The Codes of Love

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Mar 2020

Member Reviews

There are rules of love, languages of love and codes of love. Everything turns around the magical word ´love´ but it might have different meanings and stir different associations for each and every single human involved in the process of love as such. We associate to love either social conventions - marriage, partnership - or strong feelings and commitments - honesty, openness. We want love to last, at least as long as a fairy tale, and when we, or one of us is out of love, we are heartbroken, a phenomenon which can be describe accurately in anatomical/medical terms.
Hannah Persaud debut novel The Codes of Love opens with a quote from Kahlil Gibran, On Marriage: `Love one another, but make not a bond of love: let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your soul`. What is the bond about, actually? Being committed legally - through marriage - with shared bank account, the same family name, a mortgage? Depending on one another physically? Requesting absolute fidelity? Living for and through one another? How can you trace the map of your heart adding other people to the chart, but without keeping them against their own will.
Ada - Ryan - Emily are part of a triangle in the making. Dominated by an aggressive father, Ryan married the adventurous Emily as his first love. In their early 40s, he´s a successful architect, she´s teaching literature, they have two teenage soons and the secret of an open marriage. Emily´s idea, never fully accepted by Ryan. Emily and Ryan do have different needs that time did not change: she´s more sexual, he is more on the  intellectual committed side. The fact that their marriage relies on an apparently stable set of rules, translating easily into codes made of fine everyday agreements does not protect any of them from the final countdown of the failure. In fact, it is the failure of a convention that gives further life to (probably) just another code (of love).
This is what we are witnessing in The Codes of Love: the end of a marriage that might make many envious, where physical trepassings are accepted in the name of an out-of-time commitment and mutual respect. For Ryan, who´s suddenly having a committed adventure with the independent and never committed Ada, Emily´s code of love was frustrating as he will openly tell her in one of their fights: ´Did you ever feel guilty for the pain you caused me as I watched you gallivating around?´ On the other hand, Emily suspects Ryan is having more than an adventure and is becoming unsecure and jealous - wasn´t it one of her rules to not sleep more than once with someone? Between Ryan and Emily the code of love is becoming a game of lies and a nasty display of power. Apparently, there are some limits to the open canvas of their marriage. The relationship erodes ´layer by layer, like rust´.
On her side, Ada is playing her own independent game: manipulating more or less consciously both of them, never losing herself. She´s excited about the unexpected and the adventure, but once she and Ryan are buying a cottage in Wales, there is no more excitement and the adventure has no present.
What the intricacies of the relationships setting and unsettling in The Codes of Love reveals for me is the confusing multiplicity of commitments that never set for one, in fact: the commitment for an emancipated life - as Emily looks back to her relationship choices she said ´I´m just pushing for the same freedom that men have claimed for years´ - the commitment of independence, the commitment of adventure, the commitment of monogamy, the commitment of intellect overriding the instinctual desires. Each and every one of this commitments are breaking apart in million little pieces, and out of the shards new love paths are created, not necessarily code-bounded. 
The writing flows in an uncomplicated way, like the lines of a building on the architect´s chart. Besides the three main characters, the other protagonists of the story are rather episodic and without a defined personality (for instance, I would have been curious to delve a little bit more into Emily´s sister story). The natural environment recreated - the Wales setting - suits perfectly the inner wildnerness of the characters. 
The cover deserves a special mention, for the excellent visual rendition of the story.
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Beautifully written, The Codes of Love tells the intriguing story of married couple Ryan and Emily Bradshaw, who have a rather unconventional open marriage. They have been together 22 years and have two teenage sons, Tom and Sam. Ryan is a successful architect and Emily is a creative writing lecturer at University College London (UCL) and the family live in London.

The title of the book refers to the rules of an open marriage, all 25 of them, which are listed by chapter. When the couple married, Emily insisted that they should draw up some rules to try and save their marriage from failing. Ryan wasn’t quite so keen but he went along with it as he was so in love with Emily.

It’s certainly a different marriage, and then Adeline (Ada), a consultant on Ryan’s project, joins the mix and you’ve got a recipe for disaster, with the rules being challenged one by one. One of Emily’s students takes a liking to her too, causing further problems in her and Ryan’s relationship.

It’s a fascinating look at an unusual relationship and I felt almost voyeuristic reading about it from Ryan and Emily’s points of view. It’s compelling and absorbing and I was drawn into the story, especially the almost ethereal world of Ryan’s holiday cottage in Wales, which is beautifully described. I was curious to read that the cottage, named Cyfannedd Fach, was first mentioned by the author in a short story, which was published in 2016, and can be found on her blog.

