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on 8 June 2017
Eighteen months ago, Saffron Mackleroy's husband was stabbed by a killer that is still walking free leaving behind her and their two children. However, just as life starts to get back under control, events happen the causes the control to evaporate. Aunt Betty moves in due to being kicked out of her residential home after getting caught being intimate with a fellow resident on the manager's desk, her fourteen year old daughter has a revelation that will have Saffron second guessing everything she ever thought and as if all that wasn't enough, her husband's killer has started writing to her every day with content that terrifies Saffron.

This was my first adventure into Dorothy Koomson's writing but several of my friends had suggested some of her works and I am glad that I listened to the recommendation. Without giving away too much of the plot because it's one of those stories you just have to read, I applaud Koomson for how full she managed to make this novel. There are twists and turns at every corner, it's full to the brim with amazing characters and she has enough sub-plots that there is no opportunity for the reader to become bored with “The Flavours of Love”. Only one of the plots irritated me at the time and that was Saffron's bulimia. It seemed to come out of nowhere several chapters into the books so I found myself wondering if it was an afterthought but now I have re-read the blurb I can see that Koomson fully intended for Saffron to have that secret so it was probably just me.

The highlight of this novel was the layout of the chapters. It was apparent that the epicentre of the novel was the day that Saffron lost her husband Joel and Saffron had dubbed it as That Day. So each chapter would inform you of how many days, weeks, months, or years before or after That Day did the action happen. For example, the first chapter that uses it is “16 years before That Day”. Koomson cleverly uses the flashback technique to show us Saffron's life with Joel so that he is real to us and we can imagine the pain that Saffron is going through knowing that his killer is still out of there.

“The Flavours of Love” may have been my first Dorothy Koomson novel but it definitely will not be my last.
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on 30 December 2017
I have read most of Dorothy Koomson's books and this was quite a muddle, as it kept flitting back and forth over time before and after the murder but not in a chronological way. This resonated with some of her other novels in that the main female character with held information from the police until near the end to increase the tension but a bit predictable. Some of the lengthy descriptions of recipes and cooking for the recipe book became tiresome. It became quite a depressing read as time went on so I was relieved to finish it!
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VINE VOICEon 21 October 2014
I don't know if I have ever been so torn when writing a book review. There's a part of me that absolutely loved this book but then there's also a part of me that was extremely frustrated by it and wanted to throw it against a wall.

For the first half of the book I really didn't like Saffron, the way she acted around her children and the way she let them treat her, I really wanted to give her a slap and tell her to get a backbone and start parenting. Usually when I don't like a main character I'll give up on a book but I loved the writing so much that I stuck with it. There were so many other characters that I enjoyed reading about (I adore Aunty Betty) and about half way through the book Saffron came to her senses and did an about turn, realising what a muppet she'd been and changing into the sort of person I could imagine married to her husband (the person she was in the 18 months following Joel's death is not the sort of person he'd have married).

The characters are one of the things that make Koomson's writing so special, she can draw such vivid characters that evoke really strong feelings. There was more than one person in the book that I wanted to physically attack, I'm not usually a violent person but I could imagine these people in my life and it would not have had a good outcome for any of us!

Dorothy Koomson always manages to take a story where you think you know what is happening and then throw a huge spanner in the works and twist it all on it's head. This is what I was expecting with this novel, she knows who has killed her husband and she has kept it a secret (this isn't a spoiler, we're told it very early in the book) because of a reason involving her daughter. Knowing how talented Koomson is I expected there to be something big, that I'd never have thought of which made me go "obviously, she couldn't have gone to the police with that", there wasn't, it was small and I was so annoyed because NOBODY would have let their husbands killer go free for such a BS reason.

I love Koomson's writing, if anyone else had written thisstoryline then it wouldn't have been as engaging and all the little annoyances would have been enough to make me put it down and give it a solitary star but Koomson's writing style is amazing and she still managed to suck me in.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 13 October 2014
Saffron was widowed in the most awful circumstances eighteen months before the book starts, her husband Joel was murdered and left to die by the side of the road. Saffron’s daughter Phoebe is now 14 and within pages we realise that she knows more about her father’s murder than she let onto the police, but what the secret is soon overtaken by the present when Saffron is called into the school to be told by the headmaster that Phoebe has another secret and one that needs immediate attention. With her younger son Zane and a demanding job the grieving Saffron has more than enough on her plate, but this is a study in keeping going one step at a time through whatever life throws at you.

This book is crammed full of issues which in the hands of a less accomplished author could have produced something of a mismatch of a book and far less breath-taking mainly because all of her characters are beautifully drawn displaying evidence of the author’s training in psychology. The result is real people with good and bad points far away from stereotypes as is possible, the sort of people you meet daily. The contrast between good intentions and bad decisions are illustrated many times through this delightful array of personalities, none more so than the brilliant Aunt Betty who becomes part of the household.

With the characters forming the backbone of this novel along with their issues the author also has managed to pace the book by switching times as far back to the beginning of Saffron and Joel’s relationship. Although the time periods jump about building a picture of their life this is far from confusing with the chapters clearly marking the time before or after the day of Joel’s death. Meanwhile in the present day the tension builds at a steady pace as poor Saffron has more sinister things to deal with and the battle is on to keep her family safe. Added to this there is some fledgling romance to bring a tear to the eye as Saffron comes to terms with the fact that her husband has truly gone.

