His Only Wife
by Medie, Peace Adzo

"An intelligent and funny debut about a relatable, indomitable heroine: a young seamstress in Ghana who agrees to an arranged marriage, only to realize that some compromises are too extreme to accept, illuminating what it means to be a woman in a rapidlychanging world"-

Afi Tekple has her focus on mastering her skills as a seamstress in a small town in Ghana, where she is happy with a simple life. She lives with her widowed mother who one day proposes an arranged marriage to a wealthy man named Elikem Ganyo, who is too busy to attend their eventual wedding and sends his brother in as a stand-in. The Ganyo family convinces Afi that the woman Elikem is currently dating has a wicked hold on him, and marriage to Afi will help bring him back around. After she moves to Accra to live in the flat provided by Elikem, Afi learns that the situation is more complicated than the family initially led on. In her debut novel, Medie writes with a precise rhythm that builds the reader's anticipation. Themes like deception, ambition, love, and values drench the pages with conflict that evolves into an emotional rollercoaster. Essentially, Afi's fight for love leads her down the path of boundary-setting and living life on her own terms. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

A Cinderella story set in Ghana. "I think I would have been less apprehensive if Eli himself had been present." Probably so, since this is Afi's wedding and Elikem is the groom, whom she has barely met. This delightful debut novel from Medie, who was born in Liberia, educated in Ghana and the U.S., and teaches at the University of Bristol in England, is anything but academic. As it begins, Afi—gorgeous, talented at sewing, dirt poor, and very country—is being married in a traditional ceremony to an absent young man whose wealthy and powerful family, the Ganyos, will do anything to separate him from his Liberian mistress. An aging woman known as Aunty is the Don Corleone of the clan, obeyed and feared by all—or almost all. Her selection of Afi as designated daughter-in-law immediately improves the desperate straits of Afi's widowed mother and a whole slew of other relatives, who begin receiving deliveries of rice and other supplies as part of her bride price. Eli's brother, Richard, sets Afi up in a fancy apartment in Accra and his sister Yaya helps her enroll in fashion design school. Now...if only Eli would show up. By the time he does, Afi is so lonely and miserable that she might have fallen in love with him even if he weren't incredibly good looking, generous, and sweet. Unfortunately, he is also completely unwilling to break things off with his other woman, who lives in his primary residence with their daughter. Medie subtly develops Afi's character as she—mentored by her brother-in-law's mistress, who lives down the hall—goes from being an innocent, awestruck village girl to a sophisticated, confident woman, accustomed to privilege and luxury, set on a creative career...and mad as hell. She gradually pieces together the scoop on her rival, who "moved to Ghana reluctantly, her cigarettes and booze clutched in one hand and her baby in the other" and now has Eli so wrapped around her little finger that she takes off on a solo vacation to Spain w h ile he's out of town on business. Afi deserves better. This is war. A Crazy Rich Asians for West Africa, with a healthy splash of feminism. Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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