Blog tour: The Codes of Love by Hannah Persaud
Hi everyone! Welcome to my stop on The Codes of Love blog tour. It means an awful lot to me that you’re checking out this post – considering the state of the world at the moment I’m sure you have far more important things to do – so I just wanted to say a huge thank you for visiting. I hope you’re all taking care of yourselves and your family and are staying safe in this pandemic.
As always, I’m going to share a little bit about the book first, then I’ll share my spoiler-free thoughts before letting you read an excerpt to make up your mind for yourself.
Ryan and Emily appear to have it all, successful jobs, a beautiful house and the secret to a happy marriage. A secret that involves certain ‘rules’. But beneath the surface trouble is brewing in the shape of Ada. Whimsical, high-spirited and beholden to no-one, she represents the freedom that Emily’s been striving for and the escape that Ryan didn’t know he wanted.
The Codes of Love isn’t the kind of book I normally pick up so I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone for this one, but I’m glad to say it paid off!
As soon as I read the synopsis I was intrigued. I wasn’t sure whether to expect literary fiction or a domestic thriller, but it ended up being an artfully weaved blend of the two. The writing definitely leans towards literary fiction – there are some very unique turns of phrase which I haven’t encountered before, and the writing flows in a very musical way – but there are some scenes set at night in the Welsh countryside that had my heart racing for no particular reason. Hannah Persaud is already a master at crafting atmosphere, despite the fact that this is her debut novel.
Ryan and Emily have an open marriage, but we quickly learn that it’s not the mutual agreement that it first seems. With each chapter giving us a different rule that their marriage follows, the reader is quickly whisked through the pros and cons of an open marriage, and they aren’t always exactly what you’d expect.
I struggled at times because this story is written in the third person present tense, which is one of my least favourite writing styles, and it made it a little bit difficult to follow some of the flashbacks. It helped that the start of the chapter told you where and when the next few pages were set, but the non-chronological way that the story played out had me flipping backwards and forwards at points, desperately trying to reacquaint myself with when and where we were.
That being said, I think it actually added to my investment in the story. I was trying so hard to figure out the timeline that I had it all very fleshed out in my mind, and despite the fact that I didn’t particularly like either of the main characters – they can both be horrible people, so I don’t think this is a hot take! – I found myself very interested in what was going to happen to them and how the story was going to end. It took me a few days to read the first half of the book but I flew through the second half in a couple of hours because the pacing picks up dramatically.
I did only end up giving The Codes of Love three stars, but considering there were a lot of things in there that would automatically put me off of a book that rating is much higher than I had anticipated. I’m certainly glad that I tried something new, and Hannah Persaud is an author who I’m going to keep a close eye on in the future.
If you’re feeling conflicted about whether to pick up The Codes of Love or not, see how you feel after reading this excerpt:
‘She needs a coffee. From the kitchen she can see snowdrops hunching in the corners of the garden. Spring is arriving, though the ground is still frozen in the mornings. Last week she came off her bike, didn’t see the black ice until it was too late. She was lucky, thirty miles an hour downhill and she skidded on a bend, spinning into the opposite lane. She picked herself up shakily and looked up to see the driver of the car she narrowly avoided standing over her. Embarrassed, she refused the offer of a hand and stood, trying hard to pretend that the world was not ebbing around her. Her helmet was cracked and her left thigh is still purple from hip to knee, but it’s nothing compared to what it could have been.
At night she wears leggings when she sleeps; she doesn’t want to give Ryan cause for concern, or worse, another lecture on responsibility. He already thinks her reckless, biking too fast, braking too little. He’s away much of the time, but when he’s home she finds herself tiptoeing around him. How quickly their home has become a storage place for secrets. Better this than an argument though, the inevitable descent into blame. When he returned from Plymouth she asked him how his hotel was, the one he hadn’t stayed at. ‘Fine,’ he’d answered, disappearing into his office. He still doesn’t know about the issue with Leo. She is glad now that she didn’t tell him while they were in Venice. The growing chasm between them has made a liar of her when she checks her email and takes calls from her boss. This is how a relationship erodes, layer by layer, like rust.’
If that doesn’t convince you to pick up The Codes of Love, I don’t know what will. There are so many intriguing plotlines and this excerpt touches on just a few of them. I dare you to be able to resist finding out what ‘the issue with Leo’ is!
I hope you enjoyed my stop on The Codes of Love blog tour. A huge thank you to Fiona from Muswell Press for getting me involved. If you’re interested in checking out any of the other stops on the blog tour, please visit the other bloggers mentioned in the header, and if you’re excited to read The Codes of Love feel free to contact Hannah Persaud on Twitter.
Thank you all for visiting, and I’ll see you soon,