Thursday, April 22, 2021

Review: Six Weeks to Live

Catherine McKenzie has been an auto-read author for me for many, many years. Her latest, Six Weeks to Live, might be her darkest yet with an ending I'm sure you won't see coming.

Here's the book's description:
Jennifer Barnes never expected the shocking news she received at a routine doctor’s appointment: she has a terminal brain tumor—and only six weeks left to live.
While stunned by the diagnosis, the forty-eight-year-old mother decides to spend what little time she has left with her family—her adult triplets and twin grandsons—close by her side. But when she realizes she was possibly poisoned a year earlier, she’s determined to discover who might have tried to get rid of her before she’s gone for good.
Separated from her husband and with a contentious divorce in progress, Jennifer focuses her suspicions on her soon-to-be ex. Meanwhile, her daughters are each processing the news differently. Calm medical student Emily is there for whatever Jennifer needs. Moody scientist Aline, who keeps her mother at arm’s length, nonetheless agrees to help with the investigation. Even imprudent Miranda, who has recently had to move back home, is being unusually solicitous.
But with her daughters doubting her campaign against their father, Jennifer can’t help but wonder if the poisoning is all in her head—or if there’s someone else who wanted her dead. 
I had a thought that I knew who might be behind Jennifer's poisoning. I was wrong. Technically. (Man, is it hard to review thrillers.) That part of the story was what kept me the most intrigued: Who was behind the poisoning? And was there actually a poisoning? I really wasn't sure what was going to happen in the end!

I kind of feel like I didn't get a super satisfying ending. I did in one sense because you find out the true motivation and that was satisfying. But there were a lot of things hinted at that I didn't feel like were fully discussed on the page. I was often feeling like I missed some conversation but it just wasn't a conversation that was given to the reader and the links weren't there. 

I had a big problem with mental health and this book. Unreliable narrators are all the rage and usually work pretty well for thrillers. But...I really don't like it when they're unreliable and then it turns out there's a medical diagnosis for why they're unreliable. It's like mental health is being used as some sort of plot device. I'd call myself a mental health ally, not having been diagnosed with anything myself, and the storyline in this book surrounding mental health sat pretty wrong with me. I'm not going to say what it was because it's kind of part of the twists but...I really wish it wasn't.

The story is told in alternating perspectives. Jennifer and all three of her daughters - Aline, Emily, and Miranda - each have chapters to tell their side of the story. I thought this was really well done and helped amp up the suspense a little bit more than if it had just been told from one or two perspectives.

Six Weeks to Live won't be my favourite Catherine McKenzie novel but fans of domestic suspense should still find this one to be a good read. It's so incredibly hard not to LOVE a book from a favourite author but not every book can personally be a winner.

*An egalley of this novel was provided by the publisher, Simon & Schuster Canada, via NetGalley in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Review: The Paris Apartment

If you asked me what I like to read about in World War II era historical fiction novels I would answer: Bletchley Park, the Special Operations Executive, and stolen art being returned to the rightful owners. The Paris Apartment included ALL THREE. I was in book heaven as I read Kelly Bowen's latest novel and was completely swept up in the story she told. 

Here's the book's description:
2017, London: When Aurelia Leclaire inherits an opulent Paris apartment, she is shocked to discover her grandmother’s hidden secrets—including a treasure trove of famous art and couture gowns. One obscure painting leads her to Gabriel Seymour, a highly respected art restorer with his own mysterious past. Together they attempt to uncover the truths concealed within the apartment’s walls.
Paris, 1942: The Germans may occupy the City of Lights, but glamorous Estelle Allard flourishes in a world separate from the hardships of war. Yet when the Nazis come for her friends, Estelle doesn’t hesitate to help those she holds dear, no matter the cost. As she works against the forces intent on destroying her loved ones, she can’t know that her actions will have ramifications for generations to come.
Set seventy-five years apart, against a perilous and a prosperous Paris, both Estelle and Lia must unearth hidden courage as they navigate the dangers of a changing world, altering history—and their family’s futures—forever.
The synopsis doesn't fully cover all that this book is. You're drawn in at first with the mystery of the untouched apartment but there are many, many layers to that apartment and the lives it touched. It's hard to get into most of it because Bowen has weaved a story rich in history (as well as family secrets) and I don't want to give anything away. I'd rather you enjoy the reveals as I did. 