Throughout the book, there’s a great sense of foreboding and tension. I kept expecting bad things to happen and there were a few instances of misdirection, which were cleverly done. It’s quite a haunting, disturbing tale and builds up well.

The main protagonists in the story were rather volatile and untrustworthy and all seemed to be hiding secrets and not revealing their true selves to each other. The passion and desire they were experiencing led to some rather rash decisions and feelings of being out of control and reckless. It made uncomfortable reading at times, almost like watching a car crash about to happen!

Overall, I really enjoyed this cleverly written story and I found it very absorbing and something a bit different from the norm. I’m already looking forward to reading the author’s next novel. And I can’t finish this review without mentioning that stunning and eye-catching rainbow-like cover! So vivid and bright, it deserves a closer look and will definitely stand out on the shelf.
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It is hard to describe how good this book was. At first, I thought I just wouldn’t finish it, but I took my words back as the chapters went on.

When the characters are first introduced, I didn’t see all this coming. Ryan and Emily were the ‘perfect’ couple, some kind of utopia of marriage. The relationship they had could be something most men would want and take advantage of that, but Ryan was not into it though he tried. 
Boring at the beginning, Ryan seemed like a dull man; and perhaps he is. He ‘fell in love’ with Ada, a consultant for some of his projects, and had sex with her. But surprisingly, his wife Emily has fallen in love with Ada too. 

For a second, I thought this was going towards a polyamory relationship but never thought that it could end that way. I hope both women had what they desired and needed at last.

I really loved the topic of an open marriage; it is interesting to have this kind of subjects on a book.

What I found more annoying in the chapters where the little to null relation between the titles with the content, at least I haven’t found it. Also, I think there should’ve been a timeline to follow how everything developed and, as in some chapters, the specific dates.
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the Kindle ARC of The Codes of Love. The premise of the book interested me but I ended up enjoying the book even more than I thought I would. Ryan and Emily have a long, rocky marriage and two almost adult sons . Emily married Ryan with one condition = that they would have an open marriage, so that the marriage didn't fade away. Enter Adeline (Ada), who engages in a long term affair with Ryan, definitely against the rules of the open marriage. Ada also seduces Emily, separately, without Ryan's knowledge. The dialogue between the characters are genuine and I was very interested to see how the broken marriage, affair and deception would play out. A highly readable book without being over the top.
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This is weird. It's not bad but this kinda fucked up lol Open marriage? Hah! Nothing much to say.

Thank you Netgalley, author and publisher for this ARC!
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The Codes of Love caught my eye because of the premise of marriage with a set of rules. The reader quickly learns that the rules are set for an open marriage. Dynamic of an open marriage must be completely different than of regular one, and the book gives us a glimpse into the lives of one of such open marriages.

Each chapter starts with a particular rule set for Emily and Ryan's marriage, and each chapter then shows us how they both start to break all the rules. And it all starts when they meet Ada, mysterious woman that intrigues both Emily and Ryan. Each interaction with Ada crumbles the foundation of their marriage. All of the characters are unlikable, but they all make choices that are understandable. The reader will not cheer them, wishing them success in their endeavours, but we all somehow will get why they doing it. They were pushed to their limits and didn't know how to deal with it all differently. They did their best, no matter how poorly it looks.

The story is a clever exploration of relationships, with a curious sprinkle of suspense on what is true and who actually is the narrator in the book. Could it be a twisted story of one of the characters, or am I reading too much into it?
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Thank you to Netgalley and Muswell Press for this ebook ARC, in exchange for my honest review. 

This was a novel about the raw dynamics of multiple relationships unraveling, as seen through the lens of flawed and manipulative personalities. It read like a fascinating case study, with the epicentre highlighting the drastic impact of the two protagonists’ choice to enter into an unconventional marriage. 

In this beautiful, intense and vividly written piece, the themes of open-marriage, evolving relationships and the exploration of sexuality were scrutinized through 25 chapters, each defined by a specific “code” of Ryan and Emily’s open-marriage agreement.

Persaud used well-paced and dual timelines, along with sharp-etched imagery to bring to life the layered internal chaos the characters navigated throughout this compelling story.
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The Codes of Love has an intriguing premise - that of an open relationship. When Ryan and Emily marry they agree their's will be an open marriage as long as they are truthful with one another, that the sexual liaisons are one-offs and do not result in an ongoing extramarital relationship. But then Adeline appears in their lives and unbeknown to either Ryan or Emily, she begins an affair with both of them. They are both sexually bewitched by her and she plays on their insecurities.