The title of the book refers to the cookbook that Joel was compiling before his death and we are treated to a few of these recipes and those his wife is experimenting with in an aim to finish it in his memory giving the book a truly original feel.

There is lots to love in this book and the only slight criticism I have hinges on the original secret kept by Phoebe and unfortunately the one on which the whole book hinges, just really didn’t feel of sufficient magnitude not to come clean but the rest of the book is so wonderfully executed that I simply had to overcome my reservations and join Saffron through some dark days and nights.

I’d recommend this author to anyone who loves character driven and although this book doesn’t lend itself well to the searing dry humour of some of her previous books it is still makes an appearance from time to time.
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on 21 February 2015
I have read all but one of her past books and enjoyed them greatly. This one is very different to her previous books, but equally enjoyable. I was slightly worried when I bought it, from the title and the blurb about writing a cookbook,that it was going to be like a few authors have done recently and been a substandard story padded out by a load of recipes, but I couldn't have been more wrong! I read this in one afternoon, and it's not a small book! I loved that the story had so many different threads, all being revealed in different layers, and none of them had predictable endings, I changed my mind several times about how I thought things would pan out. Some readers might not like the fact that it is not her usual style, but I really think it works and can't wait to see what she does next.
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on 14 January 2014
I have always loved Dorothy Koomson's novels and she is one of my favourite authors, so I was so excited to start her new book, The Flavours Of Love.

The story revolves around Saffron Mackleroy, whose husband Joel was murdered 18 months ago, and since then she has been trying to finish her husband's cookbook, The Flavours Of Love. Her world is shattered by her husband's death and then her daughter announces something that will shatter it even more. Alongside the storyline following Saffron's daughter are the constant letters Saffron receives from her husband's killer, claiming that she is innocent.

The structure of the book jumps from the present to the past but it is very well written and you have no trouble keeping up with where we are and the story flows naturally. I was drawn into the story from the beginning and the plot is full ot twists and turns but I did seem to get a bit bored in the middle. There seemed to be a long period when nothing really happened before the final truth at the end. I felt that the ending was ok but not as good as the start.

This is a good book and I enjoyed reading it, I just felt that it wasn't as good as Koomson's previous works.
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on 30 September 2014
Another great book from Dorothy, although I did find it a bit far-fetched at times, and to be honest I wasn't convinced by her argument for keeping quiet re what she knew about her husband's murder. I particularly liked when she went loopy at the male character who almost wrecked her daughter's life. The difficult relationship, the never being good enough for her son, which she had to endure at the hands of her mother-in-law was also well portrayed. Choosing the best for her kids, even if it meant sending one away for his safety and sanity was particularly poignant. And knowing who your real friends are, and getting rid of those who just thrive on others' misfortunes was also key. I thought the relationship of teenage daughter and mother was shown well and the fact that her daughter could confide in another adult, but not in her, and the hurt which she felt at this made me fast forward to the future and hope I would never be in the same position.
Worth reading, but not her best. Still 4 stars though!
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A gripping book a mystery with a roller coaster of emotions turmoil and a loss of life the book reads as a flashback the day before and after saffron and her daughter Phoebe have a secret they share but what is it ?
Saffron husband Joel died 18 months ago he was murdered and since then saffron carry on with work and family life .She like to cook Joel started a cook book before her die now she going to add to it the Flavours of love she calls it .Saffron not coping with life but you think she is her daughter told he a confession about the day Joel was killed now his killer writing to her the letter are chilling hard to read they bring a lot to the book
My name is saffron mackleroy and this is my story it only a matter of time before the truth about me and what I done is revealed
The book get you hooked a lot of the book about Phoebe it shocking she 14 and pregnant but who the dad? What phoebe done?Why did Joel die? Who kill him?
Saffron a fab mum you can feel her loss she trying to hold it together but you can tell she hiding something but what?
Phoebe 14 pregnant and not sure what to do her mum not understanding her her life a mess
Aunt Betty a great character she in her mid Sixty and having fun a love able old lady she bring lightness to the story
The book very well written 4 stars read enjoy pass on
Check you my page a blog ajbookreviewclub.wordpress.com.or like my face book page Aj book review club .
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on 9 February 2015
This is one of the best Dorothy Koomson books yet. The story is told, partially through flashbacks, which blend seamlessly into the current ongoing events. How Saffron copes with the murder of her beloved husband and the problems with her teenage daughter Phoebe, is not revealed until quite a way through the story. The constant threat to their safety is drip fed through the book in the most chilling way. On the face of it this is a story about normal people leading normal lives but with all the undercurrents of family life, particularly in the face of tragedy. An excellent read with twists and turns, a brilliant use of language and the occasional flash of humour.
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on 27 August 2014
I have read many of Dorothy Koomson's books and have been thoroughly entertained by each one until now.Normally, I am left thinking about a book long after I have read it due to the affect it has on me and the author's ability to draw me in, and sometimes it can be days before picking up another book. The characters in this book were not 'human' enough for me to really care for their happiness. Nonetheless it is a tale of trying coping with life's struggles, with self, children, friendship and tragedies and how it changes you . I struggled with some of the decisions made under the guise of love.
Having said all the above, there was the usual anticipation of whats coming next, which had ne turning the pages to be proved right or wrong. I give 4 stars for past titles but really 3+ would have been more accurate.
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