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An Ordinary Woman: A Novel Paperback – October 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; First Edition edition (October 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312307292
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312307295
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,422,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Commitment and betrayal are the themes of this gracefully written novel by the author of Rhythms. Lisa Holden and Asha Woods have been best friends since the day they struck up a conversation as 12-year-old neighbors in an African-American enclave in Brooklyn. Like yin and yang, they have different personalities and dreams. Raised within a stable family, Lisa is now an English professor who always looks before she leaps; Asha, the product of a dysfunctional upbringing, is a worldly photographer who lives life spontaneously. When Lisa finds and weds her Prince Charming, architect Ross Davis, both women worry that the marriage will affect their relationship. Meanwhile, Ross, who is accustomed to taking care of the women in his life, feels emasculated by Lisa's control over their marriage. When Ross loses his job and Asha has a confrontation with her mother, they turn to each other for comfort and share one night together without considering the consequences. It doesn't take Lisa long to suspect the worst and to discover the truth. Similar betrayals have fueled innumerable plots, but Hill handles the emotional drama well, demonstrating that actions have long-lasting consequences. While the narrative should have broad appeal as a chronicle of human relationships, Hill uses good background detail to make the story more effective for her African-American core audience, introducing such issues as a white student's animosity toward a black professor, for example. Her thoughtful approach invests the love story with greater meaning.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Betrayal is at the core of Hill's (Rhythms) latest novel, as new bride Asha confronts the love affair between her best friend and her husband. Each character relates his or her side of the story.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

My official writing career began in 1987 when my first short story was published. My first novel, Rooms of the Heart was published in 1990. Since then there have been a slew of books and short stories that I've had published, from romance to women's fiction, chic-lit, erotica and mysteries. I enjoy them all. Three of my novels were adapted for television so that was exciting. I've had the honor of conceptualizing and editing several collections: After the Vows, Midnight Clear, Where There's a Will, Indecent Exposure, and The Hot Spot. I currently write full time and live in Brooklyn, NY with my family.

Customer Reviews

The characters were very well developed.
J.C. Wallington
In a way I thought it was kind of sad to see a lifetime of friendship going down the drain like that.
deenice
This was an emotional story of friendship, love and the ultimate betrayal.
"shoppnmama-aol"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Reader on October 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
One of the most important relationships women form, are friendships with their best friend. It is a bond that is sacred and difficult to destroy. In one of Donna Hill's finest stories, in my opinion, we watch as infidelity cripples the lives of the three main characters. Asha, is our self-assured, strong-willed, worldly and life of the party character. She meets Lisa when they are both young and they become in essence, not only best friends, but sisters. Lisa is our shy, good girl, and hopeless romantic who through two failed engagements finds Mr. Right. Mr. Right is Ross, an architect, who exhibits strength by taking on and handling responsibility as well as being a strong family man.
Ms. Hill takes us on a journey as we examine the cracks in the facades of each character. The reader will ask how could Asha sleep with Lisa's, her best friend, husband? How could Asha hurt her best friend? Asha is not so perfect. Lisa seems to have forgotten that marriage is not about what she wants but a partnership. And Ross has lost himself in making Lisa happy. The issues each faces inevitably leads to the betrayal of a friend and wife. Each character learns a lesson and they are able to finally look into themselves to recognize their faults and move forward.
The reader will empathize with all three main characters. What we have is an ordinary woman who made a mistake.
Well written and a provocative story that tackles a sensitive issue. This is one of my favorite Donna Hill novels. This is a must read!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By SCBC, Inc. on September 21, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is an awesome story about friendship, love and betrayal. It's filled with the kind of soul-searching self-revelation that most of us shy away from but it makes the book very poignant and realistic. I feel that every woman who reads this book will see herself in one of the main characters: Lisa with her safe, organized approach to life, or Asha with her spontaneous free spirit. This is a great story and one that takes the reader on a personal journey of self-knowledge. Bravo Ms. Hill!!!! -ES
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Alvin C. Romer on December 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover
It's rapidly becoming commonplace not to include any book written by Donna Hill as `ordinary', especially after having penned 17 novels with a reputation fastly being attributed to her ability to craft page turning storylines. Her latest, An Ordinary Woman adds to this legacy and is destined to be compared favorably with Rhythms, her last. How do two women, the best of friends...sharing common bonds and sacred secrets allow division among the ranks seemingly beyond repair? I've read several of Donna's books and this is one of her best (not that Rhythms was any slouch).
This is a tale of Ash Woods and Lisa Holden, childhood friends and surrogate sisters, and. Ross Davis who marries Lisa. Inseparable? Friends for life? The intent was good, but what brought the tension to a head and caused havoc were two incidents that proved to be caustic was Lisa's marriage and Asha's disastrous confrontation with her mother. In order to get the gist and ramification of these two occurrences consider that the colors Ms Hill uses to illustrate the characters truly makes a believable and compelling tale come to life. The canvas used in painting this picture is one where we're allowed to examine with baited breath all the cracks in the facades of each character, and be put in position to ask questions on how can one sleep with her best friends' husband. The issues that the three face add tone, tenor, and temerity to a situation rife with betrayal and commitment gone awry.
One of the features that make this novel a good read is the style in which it was written, using alternative voices of the main characters to tell their side of the story.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Editor Dean on October 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Love plus commitment divided by betrayal equals destruction, resulting in the one person that you least suspect being the very person that destroys your life.
Donna Hill, author extraordinaire and Essence Bestselling Author, has composed a "lesson to be learned" tale that shares the lives of three closely-knit friends whose lives are disrupted by one meaningless, yet hurtful act.

Lisa, the calm and conservative professor, comes from a very stable upbringing. In hopes of having her marriage to Ross emulate the loving and doting marriage that is shared between her mother and father, Lisa consumes herself with planning her life down to the minutest details. Ever since childhood, she has been a stickler for perfection and organization. Lisa, though, does not realize how her high expectations and detailed preparations are eating away at her husband's ego. However, all the planning in the world couldn't prepare Lisa for the event that was about to upset her world - the betrayal of her husband and best friend.
Asha, the footloose and fancy-free photographer, lives life to the fullest by living spontaneously. Although she appears to be happy and content on the outside, Asha is at a constant struggle within herself to find love and acceptance. As different as night and day, Asha and Lisa have remained the best of friends since childhood. Coming from a single parent, dysfunctional home, Asha finds comfort and affection in the close relationship that she shares with Lisa and Lisa's family. Unknown to others, she secretly desires and admires Lisa's life-devoted family, devoted husband, etc. Over the years, Asha has had numerous insignificant affairs and used many people in an attempt to fill a void of worthlessness that she experiences in her life and that she depicts in her photographs.
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