Emily suspects  Ryan of being unfaithful when he spends more time away from home after he and Adeline secretly buy a rundown property together in Wales. To complicate matters Emily, a creative writing teacher, has a besotted student stalking her, creating further problems. 

Some readers may not like the fact that none of the characters is likeable but they are human and realistic. I found the structure of the novel original and the psychological insight of the characters compelling. Many thanks to NetGalley and Muswell Press for the opportunity to read and review The Codes of Love.
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This is not the kind of story I like to read. 
When I read the first chapter, I thought Ryan and Ava are slowly falling in love. But in the second chapter came Emily, Ryan's wife. 

I finished the entire story in one sitting because I wanted to know how this will end. But I must say this book was not good for my blood pressure, I wanted to kill someone while reading this book.
It shows an ugly image of marriage- an open marriage and insecurities. I liked how free Ava is but then I started hating her. She is good for herself but she messed up their marriage, I feel she is herself messed up. I hated Leo (Emily's student who falls for her and ultimately becomes her stalker) from the beginning but I liked his honesty at the end. I sympathized the most with Emily though I realize that she was responsible for it. I sympathized with Ryan as well yet I could not forgive him for his decisions. I feel pity for both Tom and Sam(Emily and Ryan' s children) and I like Sam the best. He has the emotional intelligence that the entire family was lacking. And I really felt it when Tom said about hoe Emily leads a life of pretension for the public. 

Since I hate these ugly marriage stories , it would have been more appropriate for me to give this book a bad rating. Because this was blood curdling to say the least. Yet I would give it 4 stars because it is f**ked up in an unconventional way. There are probably couples out there living this and though I hate it , I can't close my eyes to reality. That is probably one of the reasons why I am giving this book 3 big stars otherwise I myself do not understand my generosity. Yet I know I am never going to read this again, it's simple not for me. Nonetheless, I appreciate the author for the fresh storyline and the beautiful way she has written this story.
PS : This is too emotionally disturbing. Not for the weak hearts.
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The Codes of Love was an interesting read. It took me a few chapters to get use to the different approach of telling the story through the 25 rules of an open marriage. The story centers around Ryan and Emily who agree to this set of open marriage rules, much to Ryan's chagrin, just prior to their marriage. As the story unfolds Adeline, "Ade", becomes entwined with both Ryan and Emily, which causes a multitude of trials and tribulations. There seem to be a lot of secrets and lies going on so no one is really sure where they stand in any relationship. Add in a student, Leo, who falls in love with Emily, is stalking her and furthering complicating things. I would definintly recommend this book to those who enjoy the complications that can come with all forms of relationships and how they can unfold. This is the first book I have read by Hannah Persaud. I look forward to exploring more of her novels.
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The Codes of Love
by Hannah Persaud

I was given a complimentary e-copy of this book by NetGalley and Muswell Press in exchange for an honest review.

I found The Codes of Love to be interesting and intriguing with sinister undertones always lying just below the surface.  I didn’t feel a connection to the characters, even though they were well developed.  The married couple, Emily and Ryan weren’t likable, in my opinion.  They are a couple in an open marriage - the “codes” are noted throughout the book.  Emily is the proponent of this arrangement, with Ryan being a passive, reluctant participant. 
And I really didn’t like Ada, Ryan’s work partner/turned lover.  I was also left with too many questions about Ada.  

Although it was a page turner, I felt it was disjointed - the chapter changes with date and character changes were hard to follow. I also thought the events didn’t flow smoothly.

The setting is beautiful, the is story very interesting, but it just wasn’t my ideal.  A good solid, read though!  

Physical violence 
Sexual content 

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Thank you NetGalley and Muswell Press for the eARC.
This is a difficult book for me to review, because I loved it, but didn't really like any of the characters.
Ian and Emily have an ostensibly perfect marriage; with two teenage sons, they're well-to-do, have a lovely home and a successful business.
But there are certain rules governing their marriage that Emily set up.  Ian never was and is not happy about the rules, but has stuck to them faithfully.  Until Adeline comes into the picture.
The marriage slowly but relentlessly crumbles.  As I said, I loved the book, but found all three (supposedly) grown-ups selfish and totally self-centered...their poor sons.  But it's a story that's hard to put down and well written; definitely recommended!
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