Crimson Footprints by Shewanda Pugh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Wow, wow, and triple wow! I absolutely love Deena, even though I can see why her family thinks she's uptight and uppity. But gosh, I can so relate to her as someone who never really belonged anywhere, always an outsider, always at arms length, and unable to let fly and be herself.
In steps confident, brash, and hedonistic Tak Takumi, who just happens to be Deena's boss's playboy son. Charming, rich, and NICE, Tak sweeps Deena off her feet in a whirlwind romantic tour around the United States. He indulges her, caters to her, understands her and puts up with her insecurities.
While Deena's busy proving her architectural genius to Tak's father and hiding Tak from her family craziness, she inadvertently hurts Tak, the source of her newfound confidence and well-being by denying him the validation he needs. Tak is pushed to the limits of his tolerance and love, and in one explosive moment, Deena comes face to face with life without him.
This story was multi-faceted in so many ways. Both families were mixed up and dysfunctional in so many ways. Secrets, vendettas, hatred and prejudice, guilt, regret, neglect, and abuse, cruel words, bitterness and the taint of murder simmer in a toxic mix of volatile emotions and riotous scenes.
Deena turns out to be stronger than she thought, and while not everything was resolved (which is as it should be), many relationships were repaired and Deena walks away richer with the love, acceptance and support she always craved.
Ms. Pugh portrayed Deena's family realistically with a touch of humor and a twinge of tragedy. I'm Chinese and that scene where they ragged on Chinese and Buddin' was a crack up. And I'm sorry, but I agree with Grandma Emma when she banged her fist to the table. There's more to say, but I think I'll interview Deena and Grandma Emma on my blog someday.
Other than needing a proofreading, some wrong words and grammatical errors, I rate this book highly. 4.5 stars. If you like the architectural detail you'll swim in it. Otherwise, it could be a bit slow. AND how the heck did they hide out 3 years with nosy relatives like Grandma Emma and Aunt Caroline???
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