Tag Archives: literary fiction

his only wife title

Book Review: His Only Wife, by Peace Adzo Medie

I purchased a Call Number literary subscription, and  Peace Adzo Medie‘s His Only Wife was one of the monthly books.

his only wife

Afi Tekple is a young seamstress whose life is narrowing rapidly. She lives in a small town in Ghana with her widowed mother, spending much of her time in her uncle Pious’s house with his many wives and children. Then one day she is offered a life-changing opportunity—a proposal of marriage from the wealthy family of Elikem Ganyo, a man she doesn’t truly know. She acquiesces, but soon realizes that Elikem is not quite the catch he seemed. He sends a stand-in to his own wedding, and only weeks after Afi is married and installed in a plush apartment in the capital city of Accra does she meet her new husband. It turns out that he is in love with another woman, whom his family disapproves of; Afi is supposed to win him back on their behalf. But it is Accra that eventually wins Afi’s heart and gives her a life of independence that she never could have imagined for herself.

my review

I really struggled with this one. It was well written, had wonderful descriptions of Ghanaian society, and Afi certainly had personal growth throughout the book. But she was so often lied to and treated so poorly, by so many people (even while some were being good to her in other, primarily financial, ways) that I was angry on her behalf for most of the book. And while it’s good the book evoked emotions, I don’t enjoy being angry.

Plus, I had a hard time with her anger toward “the other woman.” Sure, she was The Wife, but it was still her stepping into an established relationship, not the other way around. I felt the other woman was the truest victim in the whole situation.

So, while I can say this was a quality, thought provoking book that I’m not sad to have read, I can’t say I enjoyed it.

his only wife photo


Other Reviews:

She’s Full Of Lit

ARC Book Review | His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie

Review: His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie

 

 

Review of The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors by, Michele Young-Stone

I was short a Y-author for my yearly alphabet challenge (where I read a book by an author with a last name starting with every letter of the alphabet). So, I borrowed The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors (by Michele Young-Stone) from the library.

Description from Goodreads:

BECCA

On a sunny day in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, eight-year-old Becca Burke was struck by lightning. No one believed her—not her philandering father or her drunk, love-sick mother—not even when her watch kept losing time and a spooky halo of light appeared overhead in photographs. Becca was struck again when she was sixteen. She survived, but over time she would learn that outsmarting lightning was the least of her concerns.

BUCKLEY

In rural Arkansas, Buckley R. Pitank’s world seemed plagued by disaster. Ashamed but protective of his obese mother, fearful of his scathing grandmother, and always running from bullies (including his pseudo-evangelical stepfather), he needed a miracle to set him free. At thirteen years old, Buckley witnessed a lightning strike that would change everything.

Now an art student in New York City, Becca Burke is a gifted but tortured painter who strives to recapture the intensity of her lightning-strike memories on canvas. On the night of her first gallery opening, a stranger appears and is captivated by her art. Who is this odd young man with whom she shares a mysterious connection? When Buckley and Becca finally meet, neither is prepared for the charge of emotions—or for the perilous event that will bring them even closer to one another and to the families they’ve been running from for as long as they can remember.

Review:

I really loved the ending of this book, which tends to make me forget that I didn’t actually love the rest of it. I liked the characters and the mechanical writing is fine, but I hate all the jumping around in time. I couldn’t temporally keep up, never knew anyone’s approximate age at any one point (and this book starts in childhood), and never knew how those ages related to one another.

Further, the main characters don’t meet until like 80% into the book and then immediately separate until the end. (It’s not a romance, by the way, I’d expected it to be.) And until the end, everyone is miserable.

All in all, I didn’t hate it and I can recognize it’s well written. But it wasn’t a huge winner for me (other than the ending). I did think the narrator did a good job though.

Review of Love on a Train, by Colleen L. Donnelly

I received an Audible code for a copy of Colleen L. Donnelly‘s Love on a Train.

Description from Goodreads:

The moment Martha noticed Raymond on the train, everything her mother warned against erupted – romantic notions, palpitating heart, the desire to write it all in a novel and tell the world. 
Martha lived and wrote that love story until the day Raymond handed her a sketch. “Want to see a picture of the girl I plan to marry?” The penciled profile resembled Martha… But when Raymond went away, she knew. She wasn’t the girl he planned to marry. 
David was her father’s apprentice, everything Martha’s mother said made a good husband – hardworking, no romantic tendencies, no tolerance for writing about it. 
Martha added a fictional happy ending to her and Raymond’s story and published it. Cleansed herself of romantic love, ready to marry David. Until a copy of her book appeared. Full of sketches, Raymond’s version of their love story, drawings that enticed her heart to beat once again. 

Review:

My rating (which was a 2 star) is based on my enjoyment—or general lack there of—and the fact that I had to force myself to finish the book. The writing is solid and I’ll even concede that the book within a book mechanism was clever (though occasionally repetitive). And the narrator (Amy Deuchler) did a good job with the audio version. However, I didn’t enjoy the book.

I understand that it was supposed to be set just after the end of the world war and women of that time period had different responsibilities and restrictions. But my god, Martha was a fucking doormat. She didn’t stand up to her mother when they pushed her into an engagement she obviously didn’t want. She didn’t push pack when her fiancé (and mother) expected her to give up all of herself to be a wife. She somehow fell in love and thought to marry a man she met on the train, but apparently didn’t actually know that well. She just went along with everything, internally hand wringing the whole time. And despite being obviously smart, she had NO AMBITION beyond getting married.

Then there was the fact that said man was already engaged to another and just disappeared for months without a word. But as soon as he shows up everything was forgiven and it’s supposed to be a happy ending. Ummmm, no.

And Donnelly should seriously be fined for making the reading of a novel take weeks, dragging the plot out interminably and then, after hundreds of pages of ‘should I or shouldn’t I’ marry him, having the decision and event (arguably the most interesting thing to happen in the book) happen off page, such that the reader is denied it.

I imagine this is just a case of wrong reader for the book. There will no doubt be some that enjoy this. But I did not. I was almost insulted by it.