There were four different perspectives in this novel which, for the most part, worked really well. I was most drawn to Estelle's storyline and it seemed to me like the others were just supporting characters, even though they were all important to the overall story. Estelle's timeline features Sophie and the actions of the two women were inspiring. I'm glad novels and movies are starting to showcase more of brave acts women did during WWII because a lot seems to be unknown about the female spies and resistance fighters. Estelle's granddaughter, Lia, and Gabriel, the art restorer she contacts, both tell the "present day" storyline. I use quotes because we'll find more and more that the present day is actually a few years ago, 2017 in this instance. This is because those who were adults during WWII are dying and soon there will be no one alive who fought in the war. So much information, such as what surrounds Bletchley Park and the SOE, is only just starting to come to light and I'm sure we're never going to be able to have a full picture. There are still lots of first person accounts that a lot of novelists reference so I think I'm going to have to dive into the non-fiction realm soon to get some more information myself. 

I found there were a few instances where there was some Big Reveal - perhaps about a character's true intentions or how they were connected to the full storyline - that didn't have as much of an impact as I would have thought. Perhaps because I expected the revelations? Saw them coming? I didn't need them to be super obvious but sometimes it seemed like Bowen dropped in some information and then swiftly moved onto something else before fully explaining the importance of said information. 

For anyone keeping track, this is my third "The Paris Something" novel I've read in the last few months. First I read The Paris Secret (review here), which I adored. Then it was The Paris Library (review here). All three were set during WWII and they all had dual timelines and multiple characters. Two took place in Occupied Paris and two had SOE spies. I've never been to Paris in person but thank goodness for books like this that still capture the magic of the city even during times of war. 

This was Bowen's first foray into dramatic historical fiction, having written numerous historical romances in the past. I'm really looking forward to the next drama she writes and will definitely be looking into her romances, too.

I was totally captivated by Kelly Bowen's novel The Paris Apartment. Not only was the historical aspect incredibly fascinating, but the characters and their motivations were incredible and awe-inspiring. This novel is a must read for historical fiction fans.

*An egalley of this novels was provided by the Canadian distributor, HBG Canada, via NetGalley in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Review: Second First Impressions

Like a lot of other rom com readers, I fell in love with Sally Thorne's The Hating Game. Her latest novel, Second First Impressions, was almost as delightful but since there was a such a high bar to meet "almost" means a contemporary romance novel that I had so much fun reading over the span of a weekend.

Here's the book's description:
Distraction (n): an extreme agitation of the mind or emotions.
Ruthie Midona has worked the front desk at the Providence Luxury Retirement Villa for six years, dedicating her entire adult life to caring for the Villa’s residents, maintaining the property (with an assist from DIY YouTube tutorials), and guarding the endangered tortoises that live in the Villa’s gardens. Somewhere along the way, she’s forgotten that she’s young and beautiful, and that there’s a world outside of work—until she meets the son of the property developer who just acquired the retirement center.
Teddy Prescott has spent the last few years partying, sleeping in late, tattooing himself when bored, and generally not taking life too seriously—something his father, who dreams of grooming Teddy into his successor, can’t understand. When Teddy needs a place to crash, his father seizes the chance to get him to grow up. He’ll let Teddy stay in one of the on-site cottages at the retirement home, but only if he works to earn his keep. Teddy agrees—he can change a few lightbulbs and clip some hedges, no sweat. But Ruthie has plans for Teddy too.
Her two wealthiest and most eccentric residents have just placed an ad (yet another!) seeking a new personal assistant to torment. The women are ninety-year-old, four-foot-tall menaces, and not one of their assistants has lasted a full week. Offering up Teddy seems like a surefire way to get rid of the tall, handsome, unnerving man who won’t stop getting under her skin.
Ruthie doesn’t count on the fact that in Teddy Prescott, the Biddies may have finally met their match. He’ll pick up Chanel gowns from the dry cleaner and cut Big Macs into bite-sized bits. He’ll do repairs around the property, make the residents laugh, and charm the entire villa. He might even remind Ruthie what it’s like to be young and fun again. But when she finds out Teddy’s father’s only fixing up the retirement home to sell it, putting everything she cares about in jeopardy, she’s left wondering if Teddy’s magic was all just a fa├žade. 
This is a slow burn rom com that's heavy on, well, the heavier subjects and lighter on the rom and the com. There were hilarious moments and some swoony moments (the scene in the changing room was a good one) but a lot of heartwarming and heartbreaking ones, too. Ruthie clearly had some sort of trauma in her past that was keeping her from exploring the world outside of the retirement home she worked at. Her friends helped her get past that trauma (I still think that perhaps she needed some professional help too) as she tried to learn what a "normal" 25 year old should be acting like. There was a lot of soul searching too and she had to figure out what was really important to her and what she wanted to do with her professional life. 

