The book is set during the English revolution of Cromwell and Jacob Cullen is what today you will define a psychopath. For how much I liked him, yes, I did, I was probably liking the man I wanted him to be, the man he could have been if his illness was not making him a monster. When he was able to not listen to his devil inner voice, Jacob was almost a romantic hero; and even if he commits ugly actions, even uglier since they are against the ones he loves more, he is in pain after that… is it enough to make him a good man? No, unfortunately it’s not, since the other Jacob, the one who is following the voice, is like the puppy who bites the hand that is feeding him, for no apparent reason if not that he believes that hand was feeding/loving someone else.
Jacob falls in love for Christopher, and Christopher for him; I truly believe it was love, and I truly believe Jacob is regretting the end of this love (and please don’t be angry, this is not a real spoiler, it’s enough to read any review, or even the blurb, to understand this is not an happily ever after story). Only a man in love could say to the voice (yes, Jacob “talks” with the voice…): “Why did You bid me drown the letter? I have lost something that he touched, and the destruction of it has gained You nothing, for now I no longer read the words, I hear them, as if he implored me face to face: Speak to me, Jacob, do not play the tyrant. Speak to me.” Almost as a precise surgeon, the author chose these words, “Speak to me”, to open and close the first time Jacob went to Christopher, exactly in the middle of the novel, and to close the book, right the last words before the End. Speak to me, Jacob, maybe Christopher was saying, Speak to me and not to your voice? Was Christopher aware that Jacob was crazy, that there was nothing to do to save him?
But there is nothing much to say, Jacob is ill, completely crazy, and for how much Christopher loves him, the other man has dreams that in the end he realizes cannot include Jacob, and that is the moment when Jacob will bite the hand who is feeding him, feeding him love.
You want passion, wrenching love, wonderful and original characters, perfectly carved setting? As Meat Loves Salt is your novel. You want sweet and romance, frilly dresses and comfortable feelings? Avoid this novel as a plague.
Amazon: As Meat Loves Salt
Amazon Kindle: As Meat Loves Salt
Paperback: 544 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (March 2011)