the resulting larger royalties) won't get proper exposure.  

Timmothy B. McCann's first novel, Until…, makes the case in both directions. This charming, nonformula romance clearly targets an African-American audience. Yet I believe romance readers who are not African-American would find it a worthwhile and highly entertaining book. So let me start off by urging all romance fans, on your next visit to a bookstore, to take a small detour out of the romance section and track down Until…

Why? First of all, McCann writes extraordinarily well, with a strong sense of flow and an exceptional ear for dialogue. This man not only listened to the women around him, he absorbed what he heard. Unlike the many male authors who can't begin to craft a multi-dimensional female character, McCann gives us realistic women with depth, spirit, warmth and hope. His male characters show the same complexity. For that reason alone, McCann stands out. 

His heroine, attorney Betty Robinson, and her erstwhile soul mate, financial planner Drew Staley, keep each other at a distance for much of the book, building trust and friendship while fumbling through other, seemingly solid relationships. Betty loves a thoughtful and devoted man who runs a bakery, while Drew is still recovering from the devastating end of what he believed to be a once-in-a-lifetime romance.  

McCann ignores the girl-meets-boy, girl-loses-boy, girl-regains-boy formula of most romances and shows us love -- and distrust -- in various guises. How many ways can people attract and hurt one another? McCann offers several examples, allowing even his minor characters to display a wide range of emotions -- an aspect of the book that I found delightful. Until… relies on characterization more than plot, although I couldn't predict the resolution of the romance until just a few pages before the end. Betty's career crisis proved somewhat more transparent, but it was nonetheless fun watching her work her way through it. 

Quibbles, hmm. Yes, I had a handful. For example, Betty and her delightful friend Jacqui (who deserves her own book) talk about sex far more explicitly than any women I've ever heard. The book could also drop a cliché or two, and there seemed to be a last minute rewrite, which should've received a better final edit.  

But McCann's story drew me in from the very beginning, and I had a hard time setting this book aside. I'm looking forward to seeing his next effort, and I hope that however the publisher categorizes it, McCann gets the large audience his writing deserves. 

Elizabeth Sheley

Readers Respond

This past weekend I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. McCann at Montsho Bookstore in Orlando, Fla. And to just listen to him speak of his characters and writing process was breathtaking. He welcomed us into his world with such ease. His passion for writing seem to just be a beginning of great things to come. I can't wait.

Truly a fan.
Denise D. Cooper

I agreed with everything Liz said about Timm's book. I have read the sequel, Forever, and Until… is still my favorite. I did not like the fact that there was a murder in the latter book. I am looking forward to reading, Emotions.

eve hall

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