As for the romance part of the rom com, you know that Ruthie and Teddy should end up together but they hold off for a long part of the story. For the most part I felt that spoke well of Teddy. He clearly wanted Ruthie but knew she wasn't ready to dive into a relationship, even if she was working with Melanie on online dating. He could be pushy, though, and I sometimes found it hard to get a good handle on his personality. I think that was happening because he had been putting on a front so he could impress his family but he was also pretending like he didn't care. Teddy had a lot to work out too, just like Ruthie. They finally realized they worked better when they were together and that was really lovely.

If I had to get nitpicky, I'd have to say that not a whole lot happens in this novel. It's the day to day of a woman who is starting to realize that perhaps her life isn't as fulfilling as she thought it was. Ruthie is, technically, the main character of the story but the secondary characters - Teddy, Mel, and the Parlonis (the elderly residents who boss Teddy around) - are what help the story shine. The most action took place in the last part of the story and was a bit rushed. There were little hints to a few things but at the end it was like, bam bam bam and The End.

One of the main things I took away from the story (which might not be what everyone identified with) was how important your found family can be. Sometimes, like with Ruthie, there's a rift between family and, I think, finding friends around you who become family is so important. You need people in your corner and I was so, so very happy when Ruthie found her people. 

Second First Impressions was a fun and sweet offering from Sally Thorne. It's not quite as good as her debut but it offers an entertaining enough escape for those who enjoy rom coms and I still want to check out what she writes next.

*An egalley of this novel was provided by the publisher, HarperCollins Canada, via Edelweiss in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Review: Lucky

Putting a new Marissa Stapley novel in my hands is a surefire way to bring a smile to my face. Her latest is Lucky and was just released this week. It is a well-written and compelling read that you won't want to put down. I loved it.

Here's the book's description:
What if you had the winning ticket that would change your life forever, but you couldn’t cash it in?
Lucky Armstrong is a tough, talented grifter who has just pulled off a million-dollar heist with her boyfriend, Cary. She’s ready to start a brand-new life, with a new identity—when things go sideways. Lucky finds herself alone for the first time, navigating the world without the help of either her father or her boyfriend, the two figures from whom she’s learned the art of the scam.
When she discovers that a lottery ticket she bought on a whim is worth millions, her elation is tempered by one big problem: cashing in the winning ticket means the police will arrest her for her crimes. She’ll go to prison, with no chance to redeem her fortune.
As Lucky tries to avoid arrest and make a future for herself, she must confront her past by reconciling with her father; finding her mother, who abandoned her when she just a baby; and coming to terms with the man she thought she loved—whose complicated past is catching up to her, too.
This is a novel about truth, personal redemption, and the complexity of being good. It introduces a singularly gifted, complicated character who must learn what it means to be independent and honest…before her luck runs out.
It's no secret that I love Marissa Stapley. She's a great human and a stellar author. I love how the plots of all her novels are quite different but there's always a well-written story that almost always has a strong family element and smart women at the forefront. With Lucky, there are a number of strong women in the background as well. None of them have an unblemished background (not even the nun) and they all (barring one who's just downright evil) seem to be trying to make up for past mistakes. Reading the story makes you wonder if things really can ever be black or white or if everyone's actions are coloured with shades of grey.

The story is told mostly from "present" day, which takes place in 2008 (it makes sense - I don't think there would be a way for the story to work in 2021, not with better surveillance and tracking) with flashbacks to Lucky's past as she grew up with a grifter father who taught her everything she knows. You can't help but wonder what Lucky's life would have been like if she had had a different family. You learn she's wicked smart, which makes her a very good grifter, but what if she'd been able to apply those smarts to a different profession? I definitely wished I could change things for her and give her a better story (but then we wouldn't have this fictional story that I was getting so invested in, now would we?). 

