Why Love in Colour is the Perfect Romance Book
If you’re lucky, you will come across a book or two during your time which will change your life, the ones when you’re reading it — you know you will not emerge the same person as you were when you started it.
For me, this is one of them.
Love in Colour is an anthology of short stories, the author — Bolu Babalola has gathered various mythical tales from around the world and retold them in the form of love stories. Some are set in the modern-day, others in mythical lands — each just as delightful as the last.
I was halfway through the book and so in love, but also terrified because a book this good — can’t be all good right? It would fade out towards the end? Nope. It is perfect. Yes, I loved some stories more than others, but did I not love any of the stories? Of course not.
Bolu’s writing is like poetry, each sentence invokes a new feeling.
I’m familiar with a range of myths and legends but have to admit to only knowing a handful of the ones mentioned here. They are so rich in culture, customs and tradition. Which makes them differ from the love stories we are so familiar with, told through the western gaze.
I spent time after each short story, googling the myths involved and each time I was reminded how spectacularly the author wove these stories into such tales. A lot of the books with retellings we have nowadays, especially retellings of stories, glaze over uncomfortable or unfamiliar parts of culture. As to make the books more relatable to what they believe are the majority readers.
This book did not do that, it was unapologetic in sharing the beauty of each culture and that in itself makes this book so important.
Do you know how nice it is to step away from the damsel in distress narrative? These women are powerful, fierce, funny, vulnerable and all-rounded characters. In the short number of pages in which a tale is told, each specific personality comes shining right through — that in itself is a rare talent.
Each story is told in a different style all together, the style of writing ranges throughout this book — some stories are easier to read than others. It honestly did not feel like I was reading works by one author, but instead a range of well-established authors in one.
To tell one amazing story is a skill, but to tell so many is magic.
But these stories are so much more than just love stories you see, they are about courage, perseverance, allowing yourself to be the truest version of yourself and in turn, about only letting the best kind of love in for yourself and not settling. The recurring theme in a lot of these retellings is having someone see you for exactly who you are, and not baulking from it.
My favourite love story in this is the love these women have for themselves, because for a woman of colour to be allowed to be so unapologetic — well it’s a powerful statement.
There are parts of each character that I either relate to or aspire to. I want to be as bold as Scheherazade, as fearless as Siya, as ruthless as Nefertiti, as bright as Thisbe and what I would give to be as witty as Orin.
As there were various types of protagonists, there were, of course, the whole calibre of different types of “fuckboys”; the pick me nice guy, the one with issues that you just want to fix, the childhood love you got stuck with, the controlling douche and the one who likes to belittle women — to name a few. They had me rolling my eyes because as women we have at least met one of these types of men in our lives.
And I really enjoyed seeing each of them bested.
The humour in this book was just sublime writing. I was laughing just as much as I was crying while reading it.
It was nice to see how these tales were told from both male and female perspectives — the chemistry and banter made my heart ache a little. The friendships, the honest conversations and the loyalty in these are indicative of what is important in a relationship that goes beyond lust (of course there was a good amount of lust present too!).
But it emphasized the makings of a healthy relationship which is often missed in exchange for toxic “big” romance these days.
So this book has destroyed me because I don’t think I will ever find a love quite like the ones I’ve read here. I leave you with my favourite line:
“Psy was smiling. It was warm and soft, and to Eros it looked like the perfect place to lie in and just be. He wanted to sink into it.”
*cue my heart breaking into a million pieces*