Desert Isle Keeper
Milk in My Coffee
Signet lists Eric Jerome Dickey’s book on its spine as fiction but I think that may be because the writer is an African American male and no one expects such a person to be writing romance novels. However, this novel meets every test for the romance genre ever concocted. Dickey writes about emotions, relationships, love, and connecting with our soulmate – or not connecting. Twists in this novel depend on traits of the characters, not overused plot devices. There is a happy ending for the couple but quite a story unfolds before one gets there.
You can tell Milk in My Coffee is written by a man and not a woman. It is grittier, deals with really hard conflicts straight on. There is an abortion involving a secondary character, and the hero and heroine are a biracial couple. The language and sexuality also come from the male perspective. If you have been looking for something truly different in romance novels, Dickey is the author for you to try.
Jordan Greene is an African-American living in Queens and working on Wall Street. Right now he is total Buppie, although he was brought up in a small town in Tennessee. He meets Kimberly Chavers, a white artist, during a cab ride they share. They are attracted to each other but they both have other significant others with whom they are trying to end things – and these others fight being let go.
J’nette is Jordan’s African-American girlfriend and she tells Jordan she’s pregnant except the father may be him or it may be someone else. She claims to not really know. She wants Jordan to pay for an abortion. He is already seeing Kimberly when J’nette hits him with this demand. Jordan doesn’t want to scare Kimberly off, so he doesn’t tell her about J’nette or her condition. In the meantime, Kimberly has broken off with her old flame Eric, but he keeps following her around, almost a stalker, refusing to accept the breakup. Worse, Kimberly has a another man from her past with whom she must take final action before she is able to consider a permanent relationship with Jordan.
Jordan and Kimberly also have baggage from their past lives with their family members. They each have to achieve peace on that frontier before they can be any good with anyone else. The most violent opposition to them as a couple comes from Jordan’s side, both family and friends. Other African-American women are especially angry at Kimberly’s having “taken” an available, eligible Black man. A family crisis sends Jordan back to his home town to face his own ghosts from the past. Kimberly’s parents come to her in New York when she is hospitalized. Jordan meets them only to discover a big secret Kimberly has kept from him.
Signet also publishes Sandra Kitt. I’ve done two Desert Isle Keeper reviews of her work, Between Friends and The Color of Love. Signet also lists her work as fiction on the book spine, yet romance readers have long accepted her as one of their own. Both Kitt and Dickey are shelved in African American Literature but could as easily be shelved in romance. I read Dickey after reading Kitt and it was marvelous to read a similar story to Kitt’s The Color Of Love but to find it very different because it is written from the male perspective. Author Dickey is pictured on his back cover and he is extremely good looking. If one were looking for a cover model for Jordan Greene, it certainly could be Dickey himself. The cover itself is, however, done in graphics of the two African-American characters and the one white woman. This works very well for drawing in readers from different races.
Dickey has been a great discovery for me because I have longed to hear the male voice in the romance genre. It revitalizes and rounds out the whole genre to hear from the “missing half” of the equation. I wish I could think of a white male writer who has been as brave on this relationship frontier of writing but the names which come to mind are all gay white writers. Dickey’s work couldn’t be more heterosexual. I’m reading and enjoying another Dickey novel now and hoping that some other males follow his writing lead as it would be a great overall gain for the romance genre.