Skip to content

His Only Wife

Book
His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie

As seen:

By Peace Adzo Medie

avg rating

10 reviews

Reviews

28 Dec 2021

JaneMack

I enjoyed this and it was a very quick read – entertaining but also thought-provoking. It starts with the bizarre scenario of Afi marrying her husband in absentia. It’s an arranged marriage and she joins a wealthy and influential family in Ghana and moves to Accra, to live in solitude for a while until she’s eventually joined by her husband and love slowly blossoms. The problem is he has another love in his life, one his family are trying to push away and replace with Afi! The most enjoyable part of the story for me is Afi’s transformation from a shy and deferential young woman and new wife, to a successful and assertive businesswoman. This was partly aided by the privilege bestowed on her by this marriage and also by her own experience and insight.

17 Dec 2021

NoraF

Somewhat to my surprise I found this book gripping from the beginning to the end. The reason I was surprised is that it is a very easy read, more like a children's book than one aimed at adults. It revealed a lot of interesting information about the life and culture in Ghana. Afi's situation is a very unusual one - thankfully not a common dilemma in Western culture!

17 Dec 2021

JennyC

Afi is a young adult living in Ghana with her widowed mother. Whilst they are struggling to make ends meet, her Uncle Pious lives nearby in relative comfort, surrounded by his many wives and children. One day, Afi is presented with a potentially life-changing opportunity. A wealthy family who are based in Accra, Ghana’s capital, but have business interests in Afi’s small town, propose that Afi marries Elikem, their son. Although she does not know Elikem, she agrees as the marriage will be advantageous to her whole family. A date is set for the ceremony but Elikem sends a stand-in, pleading prior business engagements. Soon afterwards Afi is shipped off to Accra to begin her married life and enters a world of plenty that she could never even have imagined in her wildest dreams. The only real problem is Elikem, her husband, who still remains largely absent. The marriage, it seems, was a strategic ploy, conceived by the family in order to try and extricate Elikem from a relationship of which they disapproved. The book tells the story of what happens next and it soon becomes apparent that it is going to be a somewhat bumpy ride.

This book was easy to read, written in an almost simplistic, child-like style and it is also quite short. It is set in a country about which I knew absolutely nothing, and it was fascinating to explore some of the cultural differences. Who would have thought that one could be married in absentia, not even needing to show up for the wedding (or maybe this is only an option for men)? It also transpires that Ghana has a culture of polygamy and the backdrop of polygamy is a recurring theme throughout the book. It is a potentially a fairly unique storyline and as the author is from Ghana, I am assuming that the information given about everyday life in that country is accurate – if not, then I am going to mislead a lot of people when I start pontificating about my new-found knowledge!! The specific issues that the book raises do not have direct parallels in our culture, but the emotions evoked by the situation are universal.

This latter observation leads me into the main problem which I had with the book. Whilst I felt that Afi’s dilemma was well conceived and a good premise for a book, I felt that the execution was somehow lacking. I didn’t feel that Afi’s character was developed fully and her feelings were not described in enough depth. It all felt a little shallow, whereas I am sure that her emotions were much more multi-faceted and her hurt more all-consuming than was portrayed in the book. Although this did not mar my overall enjoyment, I would have given a higher star rating if Afi had been more plausible.

This is a good debut novel, and one which I would recommend. I would certainly read subsequent offerings by this author, but would hope that the character development had improved.

16 Dec 2021

RachelHB

This novel's premise is intriguing-- a Ghanaian girl is married to a rich young man with the hope of coaxing him back from his girlfriend-- and, thankfully, the execution delivers. I loved Afi as a character and I loved the depiction of Ghanaian culture. The story was steeped in traditional culture and an entirely non-western way of thinking, yet it was a fascinating story of female empowerment. The novel really challenged my understanding of African culture and gave me a new respect for young women like Afi.

For me, the strongest aspect of this novel was Afi's character development. She changes from a relatively shy, submissive girl into a powerful young woman who makes her own decisions and understands what she wants. I appreciated, however, that this transition isn't simple and linear; rather, in the middle of the novel, she actually becomes rather selfish and narrow-minded. Her development felt realistic throughout, and by the end of the story I felt proud of who she'd become.

Partly, I loved this novel because it was simply about people of colour, without in any way being about racism or race relations. It simply told a good story and didn't feel the need to draw attention to the fact that its characters weren't white. The novel presents a non-western culture as normative in a really refreshing way. This presented people of colour of heroes of their own stories, rather than simply as "other" in a white culture.

Overall, I'd highly recommend this novel. It's part-romance, part coming-of-age. It's written well, in an easily-accessible style that won't win any awards for literary flourishes but which perfectly suits the style of the book. The pacing is solid, the character development is strong, and the setting is fascinating. HIS ONLY WIFE is unlike anything I've read before and will definitely be going on my recommended list.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4392640634?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

16 Dec 2021

JanetH

This is quite an interesting book as it is set in Ghana, a country about which I am very ignorant. The situation in which the characters find themselves is so alien to our own culture that I had trouble getting my head around it. Afi is a likeable character who stands up for herself in a male-oriented society and starts to forge her own independence.

15 Dec 2021

JoanieM

I read this book through my Book Club, and it wasn’t my usual kind of book.

I quite enjoyed it. It was an easy read, and it was quite interesting to read about other cultures. However, I felt it was quite a simple story, there was no depth to the characters, and there was nothing unexpected in the plot.

15 Dec 2021

Mokshuda Bahar

I really enjoyed the way the information is slowly revealed. I think the book has shown a good representation of Ghanaian culture. I think the characters are well written and you can really connect with her emotions.

08 Dec 2021

magic roundabout

I really enjoyed reading this book. It is easy to read, with a wealth of colourful characters.
I enjoyed reading about another culture and a young woman developing her confidence fighting for her independence , I felt there could be a sequel.

04 Dec 2021

St Regulus SM

Vivid and witty, with richly drawn characters and settings, this book had me hooked from start to finish. I enjoyed reading about a different culture and traditions, and the engaging style of writing kept a lively pace. I look forward to reading more from this author.

01 Dec 2021

laura.lb

Initially I didn’t think I was going to like this book as I couldn’t see where the story was going. How wrong could I be!
I absolutely loved it!
Such an interesting story and I learnt so much about another culture. It’s a fast paced book that I couldn’t put down and was disappointed when I finished it.

From the noticeboard

View our other programmes