Review – The Flavours of Love by Dorothy Koomson

By | January 27, 2014

‘I’m looking for that perfect blend of flavours; the taste that used to be you. If I find it, I know you’ll come back to me.’

It’s been 18 months since my husband was murdered and I’ve decided to finish writing The Flavours of Love, the cookbook he started before he died. Everyone thinks I’m coping so well without him – they have no idea what I’ve been hiding or what I do away from prying eyes. But now that my 14-year-old daughter has confessed something so devastating it could destroy our family all over again, and my husband’s killer has started to write to me claiming to be innocent, I know it’s only a matter of time before the truth about me and what I’ve done is revealed to the world.

My name is Saffron Mackleroy and this is my story.

I’ve always enjoyed Dorothy Koomson’s writing – her earlier books were the kind of intelligent chick lit that I always enjoy. Her more recent books – The Ice Cream Girls and The Rose Petal Beach – have seen something of a change of direction, taut psychological thrillers that engage and entertain, and this book continues that new direction.

Saffron’s husband Joel was murdered 18 months ago, and this is an excellent portrayal of love and loss, and trying to recreate the perfect taste (Joel was a keen cook) that will capture what they had together and bring him back to her. From the opening pages, we know that Saffron knows who killed her husband – and that her twelve year old daughter has a secret that she can’t tell. When the killer starts writing to her – the letters full of menace and truly chilling – the tension racks up, and continues to build towards the shocking conclusion. Throughout it all, there are all the very real and present family dramas, the problems communicating with a teenager, decisions to be made, personal issues to be dealt with. The whole story is wonderfully written, moving backwards and forwards in time, punctuated by the menacing letters. The characters are strongly drawn – Aunty Betty provides most of the humour, and is a quite wonderful creation.

If you enjoyed Dorothy Koomson’s last two books, you’re going to love this one – it’s a perfect balance of family life and psychological thriller that entertains and keeps you turning the pages. More please!

The Flavours of Love was published by Quercus on 7th November 2013, and is available in all formats.

Dorothy Koomson grew up in London and then grew up again in Leeds when she went to university. She eventually returned to London to study for her masters degree and stayed put for the following years. She took up various temping jobs and eventually got her big break writing, editing and subbing for various women’s magazines and national papers. In 2001 she had the idea for The Cupid Effect and her career as a published novelist began. In 2006, her third novel, My Best Friend’s Girl was published: it was selected for the Richard & Judy Summer Reads Book Club and the book went on to sell over 500,000 copies. She recently spent two years living in Sydney Australia, and is now back in England, living on the south coast and still writing books.