When Love Aint Enough by Vivian M. Kelly (May 2008 Pick of the Month)

Publisher/Date:  Gritz N Eggs Production, Apr. 2006
Genre:  Romance
Pages: 488
Website:  http://www.vivianmkelly.com

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

We’ve all suffered through the media’s obsession with black men on the DL, but what about sistahs on the down low, keeping their lesbian affairs hush-hush while using their heterosexual relationships as a cover?

That’s what Casey Banks contends with as you read WHEN LOVE AINT ENOUGH, the debut novel from writer Vivian M. Kelly. When we first meet Casey, she’s strung out over her longtime-lover Jade, who left to her marry a NBA superstar. Devastation overtakes her heart – along with glasses of Cognac and the sounds of Luther Vandross – and drowns her in despair. In her heartbroken haze, Casey recalls the road that led her to this low in her life.

A childhood filled with hidden desires, Casey always felt she could never act on her feelings for women. She carried her longing in a secret place, until she fell in love with her college sweetheart Nahdia, and knew she had to be herself. Yet, as quickly as love came, it faded as tragedy struck the happy couple.

Afterward Casey became emotionally numb, and time passes before she can open herself up again. She believes she could never find the connection she had with Nahdia, and it’s proven when she puts herself in trifling situations to have someone in her life. No one values her sensitive side, the one that will do anything for the right woman.

Now a promising new attorney at prestigious Norfolk law firm, Casey believes she’s found the perfect partner in Jade. A TV executive, Jade is everything Casey’s been looking for: beautiful, smart, and seemingly together. They truly enjoy each other’s company, whenever Jade can spare it. Jade doesn’t acknowledge their relationship publicly, and won’t admit that she’s gay – except when Casey’s between her legs.

To make matters worse, Jade doesn’t bother to let go her ex-boyfriend b-ball player, and doesn’t make any apologies for it to Casey. For Jade to treat their relationship like a dirty little secret leads to Casey’s depression and loss of self-esteem. She can’t handle it seeing the woman she loves in the arms of someone else. Can she pull herself together to see the writing on the wall?

Kelly’s novel proves love is definitely not enough to keep someone who doesn’t want to be kept. Jade strung Casey to the point that I was sick of her. Grammatical errors aside, you’ll get more involved with every page, and there are almost 500 pages to get through. When Love Aint Enough effectively demonstrates the expression love is blind, but anyone who’s been in Casey’s shoes will realize that your own sanity is more important than believing in empty promises.

Reviewed May 2008