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Book Club Review of "Who's Loving You: Love Stories by Women of Colour"

A copy of "Who's Loving You" posed with flowers in vases on a table

“Who’s Loving You: Love Stories by Women of Colour” is a collection of stories, edited by Sareeta Domingo, that tells very different tales of love with themes such a heritage, grief, time travel, history, infidelity, self-worth, queerness, fantasy and self-discover; it is an attention-grabber from the very start! Having 10 different authors write 10 different stories gives the collection a lot of diversity. The narrator’s voice shift and so does the subject of love. We see so many types of people give and receive love, which is a very positive and much needed message that highlights a belief that isn’t perpetuated by mainstream media: love is for everyone.

Starting off with “The Watchers”, a short story by Kelechi Okafor, also featured in Edge of Here (read our review here), we are escorted to a fantasy world where love is timeless and inevitable through the ages. Love continues taking various forms throughout the book: it is finnicky and embarrassing in “My Heart Beats” by Dorothy Koomson, it is instantaneous and yearning in “The Waves Will Carry us Back” by Sareeta Domingo, it is challenging of one’s own self-perception in “Long Distance” by Varaidzo, grounding in “Motherland” by Sara Jafari and candidly complicated in “Rain… Doubtful” by Kuchenga Shenje. Other featured authors include Sara Collins, Amna Saleem, Rowan Hisayo Buchanan and Danielle Dash.

Black women smiling while holding a copy of "Who's Loving You". The women featured are Sareeta Domingo (editor of the book), Varaidzo, Sara Jafari and Kuchenga Shenje (all contributing authors). Along with Joyce Kadunyi and Shomi Williams (co-founder of Shelf Interest book club)

As a woman of colour, it is hard not to see yourself in any of these stories as this short story collection shows that love can transcend class, time, gender identity, sexuality, distance and all kinds of circumstances, it is a beacon of hope in a world that can be quite damning to women who do not fit a particular mould. We interviewed Sareeta Domingo, Kuchenga Shenje, Sara Jafari and Varaidzo during our Valentine’s Event: Book Swap Speed Date, and they reinforced the importance of hope and representation when it comes to love and how women from all backgrounds must see themselves as receivers of pure form of love in a world that may suggest that we are not quite as worthy.

4 members of Shelf Interest Book Club smiling
A screenshot from our monthly book club meeting

Our book clubbers loved the unpredictability of the stories, as they did not depict typical tropes from romance reads. The love stories in “Who’s Loving You” had a lot of substance to them that reflected the complexities of love and life. In a few stories, the women had to stand on business and put themselves first – this was a great feature in juxtaposition to pop culture that often depicts romance as extremely weakening, where compromises may be made to the point of one’s own detriment.

Shelf Interest Book Club Rating of "Who's Loving You" book, rated out of 5 stars. Overall = 4.2. Readability = 4.3. Storyline = 3.8. Page-turner-icity = 3.8. Recommendation = 4.1.

With an overall rating of 4.2 stars and 4.1 stars for recommendation, our book clubbers loved this February read and think it’s a great reader for the real lovers out there!

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