Review of His only wife by Peace Adzo Medie
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 of His only wife by Peace Adzo Medie.
Afi, the protagonist, captured me from the first line, when she says, “Elikem married me in absentia; he did not come to our wedding.“ I surged on, determined to find out everything that happened and will happen, and I was blown away. In a bid to save their son and brother from the claws of a woman they despise with a passion, Eli’s family, led by his mother ‘Auntie,’ marries a wife for him, against his wish.
The family pushes Afi, an ordinary seamstress living in Ho with her mum and extended family, into the unfavorable situation. She doesn’t have much of a voice to reject the offer, because auntie has been their benefactor since the demise of her father.
But even after the marriage and Afi moves to Accra, Ghana to be with her husband, will Elikem leave the other woman to be happily married to Afi as his only wife? Though Eli is drop dead wealthy and provides everything Afi needs, will that sate her thirst for a happy marriage with her being the only woman in his life?
Also read Jaiye by Chidey and the subtle display of toxic masculinity.
When I read this book, I sincerely felt for Afi, because I couldn’t imagine getting married to a husband who doesn’t live with me. Eli is wealthy and has numerous houses, and lives in one of the houses with the very woman his family desperately wants to separate him from. How can I bear such a burden, knowing that my husband lives in the same town as I am but doesn’t live with me? It’s such a heartbreaking situation. And even though Afi doesn’t love Eli from the get go because she doesn’t really know him, she is determined to love him and win his love.
As he comes home often to spend time with Afi, she gradually falls in love with him and naturally wants more. She becomes jealous of the other woman and does everything within her power to make Eli love and see her as his only wife. But will she succeed? Will Eli leave everything, his life with the other woman and fall in love with her? I love this book, its simplicity, the diction, how it flows and captivates readers effortlessly. I love how Afi is a perfect depiction of a strong woman, who wouldn’t bend over to be kicked in the ass by anyone. I admire her courage and hard work, and how she stands up for herself.
Also read Book Review: The love hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood.
There are a few lessons to pick from this book. One is the heart knows where it belongs. You cannot make a man who doesn’t want you fall in love with you, and vice versa. And that’s one chronic mistake people do. You know someone doesn’t love you, but you are determined to stay, to make it work. You think your own love is more than enough for both of you, but life doesn’t work that way. Everyone knows whom they love and whom they’re deceiving.
Then there’s the issue of self-worth and respect. Yes, it’s good to receive help from people, but you don’t have to sell your self-respect just for some crumbs of bread. And that is where I blame Afi’s mother. Because Auntie feeds her and takes care of her family, she grovels at the sight of the rich woman, and even when she is asked to sell her daughter into that frustrating marriage, she doesn’t object. All Afi’s mother cares for is pleasing Auntie at the detriment of her own daughter’s happiness. She knows Eli loves another woman and that Afi wouldn’t be happy in such a marriage, but she urges her to go ahead and marry a man that would clearly never stop sleeping with another woman. In this life, we should never ever sell our dignity just for some cheap favors. We should be able to say no to anything that will cost our peace and happiness.
Also read Book Review: Vagabonds! by Eloghosa Osunde.
Auntie’s smug character is another important issue to point out. This goes a long way to explain the influence money and power wield in this life. They say power intoxicates and absolute power intoxicates absolutely. Because she is wealthy and influential, she expects everyone to always fall at her feet and lick her ass. And that is exactly what everyone does. Her children, her workers, and everyone literally bows to her and carries out all her orders to the letter. She has a say in all her children’s lives and determines who stays and who leaves. She knows Eli loves another woman and wants to marry her, but because the woman doesn’t lick her ass, she despises her and swore over her dead body to have her as a daughter-in-law. And that is why she insists Afi must marry Eli because she feels Afi will be easy to control and manipulate.
But I love how Afi shows her that she is Afi and cannot be subdued by anyone, no matter who they are. Because everyone fears her, no one tells her the truth. But Afi would not keep quiet forever. I admire Afi’s courage, her fierceness, and her ability to stand up against Auntie and fight back with all her might.
Review of His only wife by Peace Adzo Medie.
There’s also the issue of polygamy and patriarchy in the African society. Afi’s father is late, and her uncle covets everything they own, without leaving Afi and her mum a dime. So Afi has to grow up having nothing. I really do not blame her for entering into such an obnoxious marriage with her two eyes open, because she doesn’t know much about the right ways to go. Her mother who would teach her about life is merely one of Auntie’s puppets, who does everything she can to win the rich woman’s favor.
Everyone tells Afi her husband is rich, and she is lucky to catch him. So what can she do? It’s a result of poverty. If not, why would a woman force her daughter to marry someone who clearly loves another? Nobody tells Afi the truth. They all tell her the other woman has enchanted Eli and once the charm is revoked, he will have eyes for only her. She thinks it’s as easy as they say, but when she enters, she begins to understand that it is more complex than anyone has cared to explain to her. I enjoyed reading this book. It was such an easy and enjoyable read for me and I’ll totally recommend it. I’ll rate it as 4.6/5.
Also read Book Review: Wahala by Nikki May
Have you read the book? How do you feel about it? Please share your thoughts with me in the comment section. Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter, like, and follow me on all social media platforms, and share with your friends. Thank you for visiting Bookish Pixie.
10 thoughts on “Book Review: His only wife by Peace Adzo Medie.”
I’m glad you enjoyed this book in the end, thank you for sharing! x
You’re welcome. Thank you for reading.
Books written by African authors sound good. Most have good moral message in them. So is this one. Thank you for sharing. I shall add it to my TBR.
You are welcome. Thank you for reading.
Another wonderful review well done Ezioma.
Thank you for reading
I know using marriage stand-ins was something you’d read about regarding the marriages of Kings and Queens back in the day, but is that something that’s even legal in the modern world?
Yes. Even in my country, Nigeria, it’s still very much attainable.