Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
I’m intrigued with Christina Hovland. Each writer has a fingerprint in the writing world, a voice that is their own. Rom-com writers especially tend to have a type of quirk that intrigues their readers. This is Christina Hovland. I first discovered it in her Rachel, Out of Office, and I found myself drawn to it. In her newest story, April May Fall, there is definitely more of this unique voice. Page after page, you find quirky auxiliary characters, a hero who needs a heroine to make his life messy, and a heroine who needs him to help her blossom again. It makes for a story that tugs at your heartstrings, while also making you laugh at the decidedly crazy antics of its characters.
April May Fall is a story about a woman who has lost her sense of self after a devastating divorce. With an ex-husband who has “checked out” of his former life, the “Calm Mom” no longer has her chill. She’s struggling to raise her three children while growing her influencer brand, the Calm Mom. Unfortunately, the cracks show, and she finds herself in an embarrassing situation. Her management, namely Jack, the brother of Rachel from Hovland’s first book, steps in to assist her in “finding herself” again while protecting her brand. He helps her breathe again, he helps her remember her inner strength, and he watches her bloom again, while also falling in love with her and her three children. The man who likes a structured, buttoned-up life, realizes that life is better when it feels lived in. And he finds a new home in April over the course of Hovland’s story.
What I loved the best about this story isn’t Jack’s guidance. It would be reductive to think he is the only impetus for helping April remember what makes her her. Instead, Jack simply listens and reminds her of who she was before. Even more, Hovland has creatively written a cavalcade of women who also inject support and love into April’s life. From her crazy, out-of-control neighbor, Kitty who acts as a matchmaker to April’s next-door neighbors, Simone and Yelena, to Jack’s sister and April’s friend, Rachel, each woman provides April with something she needs to help her find herself again. When these women are together in the story, it feels both out of control and supportive, and the community of women is honestly my favorite part of April May Fall.
Ultimately, though, it’s the interrogation of motherhood and womanhood that makes this story special. We live in a world where mothers are supposed to “act” a certain way, and there is so much judgment in mommy communities. April has a great monologue at the end of this story that speaks the truth as it relates to the roles of women and motherhood, and this is the piece de resistance of the book.
If I’d have any criticism of the book, it would be the comedy aspects of it. At times, the funny feels forced, and the “jokes” of the story don’t always land as I imagine Christina Hovland expects them to. However, that seems minute in contrast to the bigger lessons of April May Fall. As Jack struggles to accept a different life for himself than was his initial plan, he accepts that he just has to “fall,” fall into love with April, fall into a different plan for his life. And it’s a great reminder for readers who might be curious about Christina Hovland’s April May Fall to simply fall into the chemistry and quirkiness of her newest story.
In love and romance,