I don't think I've ever read a story like this before. Which is silly since it reminded me a bit of the Ocean's movies which I LOVE so why am I not seeking out novels that feature con men or women with morals? What Lucky had been doing was, yes, illegal. You could argue that that's what she was taught to do growing up. She didn't have an average upbringing and her role model was a con artist. What's a girl to do? You can't help but root for her, though, even though you know she's done some questionable things in her past. You want redemption for her but the worry comes in when you don't know what that will look like - or if it will even be possible.

I love the look of this cover, with the lovely colours and all but...I have issues with it. Namely, it's too light and fluffy for a story that's full of grit and danger. The main character is on the run and fears for her life. Is a sunset coloured cover with a young woman on it really the best way to sell the story? Would this be the cover if someone named Max Stapley wrote the story instead of Marissa? I think not. Covers should match the story, not the name going on the front of it. 

You're going to want to read Lucky. Buy a copy, clear your schedule, and dive into Marissa Stapley's stunning new novel. It will grip you with an expertly woven story with a main character you'll fall in love with. Read it, love it, tell all your friends!

*An egalley of this novel was provided by the publisher, Simon & Schuster Canada, via NetGalley in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Review: Hana Khan Carries On

It should come as no surprise that I was incredibly excited for Uzma Jalaluddin's sophomore novel, Hana Khan Carries On. I absolutely adored her debut, Ayesha at Last. Her second novel was as entertaining and engaging as her first (if not more so) and I fell head over heels in love with it.

Here's the synopsis:
Sales are slow at Three Sisters Biryani Poutine, the only halal restaurant in the close-knit Golden Crescent neighbourhood. Hana waitresses there part time, but what she really wants is to tell stories on the radio. If she can just outshine her fellow intern at the city radio station, she may have a chance at landing a job. In the meantime, Hana pours her thoughts and dreams into a podcast, where she forms a lively relationship with one of her listeners. But soon she’ll need all the support she can get: a new competing restaurant, a more upscale halal place, is about to open in the Golden Crescent, threatening Three Sisters.
When her mysterious aunt and her teenage cousin arrive from India for a surprise visit, they draw Hana into a long-buried family secret. A hate-motivated attack on their neighbourhood complicates the situation further, as does Hana’s growing attraction for Aydin, the young owner of the rival restaurant—who might not be a complete stranger after all.
As life on the Golden Crescent unravels, Hana must learn to use her voice, draw on the strength of her community and decide what her future should be.
Just as Ayesha at Last put a Muslim spin on Pride and Prejudice, Jalaluddin took another beloved romance story as inspiration: Hana Khan Carries On pays homage to You've Got Mail, one of my (and many, many others) favourite rom com movies. When I first heard that, I was even more excited to read this novel. The story is not an exact remake of the famous Nora Ephron movie. Jalaluddin has taken the movie's plot and created a novel that is both familiar and wholly unique - which I absolutely adored. Because of the comparison, I had an idea of how the romance in the novel would play out but that's OK. If you're a You've Got Mail fan too, rest assured you will be left with the same fuzzy feelings when you finish this novel as you have when you rewatch the movie. It's that good.

I appreciated that the story was told just from Hana's perspective (though sometimes I wish I could have gotten Aydin-as-Tom-Hanks type scenes) as I think I find I like rom coms more when it's just from the one character's perspective. Aydin was important to the story and I liked him (and disliked him) right alongside Hana. But I didn't need his POV. I was happy Jalaluddin focused on Hana and her career and relationships with her family. Those elements of the story were so strong and made the novel so much richer and better than it would have been had there been a trade off of perspectives.

Canadian readers will appreciate that this novel is set firmly in Canada. More specifically, Toronto. Even more specifically, Scarborough. I'm not far from Toronto (I can wave to the skyline from the other side of Lake Ontario) but I don't venture there often. I was delighted, however, when Hana, Aydin, and her cousin, Rashid (oh what a delight he was) went downtown for some sightseeing and to catch a Blue Jays game. I'd like to know exactly where they were sitting in the dome though as Hana said she was comfortable and I would never call those blue plastic seats comfortable (then again, I'm 10" taller than Hana so that could have something to do with it). I digress. I also delighted in the mention of Kawartha Lakes ice cream and the spelling of words with Us. Little things like that can make a reading experience so much more enjoyable to us Canadians.

