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His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie

Afi Tekple is a young seamstress living in a small town in Ghana with her widowed mother. Afi's future doesn't seem to hold much excitement. Until, that is, she is offered a life-changing opportunity - a proposal of marriage from the wealthy family of Elikem Ganyo.

She barely knows Elikem, but that seems a small price to pay for a marriage that could offer her family financial security, as well as the key to the glitzy city lifestyle she's always wanted. But when Afi arrives in Accra, she realises that her fairy-tale ending might not be all that she'd hoped for. Now she must balance the often conflicting roles of wife, daughter, niece and sister-in-law, without losing sight of herself.

Marriage in absentia. What a quintessentially African phenomenon. Or so it feels like, but actually is not. In Nigeria, we have introductions and traditional marriages where one or both parties are not present - most likely because they are abroad. What happens then is the strangest sight; Large pictures of the bride, groom or bride and groom are danced around the venue.

When I read about Afi's marriage, I knew I was going to like this book. The plot has some tricks up its sleeves and there's a dash of humour thrown in to brighten the story. But somewhere along the way, I lost a little empathy for most of the characters. This book is beautifully written and has rave reviews. However, perhaps because it is a story I know all too well, it didn't have that big an effect on me.


This is a fantastic insight into ideas around marriage, women's roles in society, love and duty in an African context, and life in Accra. it's also one hell of a page-turner.

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