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Ita's 1984, and four young lives intersect in Testimony, Ohio, with one of the four, Diana, becoming the victim of rape. After introducing her major characters and a central issue, Griffith (Shades of Style series) jumps ahead to 2005, when Diana, now going by her middle name Grace, returns to her hometown, and her troubled past, to teach at a charter school for challenging teens the system is about to give up on. The book is all about relationships: their changes, their remarkable endurance, their power to nurture. Grace and ministera's daughter Zeely are close friends; Grace and her teaching colleague Brian become quickly entangled in a halting but inevitable romance; lawyer Ron, who was like Briana's brother when the two were young, is engaged to Mindy but has been carrying the torch for Zeely. Interracial romance allows Griffith to engage racism as a force affecting her characters; the town of Testimony also got its name from the $500 exacted before a black fleeing slavery would be allowed to settle in the area. The book is thickly plotted, perhaps too thickly-some connections between characters and events strain credibility. Nor is everything resolved, since therea's a sequel in the offing. Griffitha's dialogue is engaging and her major characters deeply memorable; she deserves a wide audience. (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.