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Blueink Reviews

Love Has No Color: Part One
Edna Taylor
Xlibris, 371 pages, (paperback) $19.99, 978-­1-­4691-­7257-­6
(Reviewed: September 2018)

This tale is set in motion when the protagonist literally falls into the arms of a stranger on the streets of New York City.

When African American high school graduate Nanzee Johnson leaves her home in Florida to study at New York University, she’s a bookworm and lover of sports, with a mild interest in members of the opposite sex. But that changes when she crashes into the arms of Basil Barden, a wealthy hotel CEO resembling a “Hollywood Indian Brave.” The attraction is instant and mutual, but Basil tells Nanzee she must wait for a relationship, raising suspicions about his true intentions with Nanzee’s roommates. There’s also the matter of the wedding ring, which he wears in plain sight and refuses to explain.

But at last the two come together and Nanzee soon learns of Basil’s initial ulterior motives as he reveals the “Agreement,” a contract that holds unexpected implications for their future. Despite this, he insists he has loved her from the start, and the two begin planning their future, overcoming the challenges of a mixed-­race relationship.

There’s some skillful writing here. When Nanzee crashes into Basil, Taylor writes, “I half expected to see my teeth flying by.” Likewise, her descriptions are often evocative (“The wet, tarred streets glistened in the dull light of street lanterns …”) and the story is well plotted. But too often the novel reads like an imitation of Fifty Shades of Grey. Nanzee is young, a virgin and serious about her studies;; Basil is fantastically rich and controlling. The romance scenes
often border on purple prose and read like soft porn. “He whispered ‘… I’ll try not to be a raging bull ravaging a gentle ewe.’… I whimpered… There was no way his huge dick could get into me…”

In erotic fiction, less may be more for some readers. Overall, this story is likely to be enjoyed by readers who don’t mind the graphic sex and excessive prose.

Also available in hardcover and ebook.


Clarion Review

Love Has No Color: Part One
Edna Taylor
Xlibris (Apr 16, 2012)
Softcover $19.99 (378pp)

Love Has No Color is a light interracial romance that skirts serious issues.

Love is blind—and it can be deaf and dumb, too. Love Has No Color is an enthusiastic interracial romance that explores the taboos of black family life, the heavy expectations put on young women, and prejudices against dating outside of the culture.

White, married, ponytailed millionaire Basil Barden is not the suitor Nanzee Johnson’s parents have in mind for her. Nanzee moves from Florida to New York to go to school, earn a degree in business and finance, and make the most of being an upwardly mobile black woman. Ambition and expectations are running high.

Nanzee’s family is Baptist, strict, and determined that she’ll move to the city to succeed. However, at eighteen, there is another force at work: hormones. A chance encounter with Basil completely diverts Nanzee’s life plans and sets her at odds with her family, her hopes for her life, and even her daily routines. Her obsessive attraction to Basil drives her to make some supremely unwise and unsafe decisions—all in the name of puppy love.

The instantaneous nature of Nanzee’s fixation on Basil, and his sudden interest in her, puts the novel on unsteady footing. Although descriptions of Nanzee’s fiery passion are believable, the deeper inequity between the partners is unsettling. Nanzee has many voices of reason in her life, from her parents to her cousins, but she is too willful to listen. Her attraction to Basil immediately usurps the other important things in her life, making a strong character seem
less so.

The novel paints relationships with a broad brush: they are either constraining or freeing, traditional or taboo. Without acknowledging any gray areas, the romance comes to feel flat. Nanzee, who is extremely bright and curious, doesn’t think to question Basil’s motives for inviting her into his life—and she turns a blind eye to anyone who sees his motives in a poor light, though engaging with such tensions is a critical element of romance novels. Their story lacks
the single most important ingredient in romance: doubt. Nanzee’s fleeting insecurities and frustrations are relatable but don’t point at the deeper issues in her relationship with Basil.

Love Has No Color is a light romance that skirts the serious issues of interracial relationships and the ways that race, class, education, and other cultural structures mold our attraction to one another.

CLAIRE FOSTER (September 20, 2018)


Kirkus Reviews

Part One

Edna Taylor
XlibrisUS (378 pp.)
$29.99 hardcover, $19.99 paperback
ISBN: 978-1-4691-7258-3; March 14, 2012

In Taylor’s (The Passerby, 2018, etc.) first romance in a new series, a chance encounter sends a college student on an affair of a lifetime.

Intelligent, driven Nanzee Johnson is looking forward to starting her freshman year at New York University. She’s not interested in romance until one fateful afternoon, when she (literally) runs into an intriguing stranger while exploring the city. Basil Barden is charming and handsome, and a mutual attraction sparks between them, but she believes that he’s married when she sees a ring on his finger. When he learns that she’s studying business and hotel management, he offers
her a position at the Blue Vista Downtown Hotel, which he owns. She accepts the job and enters Basil’s high-powered, secretive world. After confessing that he’s divorced, he embarks on a campaign to win Nanzee’s affections and convince her to marry him. Although she worries that her father may not accept the relationship because she and Basil are of different races—she’s African-American and he’s part Irish and part Cherokee—Basil believes he can find common ground with her dad. When Basil reveals his secret heartbreak and his desire for a child, she must decide how to reconcile her desire for independence with the idea of starting a family. This premiere entry in Taylor’s series offers an engaging love story that explores issues of race, class, and prejudice. Nanzee and Basil are dynamic and winsome main characters whose attraction, while immediate, evolves into a passionate, slow-burn romance, punctuated by flirtatious banter. The question of Basil’s marital status creates an element of intrigue and effectively sets the stage for revelations about his past. The exploration of Nanzee’s father’s disapproval allows for deeper character development and insight into the relationship between Nanzee’s parents. Taylor also makes sure to introduce several supporting characters who could figure prominently in future installments, including Nanzee’s friend Gwen Dunkin and Basil’s brother, Blaise Love.

An absorbing novel whose mix of romance and family drama may appeal to fans of Danielle Steel and Kimberla Lawson Roby.