Aphrodite’s Castle Host Club
A struggling artist. A devoted son. Will they sacrifice everything for forbidden desire?
Kyoto, Japan. Iroha is sick of his boyfriends only dating him to get closer to his famous artistic sister. Shelving his own creative ambitions to run a mafia-funded gallery, he seeks comfort in a fake relationship at an exclusive host club. But when he sets eyes on the outlandishly dressed Kenta, something real stirs in his heart.
Kenta works hard to keep his place as a top-five host at the exclusive Aphrodite’s Castle club. Though it’s put a damper on his love life, the lucrative gig earns him more than enough to support his elderly parents. But when he breaks the rules and falls for the enigmatic Iroha, his income plummets and jeopardizes his family’s welfare.
Heedless of the consequences, Iroha and Kenta plunge into a passionate affair. But the shadow of Iroha’s creative failures threatens to break them apart. And when trouble pulls Kenta back home, the rift between them becomes a chasm.
Can Iroha and Kenta find a common canvas to paint their perfect picture of devotion?
Finding Our Love is the delightful first novel in the Aphrodite’s Castle Host Club MM contemporary romance series. If you like caring men, Japanese culture, and the quest for happiness, you’ll adore Amy Tasukada’s heartwarming tale.
I think the story is mostly driven by the characters as they fumble around an undeniable attraction. Neither Iroha nor Kenta seems accustomed to the immediate and undeniable attraction that they feel from the first meeting. Not that that isn’t without some hiccups. Iroha knows that host clubs are selling companionship and initially assumes his attraction is not only one-sided, but something Kenta has to put up with from many of his clients. Kenta also has a hard time keeping Iroha firmly in the “just a client” category. After they figure out how to date without jeopardizing Kenta’s sole source of income, things smooth out. I really enjoyed the alternative dates these two take at first. Rather than dinner and a movie, they go hiking. Or they visit Kenta’s home town. Their relationship just grows organically on the page. This slow, steady, but undeniable growth in their attraction is why I so thoroughly enjoyed the major conflict: Kenta (who lives entirely outside of the art world) picking the only art show that could possible offend Iroha (who’s so thoroughly inside the art world that he thinks everyone understands his struggles with the art world). Without giving too much away, it’s like a train wreck you know is going to happen well before it does. Yet readers still get a very neat, cute happily ever after.
or anyone familiar with Tasukada’s work, I think you’ll find this a delightful addition to her library. This story does not lack for character depth and really lets readers enjoy the development of Kenta and Iroha’s relationship. I thought it balanced their professional and private lives very well, utilizing both to explore the individual characters and provide some space for growing pains. I would recommend this title to anyone, and especially readers interested in portrayals of gay men in contemporary Japan.