For the Love of April French is an immensely readable book with a strong authorial voice that is a wonderful fluffy romance playing in the D/s kink realm. It’s the story of April and Dennis who have a temporary no-strings sex agreement, but Dennis is secretly trying to woo April, which is a great trope to build an emotions-first BDSM romance around.
Dennis and April are wonderfully flawed and human characters. Aimes writes with her characters humanities front and center. April and Dennis can be easily broken down into their demographics, but that dramatically undersells the characterization that is achieved. Those demographics matter – and the characters deal with them, and the ways they have built their experience of the world – but Aimes steadfastly builds a full picture of each character’s humanity, which is always a treat to find in any book, but especially in a debut.
This book is about a love story, but it’s also a story about growth. Each character actively chooses to change, to grow, including both going to therapy. Dennis’s path sees him starting the book very insecure after horrifically messing up his marriage which he takes responsibility for, and Aimes lets that be what we know – that he fucked up, there is no equivocating about it. Dennis gets a kink mentor and educates himself both about his preferred kink and issues surrounding trans women. Best of all when he screws up (because everyone screws up… again we’re human), he owns the error and does better. April is a trans woman with a fair amount of insecurity and trauma because the world is not a kind place to trans, genderqueer, and non-binary folks. She’s a smart, attractive heroine who is nevertheless unrepentantly insecure. She’s been hurt many times and has built a way of moving through the world designed to protect her from hoping for too much, and throughout the work we see her learn to accept the sort of care and support that she has been pouring into her friends for years, and more importantly accept it from her romantic partner.