Happy Saturday, readers! I hope you’re well and enjoying all that spring can bring!
It was my Birthday this week, which unfortunately was impacted by Covid for the second year out of the most recent 3 birthdays! This time though I actually had Covid, and I have to be honest and say it was really terrible. I don’t think I’ve felt so ill in over a decade, easily! But, it did mean that I had a few days off work, and many days confined to the house, so I did manage to read a couple of books.
Today I’m going to be sharing with you a book that I have seen everywhere on social media, and that I managed to find for just £1(!) in a pound shop. If you’re in the UK and you haven’t already searched your local Poundland for books, then you really should – it may surprise you!
I had originally taken this book on holiday with me, but never quite got around to reading it, so after the blurb offered quotes promising a ‘beautiful’, ‘unforgettable’ and ‘glorious’ read, I decided that this was probably what I needed to get me out of my covid slump.
LOVE AFTER LOVE, BY INGRID PERSAUD
Admittedly, although this book is a Costa Book Award winner (2020), I’d not heard of this book before I started seeing it pop up everywhere on Instagram – so this is a definite ‘Instagram made me do it’ moment!
Whilst this author has won many awards for short stories, this is actually her debut novel, which, given that it’s an award winning novel, provides a good inclination of the quality of literature you will read. This is a general fiction, but as the title quite accurately suggests, it’s about love after love – in all of it’s forms.
The story is set between Trinidad and New York and has 3 main characters, Betty Ramdin, her son Solo and Mr Chetan, Betty’s work colleague come house lodger come friend and life companion. It’s a story about families that form beyond those of blood relatives, and how those relationships and families develop.
We learn quite quickly that Solo’s dad, Betty’s husband Sunil, died after falling, drunk, down the stairs. We learn that the household was not one of peace, but of violence and abuse when Solo’s father was alive.
We also learn that perhaps.. Betty pushed him.
The book begins to explore the connection and bond that forms between Solo and Mr Chetan, Mr Chetan and Betty, and Betty and her son Solo. The story and those connections ebbs and flows as naturally as time itself.
The book is well-researched with details that make you feel like you’re there or that you understand the culture even if you’ve never been there before.
Love After Love is an emotional story about family, love and loss. Themes of family, love, loss, grief and resilience are explored throughout the book.
The reader can relate to the story and understand the characters’ emotions and motivations. Persaud also incorporates lots of details about Trinidad and Tobago culture that whilst I’ve never been to these places, I felt like I could see the streets, smell the cooking, taste the food. There’s lots of details about making food and growing herbs, that really draw your senses into the pages.
A beautifully written book that will make you think about relationships between family members and how you define love.
Love After Love is a book that will make you think about the relationships between family members and how you define love. Of course, there are so many different kinds of love. There’s all consuming romantic love, there’s the unique bond between mother and their children, there’s the love between family members, friends, and the love we feel for our pets. There’s also times when people who should love each other, do not. This book explores so many of those types of love, and the impact on each character and their circumstances and what that love makes them do.
CAN’T PUT IT DOWN RATING: 4.5/5
Interestingly, I found the first 70-80 pages quite difficult to find my rhythm to. It is written in a fairy unique way, with no chapter numbers or real grammar and this took some getting used to. Partly, I believe due to the local dialect that it is used by the characters which I have not read before, and the lack of punctuation in the text when speaking. This (until I found myself immersed in the culture within the book), was quite complex to follow initially – what were thoughts, what was speech, what the speech meant, and who was saying it.
However, over time I truly began to love the dialect used, and the use of different characters per chapter really helped somewhat in finding each character’s voice, even though it was initially a little blurry until you learn them.
There are many hard hitting themes in this book:
- Illegal Immigration
- Self Harm
- LGTBQ in an unaccepting society
Yet this book still felt warm, and wholesome. It is dark and it is light, all at once.
To say that this is a debut feels like a lie – this is such a well crafted, intelligent and emotional book. I feel it is one of the better books I’ve read that explores family and relationships, and I’m so glad that I stuck through my gut instinct to put the book down, and carried on with it to unfold the beautiful storytelling inside.
£8.99, Faber Publishers.
Washed down with:
This week I’ve been sampling some new Teapigs Tea, called ‘Trim’ which is an organic ‘metabolism’ tea due to the properties of it’s ingredients. It contains Peach, Rosehip and Hibiscus flavourings, with a sprinkle of Guarana seed from the Amazon basin which apparently boosts your metabolism. Considering I sit in an office chair all day for work, I’ll take all the help I can get!
I still cannot quite decide what this smells like, it’s definitely got peachy undertones, but it’s not the most fragrant of teas. It’s got a very light refreshing flavour which makes it a promising choice as a morning drink whatever your breakfast.
I’ve been enjoying drinking this one, but whether or not it’ll cancel out the box of vegan hotel chocolat I wolfed down in just 3 sittings, we’ll see ;). At the moment I’ve lost a little weight but I think that’s likely to do with illness!
I purchased mine from Amazon, for just £4.15 for 15 organic teabags.
I hope you’ve had a fabulous time reading my book and tea review!
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Otherwise, I hope you have a fantastic weekend, and I look forward to seeing you again soon!
Until the next Chapter,