“He’s just a guy; she’s just a girl. They’re just falling in love.” Spoken by the author herself in a pre-release video message, these words are a very apt description for the plot of Something Like Love. The story, which is the sixth book in the Serendipitous Love series, takes a refreshing look at love and sexuality through the courtship between Eddie and Astrid.
Eddie holds a generally one-sided animosity toward Astrid, who for her part just seems to be amused. She’s not quite sure where the hostility came from, but quickly decides Eddie’s just mad because he wants her. The problem is that both of them have more or less sworn off relationships. Sure, they’re up for no-strings-attached arrangements, but finding someone who can be with them and accept them for who they are is just not in the picture. So the fact that they keep bumping into each other seems, at least to Astrid, kismet. I was happy to see them explore their obvious attraction, and appreciated the story that came from it.
What makes Something Like Love really stand out is that its main characters are both bisexual. This departure from Jones’ typical pairing is refreshing and, in my opinion, approached with sensitivity and honesty. Both Astrid and Eddie have had to contend with their fluid sexuality being a problem for those around them, so much so that they’ve both decided to take a step back. As a black bisexual man, Eddie has gotten used to his masculinity being challenged. Understandably, his patience has worn thin with potential partners who constantly question his fidelity or are in constant fear of wanting someone “from the other team.” He never backs down when people get out of pocket with him, but he also discerns when to not bother.
Jones was able to present these challenges and Eddie’s response to them in a way that addressed cultural perceptions and about bisexuality and the nuanced beliefs about black men in particular. There’s a scene in a barbershop that I felt was very representative of common challenges – a bi or gay man not being seen as masculine enough, accepting someone’s sexuality by ignoring it, and outright hostility/violence. Later, Eddie’s sexuality becomes Astrid’s “problem” when so-called concerned citizens take it upon themselves to warn her about his preferences. I was shocked that Jones was so honest in portraying homophobia within the black community, and was pleased that she countered that with actual facts in a way that was challenging of stereotypes but subtle and natural in delivery.
As always, the story itself is packed with drama, hot sex, and a vibrant neighborhood of colorful characters from her other books. They provide the comic relief that kept the story from being too heavy, while also providing myriad viewpoints about the characters’ approaches to their situation. I still want to know where these people live, because I’m immediately moving in next door. There’s also some more from Astrid’s sister Aurielle, that I hope is a set-up for a new book. I definitely recommend Something Like Love, and I think it’s a standout in the series.