His Only Wife

His Only Wife

Book - 2020 | First edition
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"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 rapidly changing world"--
Publisher: Chapel Hill, North Carolina :, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill,, 2020
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781616209155
Branch Call Number: FIC MED
Characteristics: 278 pages ; 22 cm


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sjpl_rebekah Jun 18, 2021

This book very comfortably fits the vibe of a chick lit drama. I wouldn’t say there is a lot of depth to the story, but I did really enjoy the character arc of the main protagonist, Afi. I wouldn’t really categorize it as a “coming-of-age” story, however, Afi grows and changes a lot as a person as she gains exposure to more modern ideas of womanhood. I’m categorizing this as a contemporary romance for reference purposes, but this label doesn’t quite fit either. Yes, indeed there is a romance, but it is sandwiched between two distinct time periods of uncertainty. It’s less about the romance and more about how the mysteriousness of this man, Eli, drives the plot of the story. When Afi marries him, he is not even present at the wedding, and he doesn’t enter the scene until much later in the story. Yet even with his marked absence, Afi is expected by her family and in-laws to play the role of dutiful wife. She eventually finds her voice (the time alone gives her LOTS of time for introspection), and the end result is rather satisfying. I felt a strong sense of liberation on her behalf when all was said and done. Overall, a very interesting glimpse into the traditions and culture shaping modern-day Ghana.

Jun 05, 2021

Finished May 27 2021
Interesting and fun read though the guy (Eli) gets infuriating. I was getting annoyed that she was still running after him despite him having another woman and being mean towards her (and constantly making up with sex), but the last few pages made up for it because she divorced from him.

Apr 25, 2021

The subject matter and setting was fascinating and I found myself reading more about Ghana when I finished it.
I felt that parts of the novel read more like a case study than a novel. For that reason I'm giving it 3 12 stars

JCLJenV Apr 18, 2021

A character-driven novel with a strong female lead. I wanted a bit more depth from the story but really enjoyed the setting in Ghana. A great first novel from this author.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Feb 16, 2021

I found the exploration of gender norms and plural marriage in Nigerian culture fascinating. At times a bit melodramatic, but a compelling read nonetheless.

Jan 02, 2021

His Only Wife is a complex Cinderella story featuring a strong and modern woman. An enjoyable read.

neyoscribbles Dec 21, 2020

Awesome debut…I really enjoyed reading this novel. This isn’t just Crazy Rich Asians set in Ghana…its more than that. Afie enters into a marriage knowing that her husband has another woman, whom he will leave shortly. Although her husband is in love with this other woman, her marriage provides her with luxuries she could have never imagined. Between balancing an absent husband, enjoying her luxuries and meeting the demands of her family members, Afie is stuck between a life she wants and a life she is expected to lead. Naturally, the female characters are pitted against each other at times, but they are all strong, intelligent and bold in their own ways. This is a book about women breaking traditions and finding their voice in a society where they are expected to keep quiet!

Dec 18, 2020

I gave this one 5 stars as well. It's life in Ghana -- and there's no attempt to explain itself to a Western reader. You just jump in and watch as familiar emotions play out in a completely different society -- keep up! Her gradual pushing back against what's expected of her is done in such a subdued way (ok, there's a bit of yelling here and there) is not grand diva-ish. Firm but polite -- and staying true to her developing awareness of self-worth. A true delight and I too hope the author writes more.

Nov 13, 2020

I really enjoyed this book. I would like to read some more of her books. Very good author, for it to be her debut.

Oct 24, 2020

I enjoyed reading this novel. Afi the main character is smart, sassy, and insightful. I couldn't help but cheer on her bold decisions during the reading of the novel!!! Afi represents every strong modern day woman in todays society!

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SPL_Melanie Jan 15, 2021

His Only Wife, by Peace Adzo Medie, is a tale of modern Ghana. Afi is a young woman living with her mother, scraping together a living as a seamstress. Then a Cinderella moment comes: the rich owner of the factory Afi’s mother works at makes an offer of marriage to Afi on behalf of her son Elikem Ganyo.

The Ganyo family see Afi as a traditional Ghanian woman, and one who will be grateful to them for raising her up in society. So they wish to use her to get their son back from the other woman he loves, but who the family strongly disapproves of.

After a marriage by proxy, Afi moves to the capital city of Accra, into a luxurious apartment supplied by the Ganyos – but doesn’t even meet Eli for weeks. When she finally does, she’s all a wife should be, and falls into an immediate infatuation with this rich, handsome man. But as the truth slowly breaks over her, she begins to realize what she really wants, and to set some boundaries for herself.

This breezily told story uncovers some serious issues; the author is a known activist for women’s rights in her home country, and the effects on contemporary women of polygamy in Ghana are explored here. The setting and the unusual storyline are compelling, while the characters could benefit from a little more complexity. But if you are looking for a story of a woman’s journey to herself, with family drama and some steamy scenes mixed in, this would be a great choice.

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