A witty, moving, and smart debut novel, His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie takes place in a world of men who want their wives to be beautiful, to be good cooks and mothers, to grant their husbands forbearance. And in Afi, we meet a delightful, brave, and relatable heroine who just may break all the rules. A brilliant scholar and a fierce advocate for women’s rights, author Peace Adzo Medie infuses her debut novel with intelligence and humor. For readers of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Candice Carty-Williams, His Only Wife is the story of an indomitable and relatable heroine that illuminates what it means to be a woman in a rapidly changing world. In this article, you will be able to download His only wife by Peace Adzo Medie as well as do the following:
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Summary of His only wife by Peace Adzo Medie pdf
Afi Tekple is a young seamstress in Ghana. She is smart; she is pretty; and she has been convinced by her mother to marry a man she does not know. Afi knows who he is, of course—Elikem is a wealthy businessman whose mother has chosen Afi in the hopes that she will distract him from his relationship with a woman his family claims is inappropriate. But Afi is not prepared for the shift her life takes when she is moved from her small hometown of Ho to live in Accra, Ghana’s gleaming capital, a place of wealth and sophistication where she has days of nothing to do but cook meals for a man who may or may not show up to eat them. She has agreed to this marriage in order to give her mother the financial security she desperately needs, and so she must see it through. Or maybe not?
His Only Wife is a witty, smart, and moving debut novel about a brave young woman traversing the minefield of modern life with its taboos and injustices, living in a world of men who want their wives to be beautiful, to be good cooks and mothers, to be women who respect their husbands and grant them forbearance. And in Afi, Peace Medie has created a delightfully spunky and relatable heroine who just may break all the rules.
About the author His only wife – Peace Adzo Medie
Peace Adzo Medie is a Ghanaian writer and Senior Lecturer in Gender and International Politics at the University of Bristol in England and a Research Fellow at the University of Ghana. She has published several short stories, and her book Global Norms and Local Action: The Campaigns to End Violence Against Women in Africa was published by Oxford University Press in 2020. She is an award-winning scholar and has been awarded several fellowships. She holds a PhD in Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh and a BA in Geography from the University of Ghana. She was born in Liberia. Website: www.peacemedie.com
Information about the book (Amazon)
- Publisher : Algonquin Books; 1st Edition (September 1, 2020)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 288 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1616209151
- ISBN-13 : 978-1616209155
- Item Weight : 12.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.75 x 0.75 x 8.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #87,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #25 in African Literature (Books)
- #837 in Women’s Divorce Fiction
- #3,470 in Women’s Domestic Life Fiction
- Customer Reviews: 4.2 out of 5 stars 4,059 ratings
Where to buy His only wife by Peace Adzo Medie online
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Editorial reviews and praise for his only wife
A Library Journal Best Fiction Book of 2020
A SheReads Best of 2020: Women’s Fiction & Best African & Diaspora Book of 2020
“Peace Adzo Medie’s mesmerizing debut novel lives up to both the power of its first sentence and the promise of its author’s first name . . . At a time when adventure is scarce, Medie gives you a lot to look forward to, think about and be grateful for.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“A fierce and funny first novel . . . [that] cleverly upends a Cinderella story into a tale of feminism.”
“A story that kept me tied to the page, told in masterful, seamless prose . . . Medie depicts a vivid and dazzling Accra, and it’s impossible not to root for Afi as she finds her footing within it.”
“With spot-on characterizations of deeply involved extended families and realistic depictions of how money can change everything, Peace Adzo Medie conjures a Cinderella story just right for 2020.”
“A fierce and funny debut novel . . . A deeply engrossing chronicle of contemporary Ghanaian womanhood.”
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“A hilarious, page-turning, sharply realized portrait of modern womanhood in the most infuriating of circumstances. A gem of a debut.”
—Wayétu Moore, author of The Dragons, the Giant, the Women
“[A] poignant, timely debut novel.”
“A witty Cinderella portrait of modern life and love.”
“In her sparkling debut novel, Ghanaian writer and academic Peace Adzo Medie uses humor, candor and feminism to examine womanhood, marriage and agency in modern Ghana.”
“A Cinderella story set in Ghana . . . A Crazy Rich Asians for West Africa, with a healthy splash of feminism.”
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“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.”
“This stirring tale sings when Afi learns to flex her limited power.”
“A unique and unapologetic marriage story that shines with honesty, humanity, power and grace: once you pick this book up, you won’t be able to put it down. Medie’s urgent, intimate voice is exactly what the world needs right now.”
—Mathangi Subramanian, author of A People’s History of Heaven
“Afi’s charm makes her an empowering example of modern womanhood . . . Its message bold and its viewpoint appealing, His Only Wife is an inspiring novel.”
“Peace Adzo Medie puts a wonderfully contemporary spin on a fairytale trope.”
—Christian Science Monitor
“Medie gives Afi a voice that winningly combines insecurity, wisdom and dignity . . . The dramas of Afi’s marriage and various family conflicts offer an entertaining plot rich with humor, but it is the story of the strong woman in a challenging and changing world that will capture readers’ hearts. His Only Wife is a memorable novel of personal growth and choosing one’s own destiny . . . [A] winning debut.”
