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Book Review: The Various Flavours of Coffee by Anthony Capella

The Various Flavours of Coffee by Anthony Capella

The Various Flavours of Coffee is a beautiful love story that grips from the opening page. A sensual and intoxicating experience to read, the author successfully evokes the world of the late 1800s and the pursuits of Robert Wallis as he is commissioned to categorise the various flavours of coffee. The book is written from Robert’s point of view, looking back at himself as a younger man and self-professed ‘bohemian’, ‘dandy’ and ‘would-be-poet’. This is all true, but Robert is a charming character who is extremely likeable, as are the various women that he encounters, particularly the strong-willed and independent Emily. The book takes a turn into the unknown when Robert is sent to Abyssinia to create and then oversee a new coffee plantation, and his world is turned upside down when he encounters a beautiful, exotic slave.

This book is a sensory delight. The smell of coffee is as powerful as the feelings of love, the settings masterfully handled whether in London or Abyssinia. The book also explores larger themes of business and the women’s suffragette movement, without ever forgetting that it is foremost a love story. The ending is shocking and moving, but ultimately satisfying and assured. This is a wonderful novel that I would recommend to anyone who likes a read that resembles a great cup of coffee – perfectly flavoured, satisfying, but somehow just a little mysterious and exotic at the same time.

#bookreviews #historicalfiction

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