Which leads me to this...I, a Canadian just like Hana, appreciated seeing my home country represented in mainstream media. I am privileged that this is my biggest issue. I consume so many books and TV shows and movies that are set in New York City or Anywhere, USA instead of Canada because it's assumed the market isn't ready for Canadian content. But...I am white. I see my skin colour on screens and read it in books All. The. Time. If I'm that happy to see my country in a published book, imagine how those feel who never read about characters who look like them. Who don't have the opportunity to say, hey - she has a leopard print hijab just like me! I'm simplifying this, I know, and I don't want to make light as I think the impact that stories like Jalauddin's have is so large. Jalaluddin didn't write her novels to teach white people like me more about her culture but that is a side effect I'm so thankful for. 

There were moments during the novel where Hana encounters racism and a hate crime. As I was reading the book, North America was reeling from the murder of eight women, six of  whom were Asian women. It was a racially motivated killing spree in Atlanta and one that shouldn't go unnoticed. What Hana, her cousin, and Aydin experience didn't result in a death, but it doesn't mean it's any less serious. It felt serious to me - maybe because of the recent news. And yes, my friends, this does happen in Canada. We have a boatload of issues with racially motivated hate and oppression that we really need to work on. And part of that work is making sure novels like Hana Khan Carries On are published and, for my fellow white people, embracing the discomfort you might feel as you read and realize you have a lot more work to do with your anti-racist behaviour. 

I know that was a super heavy take on a novel that has a fun and gorgeous cover and is marketed as a rom com. But I think rom com readers these days are looking for these kinds of stories. I know I am. I want stories about women who are real and focus on their lives, all of it, not just their Happily Ever After. I want substance and a love story. I want more stories like Hana Khan Carries On

The characters in this novel will burrow their way into your hearts (except for Aydin's father who you will absolutely despise even as he got a bit too cartoon villain-y). You will feel like you're a part of the Golden Crescent neighbourhood right alongside Hana and her friends and family. The feeling of community Jalaluddin is able to capture is wonderful. 

Hana Khan Carries On will be a favourite of 2021. Uzma Jalaluddin's latest novel will delight readers who want a story that will make them laugh, swoon, and reflect. Read this book. You won't be disappointed.

*An egalley of this novel was provided by the publisher, HarperCollins Canada, via NetGalley in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Blog Tour: The Last Bookshop in London

Bookshops and World War II historical fiction? I'm pretty sure Madeline Martin's latest novel was written just for me. The Last Bookshop in London delighted me while allowing me to learn through reading what it would have been like to live through the Blitz.

Here's the book's description:
London, autumn 1940: the Blitz has only just begun when Grace Bennett arrives in London to find the city she’s spent a lifetime dreaming about now cast in the clouds of war, and all of her plans unraveling at the seams. After accepting a job at a charming bookshop nestled in the heart of the city, a haven for literary-minded locals, she feels like a fish out of water – she’s never been much of a reader, after all.
As the bombs rain down on the city night after night, a devastating air raid leaves London’s literary center in ruins, and the libraries and shops of Paternoster Row are destroyed in a firestorm. But against all odds, one bookshop miraculously survives. Through blackouts and air raids, Grace continues staffing the shop, discovering a newfound comfort in the power of words and storytelling to unite her community in ways she never imagined, a power that triumphs even the darkest nights of war-torn London. 
As I've read books set during the World Wars during the last year, I've been struck a few times at the similarities between war time and this current global pandemic. It puts things into perspective a bit, too, especially as Martin wrote about the Blitz. Night after night, for months, bombs were dropped on London by the Germans. Blackout curtains were a must and there were fines if even a speck of light could be seen from outside. I've read about this time before but I hadn't really thought about what it would have been like outside at night if there wasn't a single light on. Martin wrote an especially poignant scene as Grace stays too late at work and has to make her way home after dark, in the rain, and could not even identify her own front door. Imagine how frightening that would be. The beginning of the war, when this book was set, saw the posters "Keep Calm and Carry On" begin to sprout up around England and that mentality shines through in this novel. Londoners were terrified - they were sending their children away to the country and having to go to shelters or Tube stations every night to stay safe from bombs - but they carried on. They could emerge every morning and find their house or business (or both) destroyed. And yet, they carried on. Seems the least I can do right now is stay home as much as possible and avoid getting together with friends and family whom I miss dearly. 

