Bolu Babalola’s ‘Love In Colour’ is a retelling of love stories from history and mythology across the world. Centering Black women and women of colour, the anthology is a joyful exploration of what it means to fall in love. I typically don’t read romance books so I went into it with minimal expectations. But I loved this book! The stories are as joyful, vibrant and beautiful as the cover. Seriously, this has to be one of my favourite book covers!
A brief overview of some of the stories
There are 10 retellings in the book with 3 original stories. With the exception of Osun and Nefertiti, I wasn’t familiar with the original stories of any of the characters. I actually preferred that because it allowed me to experience the characters purely through Bolu Babalola’s re-imagining.
Osun’s story which opens the anthology is about the mythical goddess of the river from Yoruba culture in Nigeria. I have to be honest, this was my least favourite story in the book! But the anthology picks up with the next story, Scheherazade, inspired from 1,001 Nights in Persia. In this re-telling, two political operatives from different sides find love with each other. It’s one of my favourite stories in the book with a lot of emotional depth.
The next story is based on the Greek myth of Eros and Psyche. Think ‘Devil Wears Prada’ for this modern retelling set in a fashion magazine house. Readers witness Psyche’s journey of finding confidence and love at work. I had so many laugh out loud moments in this story and that’s when I knew I was in for a treat.
With the exception of Scheherazade and Siya, the format of the stories generally follow the rom com format; everyone finds love at the end and there’s a neat resolution. For some readers it may become predictable, but this is a hopeful collection about love and I think we need that. Despite this, I liked that some of the stories weave issues around class (Yaa’s story), struggles with beauty (Naleli’s story) and self love into them.
To end the retelling is the story of Thisbe. A love story of two college students separated by a wall. The incredible way this was written makes me really excited for the author’s upcoming book ‘Honey & Spice.’
From the original stories, Orin – a modern day love story set in a Bar in Brixton- was hands down my favourite in the anthology. When I say it was elite writing, I mean it. It was contemporary, edgy and funny! Bolu’s ability to write stories around authentic black characters is undeniable. She is filling a much needed gap in literature and I’m looking forward to what will be an illustrated career.
Reading advice: This isn’t the kind of book you read in one sitting, spread it out over time to truly enjoy it.
Top Three Quotes
“I don’t have to be perfect with you. I just have to be.”
Time and Love are intertwined, they are both measures of life, they are the two clocks.
“Maadi saw all that she was, both a heartbroken daughter and a fearless fighter. And in his eyes, she saw a space for her strength and softness to meld into each other, her strength buttressing her softness, her softness giving wisdom and direction to her strength. With the two parts of herself not warring each other, she felt some stability.”
I pray that you benefited from this post and I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.
Have you read Love In Colour? What are your thoughts on romance books?
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