—Shelf Awareness, starred review
Reviews from community readers on goodreads
I was never bored while reading this, but as soon as I finished I wondered how I was not constantly bored.
I mean, yes, this book supplied me with a sort of figurative IV of drama, a constant drip of tea that offered me restorative health benefits, a steady stream of scandal the likes of which I want every single conversation I have to take inspiration from.
But I didn’t care much about the characters. You’d think that should make a difference, because who wants juicy details about the lives of people they don’t know or take interest in? Turns out, me.
This is the literary equivalent of a friend of a friend telling you a two-hour story about people you don’t know. And while that wasn’t boring, it was like…I’d prefer if someone else were telling me this? Or maybe if I was having a different conversation.
Bottom line: I could say something about the clear and straightforward writing style, or how this somehow felt both too long and too short, or probably a bunch of other stuff, but what it comes down to is I’m nosy.tbr review– the most appealing thing a book can be is under 300 pages. i don’t make the rules. I have officially received word that it is my curse to want to read everything compared to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
I have mixed feelings about this contemporary African story about love, marriage, culture and what it means to be the perfect daughter, wife and to “keep your home.” The premise is that Afi, is a young seamstress from a rural town in Ghana who wins the proverbial lottery when she’s selected by her family’s wealthy benefactors to marry their favourite son, Eli, who’s involved with a woman they do not approve of. Afi’s task as the new (traditionally-wed, family-approved) wife is to divert Eli’s attentions from the “Jezebel” who’s stolen him away from his family. I was intrigued by this African film industry premise and excited to check it out. The idea was not at all unrealistic to me as I’ve seen similar things play out in real life although not quite with people as cosmopolitanly urbane but I’m not disputing the plausibility.
It was a little hard to “like” any of the characters in this book because some of them were a little trope-y but for me which was fine, I don’t mind a trope- but they never quite managed to break through from the shell. I really struggled with Afi’s youthful naïveté. I struggled to “buy” the deep-seated love relationship between she and Eli, especially since she went in with eyes open knowing full well there was another woman involved in the mix. Therefore, it seemed a little out of place later when she made it seem like she was being cheated on when she came in as the latter day entrant to the “polygamous” relationship. It didn’t really make sense to me as she was built up as knowing the situation beforehand and so, I’m not quite sure what her endgame or expectations were but as a reader, it didn’t feel realistic to me. Again, to be charitable, Afi IS quite young at 21 and also quite inexperienced, so perhaps that plays a role in her characterization and behaviour.
Plot-wise to me, there were a few holes and I had questions but not enough that I couldn’t understand what was happening or go with the flow. I just I suppose didn’t get the direction of the book and don’t really understand what it wanted to accomplish. When we were introduced to Yaya’s friends, I expected more to come from that nugget to create dramatic effect. The building of tension between Afi’s family and the Ganyos was fabulous, I only wish more had been done with that potential plot angle. The author was great at creating potential opportunities for tension but she often just releases them without exploring further or stoking the flames so there were lots of moments were my expectations for more drama were built and then allowed to fall flat. The resolution and the conflicts felt a little too easily achieved when a book such as this was BEGGING for more dramatic effect.
What was good about this was the writing- it was engaging and breezy, delightfully readable and evocative of the emotions and images the author was trying to convey. It was the literary equivalent of an old-school Ghollywood movie and I was absolutely here for that. The descriptions of contemporary Ghanaian life and African Aunties and Uncles was absolutely spot on. I’m not Ghanaian but I am West African with my own African Aunties and Uncles in the village and I recognized them one hundred percent in authenticity. I loved the observations about city life and city yuppies and the descriptions of the lifestyles, people and places both in the rural and urban areas. This author is sharp and witty in her observations bringing laugh out loud humor to an otherwise frustrating story. I liked the exploration of the themes of money and love which are really pertinent in the global (and African) sugar baby culture. I thought the portrayal of grown, successful men still being controlled by their families was timely as was the incredibly problematic but still very current trend of families selling their daughters into potentially toxic relationships because out of financial need. I thought the advice and opinions of the elders, friends, and cosmopolitan neighbors was a realistic reflection of what actually happens and what would actually be said in these situations.
I thought that overall, this was fine and was a good enough debut but I wish the author had really taken it “there” with this book. It was begging for more real conflict and more drama that matched the excellence of the set up. As it is, this is a good story about contemporary polygamous relationships and arranged marriages with modern couples in West Africa and one young woman’s courageous journey to discovering her boundaries with love and relationships. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Algonquin Books.
A domestic drama that opens up the lives of Ghanaian women, should appeal to fans of STAY WITH ME, as it also analyzes the implications of African polygamous patriarchy on modern women.
