For the Love of April French

Carina Adores. Aug. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9781335630995. pap. $14.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
DEBUT When April French first hooks up with new-dom-in-town Dennis Martin, she thinks she knows what to expect. She’s used to having brief flings with new attendees at the kink club before they get serious with someone else. Dennis and April have an instant connection and enjoy playing together, but each is recovering from a marriage soured by harmful power dynamics. They want to do this relationship right. She’s in therapy; he gets a kink mentor. They’re curious to learn about each other’s experiences—April is a submissive white trans woman and Dennis is a dominant Black cis man (and secret millionaire). Can they develop the trust and confidence to ask for the exclusive relationship they both secretly want? Aimes plays with chronology in the middle of the book: readers follow April for six months, then jump back to see Dennis’s perspective of the same period. The format can get repetitive, but it mirrors the characters’ separation and delivers some of the delayed gratification they so enjoy.
VERDICT Both April and Dennis are thoughtful and introspective, so Aimes’s debut novel can lean heavily on explanation. Wealth solves most of the external conflict; it’s the internal character development, supported by diverse and well-developed communities of friends, that shines.
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