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Keisha Allen
The Love Enthusiast

Adult; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Publish)

Amina ‘Badass’ Thompkins is a woman who defies time and embraces love with an unwavering spirit. In her fifties, she remains a timeless beauty, as a singer with an enchanting voice that captivates audiences, though she shies away from the limelight. Never having witnessed a man’s loyalty to a single woman, she seeks solace in unconventional relationships and leaves behind her true love, her husband, for a bandmate. Haunted by her own painful experiences, not only does she have to navigate the treacherous waters of love but also the complex relationship with her mother. Puzzled by her mother’s differential treatment toward her and her older sister, she questions the secrets hidden within their family dynamics. Now, she is plagued with a longing to reconcile with her ex-husband, yet her deep–seated mistrust threatens to sabotage their second chance at love. Additionally, the consequences of her past actions return to haunt her, turning her life upside down and causing her to question her faith in love itself. In a quest for true happiness, she must confront the ghosts of her past, navigating the complexities of forgiveness, self-discovery, and the healing power of love. Will she find the answers she seeks and rediscover the melody of love that once resonated within her soul? The Love Enthusiast is a poignant tale of resilience, and the indomitable spirit of a woman determined to love, despite the odds stacked against her. It is the second standalone novel in the Worth the Weight: A Love Like No Other series.
Allen’s stand-alone sophomore novel explores intricate, sometimes unconventional relationships between lovers, mothers, family, and friends, through the eyes of Amina “Badass” Thompkins. She is a timeless beauty, an enchanting singer and songwriter bold enough to forego a “a good ole regular career” and other societal expectations. She’s also someone who has never witnessed a man truly proving himself loyal to one woman. “No man could ever be faithful, as far as I was concerned,” she declares in an irresistible straight-talking voice. “Period, point blank. That was my truth.” Shaken by her husband Khalil’s unfaithfulness, Amina—the mother of Anisa, protagonist of Allen’s debut, Worth the Weight—seeks comfort with a bandmate, Adebayo, who caters to her needs in a time of upheaval. Despite her continued love for Khalil, the couple divorces, turning Amina and Khalil into friends with parenting responsibilities for their three daughters.

Amina is torn between Adebayo’s desire for permanency and her irrepressible love for Khalil, as she and Adebayo agree to an open partnership as she believes “one size doesn’t fit all.” The dishy, conversational novel follows Amina’s visits to a therapist to affirm her need for openness, love, and sex. Allen captures, in engaging dialogue, Amina’s search for answers as she navigates complex emotions. Amina has each man’s love and attention but her struggle to choose a new path is relatable.

Family relationships are tested, too, as her daughters’ choices challenge the entire family. Amina continually battles with her mother, and social interactions are battle fields with dialogue used as deadly ammunition, every syllable shooting pain in both directions. In the end, Allen challenges expectations both of the romance genre and of society, as Amina begins to wonder whether traditional, monogamous relationships are the best way to meet everyone’s needs in our erratic world, and the novel celebrates Black love and builds to a satisfying but pointedly unorthodox happy ending.

Takeaway: Touching novel of resilience, love, and unconventional relationships.

Comparable Titles: Tay Mo’Nae; Anna Zabo’s Outside the Lines.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A