Critics have compared her work to that of Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, but J. California Cooper has a warm, witty style that's definitely her own. Each of her short stories is a gem of downhome wisdom, polished with a bit of gossip, some heartbreak, and lots of humor. In "Funny Valentines" a "simple" woman draws one heart on Valentine's Day and divides it among the people she loves, until all but one of them lies in the cemetery. "Living" portrays a man in midlife crisis who leaves his loving wife and pleasant country home for a taste of high city living and returns with a new perspective on life. "Spooks" is the tongue-in-cheek tale of a man who masquerades as a ghost in order to outsmart an unscrupulous suitor and win the heart of a vulnerable widow. Sometimes sad, sometimes funny, and always touching, J. California Cooper's characters enlighten us and enrich us as they find love in unlikely places. The warm narrations give readers a sense of chatting with nosy but well-meaning neighbors over the back fence.