Saturday, September 21

Book Review: Sweetness in the Belly

Title: Sweetness in the Belly

Author: Camilla Gibb

Pages: 408

Summary: Set in Emperor Haile Selassie's Ethiopia and the racially charged world of Margaret Thatcher's London, Sweetness in the Belly is a richly detailed portrayal of one woman's search for love and belonging. Lilly, born to British parents, eventually finds herself living as a devout Muslim woman in the ancient walled city of Harar in the years leading up to the deposition of the emperor. She is drawn to an idealistic young doctor, Aziz, but their love has only just begun to fulfill its promise when the convulsions of a new order wrench them apart, sending Lilly to an England she has never seen and Aziz into the darkness of a revolution.

My Rating: 7/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I enjoyed parts of the book. It was well written and it had some interesting parts to it, but in the end I found it didn't come together for me.

I felt Lilly as a character was what threw me off from the book. I didn't like her as a character and found a lot of her development forced. Her romantic relationship with Aziz, lacked in anything that I found was a meaningful relationship, because I never felt the was any connection between her and Aziz and I felt their relationship felt very forced and unbelievable. I also couldn't connect to her emotionally. There were a lot of other characteristics about Lilly I disliked as well, she was a harsh, hardened character, which worked well for the experiences and what happened in her past, but I found that, she wasn't very likeable, she was to one-sided. I did enjoy some of the supporting characters, but even then, I found much of their interactions and emotional bonds forced to help move the story along, rather than allow it to come naturally.

I think the author did a good job at creating Lilly's spiritual and life journey while she was in Ethiopia. The author seemed to have done her research well, in this aspect of the book. Both the spiritual side and historical aspects of the book worked out well. I enjoyed the story more in the parts in England than Ethiopia, as I felt some of the spiritual side of things were becoming repetitive, but I still think the author did a great job there. The author took care at bring the cultural and spiritual side of things to life for the readers, and it was woven into the characters development fairly well.

Overall, not a bad read, but not exactly a great read for me.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, I didn't love the book, but the author did a good job with it. It wasn't my cup of tea, but a lot of readers would enjoy Lilly as a character and the journey she goes on.

What to read next: Cutting for Stone

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2013 Category Challenge, 7th Annual Canadian Book Challenge


  1. I quite liked this book, but I read it years ago and can't remember why or if it came together for me in the end. I read Cutting for Stone more recently and can tell you that I loved it. I can't wait to see what you think!

    1. I hope to read Cutting for Stone soon. It's been on my TBR list for a while now, it's just a book that always gets pushed back for later.