It's not often that short stories are as deeply romantic and emotionally affecting as those in Love in Color. Telling a complete story with nuanced characterization and satisfying development of a romantic arc is incredibly difficult to pull off in just a few pages. Bolu Babalola does this masterfully. If you enjoy history and myths and perhaps want a happier ending for some of the stories, this book is for you.
Babalola presents several contemporary retellings of classic stories like those of Pyramus and Thisbe, Nefertiti and Osun. She brings us around the world, through time and magic systems, and introduces us to characters who love and are loved equally in turn. She also wrote some original stories and those are just as lovely. As with all collections, some stories work better than others, but I was enjoying myself so much that I didn't care.
I enjoyed this audiobook a lot. There are four narrators, two of whom narrate all stories but the last. These stories take place around the world, meaning that Ajjaz Awad and Nneka Okoye employed a variety of accents, smoothly transitioning between characters and cultures. They adeptly captured the range of emotions and particularly the yearning of many characters. Very well done.
The last story, which has stayed with me these many days since I finished reading, is the love story of the author's parents. She and her mother, Olukemi Babalola, read it together in alternating POVs and it made me smile. Have you ever sat listening to an audiobook and grinning? That was me.
Alyssa Cole wrote a piece about Love in Color for the New York Times and if you want a much better reflection on these stories and the power within, I urge you to read it.
I received a digital audiobook from the publisher for review. I also won a print copy on Goodreads before I knew I was getting audio access, so I sent my paper copy off to another reviewer.
Content Warnings: violence, mention of sexual assault, infidelity