Review: When a Man Loves a Woman 2: A Love Divine

When a Man Loves a Woman 2: A Love Divine When a Man Loves a Woman 2: A Love Divine by Tumika Patrice Cain
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A Love Divine tells the story of Jacquie, a single full-figured, black female who must decide if she will grasp the sweet essence of life and love, or fall prey to the enemy of dread and comfort.

With the help of vivid dreams and memories of a not-so-distant past, Jacquie recalls a period in her life when she was a delicate, mindful, "starry-eyed" woman, believing as some women do, in fairytales. Longing for the love of a man and child, these desires manifest themselves in prophetic dreams. With the man and baby just beyond her reach, she shakes herself into the realization, so often broached upon by single, childless women, that enchanted romances are mere fables and do not come true. She accepts her fate of spinsterhood and resigns to live the characteristic life a single, Christian woman, where she finds solace in her friends and family.

One afternoon, flawless and aesthetic, Michael meanders into her life, causing an unexpected paradigm shift. Jauntily forging ahead, Michael and Jacquie embark on an emotionally-charged voyage, buoyed by love, selflessness, naiveté, and unparalleled faith. While sailing through the wave of love-filled bliss, an unkempt little boy enters her life. Yet, just as in the fairytales of her youth, something is a wry. Having a life sprinkled with the love she has longed for, Jacquie is not without woes and poor choices.

The essence of the story centers on listening to one’s authentic voice and believing dreams will come true. Quite often, in women’s contemporary fiction, readers find stories that are true representations of life and its adventures. This story chronicles the love affair between an older, full-figured woman and her younger, thinner lover. This enchanted affair is the dream of many, though enjoyed by few. Presenting this couple offers a unique perspective; however, it is not uncommon to observe this union in urban romantic fiction.

This work neatly fits into the urban romantic fiction subgenre, as it combines the best features of romance and urban literature. Due to the taboo nature of premarital sex and the minimization of the institution of marriage, it is disheartening to see this work classified as a Christian fiction. Written for women, this novel has brief moments where even a feminist would gag. The sheer focus on having a man and family in order to experience completeness takes away from subliminal messages emanating from the pages.

Structurally sound, the story flows evenly. The author strives, on the surface, to present alternating points of view for Jacquie, Jade, and Michael. While this was a nice feature, the story would have fared well in its absence. Furthermore, we learn about each of the characters, perhaps more than is necessary for the story to evolve. Yet, this allows the reader to relate, perhaps on a deeper level, to the major and minor characters.

Quite often women’s fiction seeks to shed light on popular issues. Providing the story with an urban flavor, Jade shares her story and plight. Sadly, she depicts a realistic picture, at least for those familiar with the struggles of drug addiction and parenting at a young age. The protagonist, Jacquie, is not quite as relatable. Painted as a moral, upstanding, career-oriented, single, Christian woman, she is quite naïve and self-righteous, at times.

Conservative Christians may balk at the notion of an author taking a demure woman, such as Jacquie, and allowing her to betray her path of moral rectitude. Nonetheless, the novel shares a pertinent message all can agree upon. Inspiration is not something you wait on; it is something you make. The inspiration to “find your bliss” lies in knowing and going after that which you connect with and feel incomplete without.

Reviewed for the Sankofa Literary Society. Book provided by the author or the publisher for review purposes.

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