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A Review of Love in Colour by Bolu Babalola

Love is beautiful and they do say it makes the world go round. What better way to experience its power than to read stories about it? What the reader gets here are mythical tales from around the world retold by a new voice. This collection of short stories had me questioning if I enjoy love/romantic stories at all. I was looking forward to reading this book and falling head over heels in love with it but that didn’t happen. I am still glad that I gave the book a chance.

My Thoughts

This is a collection of love tales from around the world retold in a creative and new way. The collection is made up of thirteen stories; three new tales and ten old tales. The old mythical tales are inspired by stories from Yoruba myths and religion, Persia, Ancient Greece, Asante myths, Lesotho, Ancient Egyptian myth and fact, China and Mesopotamia. Some of the themes tied to the major theme of love in this book are freedom, balance, truth, respect, trust and self love. The book paints a picture that shows how all these are important components of love. This is a light and hilarious read. I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped I would.

Some of the stories that I enjoyed from the collection are ‘Osun’ which is inspired by Yoruba myth and religion (Nigeria), ‘Attem’ inspired by Ituen and the King’s Wife (Calabar people’s, Nigeria), ‘Yaa’ inspired by the Princess’ Wedding (Asante Tribe Ghana) and ‘Naleli’ inspired by the story of How Khosi Chose A Wife (Lesotho). The other stories were really hard for me to get into. I appreciate the diversity in the stories and what Babalola does with stories that are familiar. She takes stories and centres women, their joy, love & independence. The special spark of the book are the twists on world folklore, myths and facts. The introduction note takes the reader into the writer’s mind. Babalola highlights that writing this book helped her to explore the power of love and its expression in various cultures in the world. The characters were multidimensional with most of the women in the stories being fearless and having the power to make choices, which also made the book tick. You know how women have been portrayed as helpless in some of the old tales and the reworking of those stories does an important job in casting a light on the present times and where we hope to be.

Before reading the collection I had considerable knowledge of about five of the stories featured in the collection and for those which were previously unknown to me, the book helped me to step outside its covers and find out more about the original tales. The language is simple, fun and as vibrant as the cover. I really commend Babalola for reworking old stories, I think that was a bold step that took a lot of faith because you know how some people don’t want the traditional stories/classics to be tampered with. Quite imaginative! Here are some quotes from the book:

1. ‘Sometimes, when you are hungry enough, you can will the ghost-taste of sweet-bread in your mouth. It will make you hungrier, though, and emptier. And sometimes you won’t know how truly bereft of food you are until it’s too late.’ page 8

2. ‘But falling in love is perpetual, an activity that continues under the aegis of capital letter Love.’ page 22

3. ‘Can you properly cherish and relish and revere something without the fear of losing it? It is the fear of losing ownership that gauges integrity. It defines whether a man is greedy or if he is generous. It defines what defines him.’ page 66

4. ‘She just didn’t see a way out of it. It was a world that she didn’t know if she could extricate herself from without parts of her falling away with it too.’ page 103

5. ‘The crack in the was plastered over two weeks later, and the music no longer leaked through gaps, conversations no longer travelling without permission.’ page 220

If you are looking to step into the shoes of love to travel and discover the world this book is for you. If you are also a sucker for love stories, you might enjoy this book. It was not for me to a greater extent but I still managed to find four stories that I liked. So there is hope!


Author’s Profile

Bolu Babalola is a British-Nigerian journalist, writer and a lover of love. Her short story Netflix & Chill was shortlisted for the 2016 Guardian B4ME Short Story prize to critical acclaim. This anthology is Bolu Babalola’s debut book and a Sunday Times Bestseller (2020).


Book Details

Title: Love In Colour

Author: Bolu Babaloula

Genre: Fiction

Pages: 304

Publisher: Headline (2020)

Where to buy:

Other titles by author:


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