Afi does not have much. Her father is dead, her mother struggles to support her, her large extended family neglects her, and she is not gifted enough at schoolwork to get into a university. What she does have is her good looks, a good upbringing, and a talent for sewing and design. She is married to the son of her mother’s wealthy benefactor, a marriage in absentia, but the marriage is just another move in the ongoing battle between Eli and his family. Eli loves a woman his family will not accept, and the marriage is their power move to get him to leave the other woman once and for all.
Afi is willing to accept this lot because it is the best prospect she has. She moves to one of Eli’s homes in a luxury apartment building, leaving her small town for the big city. She works under one of Ghana’s best fashion designers. And as her new status opens more doors, she starts to question the role she has taken on. Until she and Eli spend more time together and she falls in love. I have seen some reviewers talk about this book as feminist and it is, but not the way I think people will expect. This is not another story of empowerment, nor is it preaching or advocating. Instead it is a zig zag, an up and down, a maze of a story where Afi begins to understand what is important to her.
The women in this book are all different, they have all adapted to a society where even the most privileged of them is subject to the whims of a son or husband or boyfriend. If anything, it is a glimpse of how all kinds of women have adjusted to this kind of world and how they make their way in it. It’s a style of novel I like quite a lot, one that opens up a place and time to you, letting you see it in intricate detail. The prose is simple and straightforward, I was surprised to find that I read this very quickly. At one point I just didn’t want to put it down.
Customer reviews on Amazon for His only wife by Peace Adzo Medie
Reviewed in the United States on April 14, 2021
This story of a young woman in Ghana is perhaps a bit bittersweet but ends just exactly the way it needs to for the protagonist. The heroine Afi is from a small village. She’s poor, living with her widowed mother in a hardscrabble life, but she is also beautiful and has excellent sewing skills.
When the matriarch of a very powerful and rich Ghanaian family arranges for Afi to be married to her son Eli, Afi has no choice but to agree. It’s the way to improve her and her mother’s situation in life. So she is married by proxy (Eli’s brother Richard stands in for him at the traditional Ghanaian wedding ceremony) and then is sent off to the big city (Accra) to live in a luxurious apartment where she is somewhat overwhelmed by her new modern life. A new life without a husband in it since Eli does not show himself for several months.
It turns out that Eli is in love, but not with her. He has had a Liberian mistress for several years and only married Afi because of pressure put on him by his dysfunctional family, who do not like his mistress and will not allow him to marry her. He and his mistress and their daughter live in his primary residence. As Afi becomes more and more aware of her new life and situation, she realizes that things aren’t the way they should be.
The mistress remains somewhat of an unknown throughout the story. Eli, who finally does visit Afi and even becomes a part-time husband to her, refuses to talk about his situation or the woman. The only information Afi gets is from Eli’s family, who are hostile to the woman and give Afi only disinformation and misinformation about the woman and Eli’s relationship to her. The woman is ugly and horrid. Just be patient. Give Eli time. He will give her up and be devoted only to you.
But this book is more than a story about Afi’s marriage to Eli. It’s the story of an unsophisticated, naive village girl coming into her own in the big city. In Accra Afi goes to fashion design school. She learns to stand up for herself. She becomes a career woman. She makes a good friend in the woman living in the apartment across the hall from hers, a woman who just happens to be the mistress of Eli’s brother Richard. And she finally learns the truth about where she stands in her marriage.
This is very readable and enjoyable and educational. I learned a good deal about life and traditions and customs in Ghana. How different some things are from life in the U.S. But it was also obvious from the reading that people and love are basically the same in both countries.
“Afi grows up” could be the theme of this story which revolves around her and mainly lets us know her thoughts and feelings. Eli remains a handsome, usually pleasant, entity whose thoughts and feelings are never divulged. The other woman is a total mystery until the very end. And if you’re looking for a 100% HEA to this Ghanaian “romance,” you won’t find it, but the ending is understandable and satisfactory.
Reviewed in the United States on October 4, 2020
I read it in less than 24 hours; I couldn’t put this book down! I was enamored from the opening line. Eli was in absentia the entire marriage. The family entangled Afi when all they had to do was come to terms with Eli choosing his own path. This is a must read! In the end I’m so proud of and inspired by Afi’s strength and convictions! Read it; you won’t regret it!!!!!!!!
Reviewed in the United States on November 14, 2020
His Wife by Peace Adzo Medie is the kind of story I love-a character driven tale of family dysfunction. Afi marries Eli although he doesn’t show up for the wedding. Eli has another woman and Afi has been chosen to marry Eli so that she can get rid of this woman who the family, and especially Eli’s mom don’t like.
His Only Wife is a coming of age story-Afi grows up a lot throughout her marriage. It’s a story of values-modern vs. traditional. It’s a feminist story about independent women.
His Only Wife is set in Africa but it could have been set in the US, or just about anywhere in the world. At its heart, it’s about love and deciding what’s acceptable and what’s not when it comes to love.
I listened to this book on audio and read it in hard copy. I really enjoyed the narrator as she read the story. Thank you to #netgalley and #algonquinbooks for the audiobook to listen to in exchange for an honest review of #hisonlywife.
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