cover image Love in Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold

Love in Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold

Bolu Babalola. Morrow, $25.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-307849-9

Babalola revives the romance of folktales and myths in her lovely debut collection, drafting figures largely drawn from African legends and romance tropes into 13 Black-centered love stories. “Naleli” follows a teenage girl who struggles to love herself because she suffers from a condition that causes skin discoloration, distancing herself from her childhood crush—until a magical night brings them back together. “Nefertiti” reimagines the Egyptian queen as a vigilante protecting women from patriarchal violence and oppression. In “Thisbe,” a woman knows too much about the boy next door’s sex life because of the crack in the wall separating their apartments. The title character of “Orin” is on the worst date ever when she meets Deji—also suffering through a terrible date—and their easy banter brings them solace on their almost-ruined nights. Though none of these tales is quite a standout, there aren’t any duds, either. The result is effortlessly readable, and the chemistry between characters and the focus on Black female empowerment will surely win over many romance fans. [em](Apr.) [/em]