Published by Kimani Romance (Harlequin) Genres: African American Romance
Format: eBook, Paperback
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A desire they never imagined…
New Orleans has always been a musical city, and April Knight quickly fell under its spell. Despite the challenges of poverty and disillusionment, April defied everyone to realize her dream of becoming a celebrated cellist. Buoyed by her success, she's returned to the Ninth Ward to share her encouragement and enthusiasm with the local youth, unaware of a new passion that awaits.
Years ago, Damien Alexander encouraged April to follow her ambitions, even as he followed his own. Now he has the opportunity to revitalize his old neighborhood, and he needs April's grace and charm to woo investors. Instead of the platonic arrangement they expected, a swift and intense spark of attraction suddenly changes the dynamic of their relationship. Will they be able to help their community and answer the sweet, sweet melody of love?
I must say, there are few authors that I would read despite the fact that I know, going in, that I’m going to fight with myself over the trope. In Romancelandia, we have certain ‘arrangements’ or couplings. The ‘Pretend to Date’ trope is one I almost never read, so ONLY FOR FARRAH would I pick up a book that I think I am going to dislike and actually read it.
And you know, I enjoyed it. Mostly because Farrah didn’t beat the ‘fake relationship’ drum too hard. The hero and heroine, Damian and April, are old friends from high school who reconnect when both relocate to New Orleans post Katrina. Damian is looking to avoid being a target after having been declared a top bachelor by a local magazine; April needs Damien’s help mentoring the youth at A Fresh Start Youth Center, an organization that she runs that is in need of funding.
Wrapped up in this loosely applied trope is a long festering attraction to one another, which turns this story into more of a ‘friends to lovers’ story, which I like a lot. I find the getting to know you period of dating to be tiresome and tedious. I rather like the idea of falling for someone who knows you better than you know yourself.
I find as well that I love Rochon’s post Katrina novels. We are more than ten years past the storm and many have not returned to New Orleans. There’s still much work to be done and I feel as if this author means to keep reminding us that the city is in a state of revival and renewing and rebuilding, even if it doesn’t seem that way, even if you’ve forgotten, even if they aren’t in the news every day. I’ve really appreciated Farrah bringing this vibrant, magical city to life in every book. I was also much appreciative of the statement that was made in this novel– that N.O. needs PARTNERS, not money hungry developers to come in and kick people out, tear things down and build things shiny and new as if there was never history there. N.O. needs help restoring it’s former glory, not covering up it’s past.
In all an enjoyable read! I always look forward to a new Farrah Rochon novel, whether it’s an indie release or through Harlequin Kimani. If you like realistic black romance stories, Farrah is hard to beat!