3 out of 4 stars
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Colors of Love by Adeola Oyekola features Yeni and Carey, childhood friends from Nigeria who have migrated to the USA. Yeni got pregnant out of wedlock, discovered her boyfriend was married, and lost her baby at birth. Carey married Tosin despite many warning signs telling her he might be the wrong guy. Will Yeni still find true love? Will Tosin prove the warnings unfounded?
While this is a romance novel, there are absolutely no steamy scenes. Fans of cozy romances will like it; those who are expecting intimate encounters will likely be disappointed. However, the story does not lack for the sweet nothings expressed between lovers. Hopeless romantics will find a couple of poems and wedding vows to gush over. Alas, the reader will likewise spot tearful expressions of the brokenhearted. “How can I survive this?” will ring loud and clear to those who have experienced heartache. (We did survive, didn’t we?)
The book has a predominantly Christian theme as the author “believes in propagating the gospel as commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ.” Prayer, fasting, Bible references, and spiritual signs are intricately woven into the story. The author emphasizes the value of human relationships, be they family or friends, and the virtue of honest work. This is not to say that the characters are all saintly; they are ordinary people with both good and bad traits.
The author injected the tale with many facets of Nigerian culture. I was happy to learn about Nigerian cuisine, such as the delicious-sounding bean pudding called Moin-Moin; Yoruba and Igbo formal wear; and their wedding traditions (the fancy Aso ebi is one). It was surprising to know that Nigerians, like Filipinos, addressed those older even by only a few years as “aunts” and “uncles.” Armchair travelers like me will surely relish the interesting trivia about the Nigerian lifestyle. A glossary of the Nigerian terms used may be a welcome addition, though.
Certain touches make the book unique. The prologue and epilogue are both written in verse. Each chapter is given a catchy title that is accompanied by a beautiful full-page monochrome photograph. The picture for Chapter 12, named “Families,” is especially fascinating.
On the downside, the narrative flow needs minor adjustments. The chapters focus on different characters, but there are a few times when the reader has to wade through a whole paragraph before identifying who is being discussed. Sudden shifts in point of view also distract the reader. Since the characters are made to tell stories, huge blocks of dialogue are employed. The punctuation used in these portions (double and single quotation marks, in particular) needs careful review to ensure continuity.
Grammar is another weak point. The errors noted include missing periods, inconsistent capitalization, and misspellings. Some words also seem inappropriately used. “Stingy memories” (for painful experiences) and “her nose was three times the standard size” (to describe a pregnant woman) may be expressed in better ways. There are likewise two very familiar Bible verses that are quoted without the proper citation.
Considering that the good points outweigh the bad, I rate the book 3 out of 4 stars. The author has a fine story to tell, and the ending makes it memorable. Addressing the negatives cited will ensure that the book passes the reader’s scrutiny with flying colors.
Colors of Love
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