I was so thrilled when I read that Grace would be getting a shop assistant position at a little bookshop in London. I was less thrilled when I realized she wasn't much of a reader. She had no idea the joy she was in for! She quickly learns the magic of reading thanks to a handsome shop patron. George tells her to read The Count of Monte Cristo and Grace's life is never the same. She inhales novels and works on advertising for the shop to promote books to give other Londoners the magic of escaping into a good read. Partway through reading I began to wish I had written down all the titles Grace reads and recommends. Austen makes a few appearances, as does Charles Dickens. She reads Middlemarch and is gifted Vanity Fair. Martin does such a wonderful job of capturing what it means to be a reader and how important books and stories can be during times of hardship.

Grace was a lovely main character. She was young without being annoyingly naive. She had a big heart and my own hurt for her as she saw friends help the war effort and all she was doing was helping out in a dusty old bookshop. She was scared and I'm sure I would have felt the same in her position. She does step up, as I think most of us would, and she volunteers as an ARP (Air Raid Precautions) warden which saw her out during the bombings three nights (and eventually five nights) a week. She narrowly missed bombs and saw horrifying sights. Through it all she supported her friends and made the bookshop thrive. You couldn't help but be in awe of her strength even when you see her faltering due to sheer exhaustion. She didn't give up even when that would have been the easiest option. You'll love her and will root for a Happily Ever After for her and all of the other characters, even though you know the scars of war will impact them long past VE Day. 

I didn't want to stop reading The Last Bookshop in London. Madeline Martin's novel was a joy to read, even as I mourned for and with the characters as they went through the horrors of war. If you're a book lover and a fan of historical fiction, this novel is a must read for you.

About the author
Madeline Martin is a USA TODAY bestselling author of historical romance novels filled with twists and turns, adventure, steamy romance, empowered heroines and the men who are strong enough to love them.

Connect with the author

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*An egalley of this novel was provided by the publisher, Hanover Square Press. in exchange for a review for the purpose of a blog tour. All opinions are honest and my own.*

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Review: His Only Wife

His Only Wife
had been on my radar before it was published back in September 2020 and before Reese Witherspoon chose Peace Adzo Medie's debut novel for her book club. I had started reading it months ago but had to set it aside. I tried again as an audiobook and listened through to the end in almost no time at all.

Here's the book description:
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.
I think part of what made me put the book down so many months ago after only a chapter or so is how slow the story is to start (and, honestly, it doesn't really pick up the pace at all). There's so much backstory and I felt like I was being told everything instead of being actively engaged and shown the story. It made it really hard to start caring about the characters when you're plopped in the middle of the action and then have a whole bunch of history to get through before the story carries on.

One of the most difficult things about reading this book was constantly having to remind myself that my culture is not the same as Afi's and my normal is not her normal. I was often finding myself frustrated at how she had to bow down to her elders and her husband. I'm all for showing respect for those in your life but it really bothers me when someone's voice is being minimized and their concerns aren't being addressed because she's just supposed to go along with what her husband wants - even if that's spending almost all his time with his mistress and not his wife. I tried really hard not to let that affect me but I have a feeling those emotions got the better of me and I couldn't help but be annoyed and frustrated throughout the story.

If I had realized that this novel would skew more literary than contemporary, I may have given it a pass. I respect that literary novels have their place in the world but that place is not often on my reading list. I like my stories with a Happily Ever After (and a clear direction) and this one had an ending I wasn't quite expecting. It is fitting and there is a lot of promise but I fear for what could happen and derail Afi's plans. 

I think His Only Wife falls into the category of a good read but not one for me. I found myself wanting to see how the story ended but I wasn't actually all that invested. I'd encourage others to pick it up if they're intrigued and I'm really interested to see what other readers thought of Peace Adzo Medie's novel. Will I read what she writes next? Quite possibly. I think there's potential for her stories to get even better and I look forward to hearing what she publishes next.

*An egalley of this novel was provided by the Canadian distributor, Thomas Allen & Sons, in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*