His Only Wife

His Only Wife

A Novel

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."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Chapel Hill, North Carolina : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2020.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781616209155
Branch Call Number: FIC MEDIE, P.
Characteristics: 278 pages ; 22 cm


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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!

Oct 13, 2020

Afi's mother is ecstatic! Fortune is surely smiling upon them, because the wealthy family of Elikam Ganyo has proposed marriage between him and Afi, though the two have never actually met. However, when Elikem doesn't even attend their own wedding in person (though this is not entirely outside of custom), Afi is sorely disappointed and has serious doubts about their future. Though the marriage will increase their social status and greatly improve their financial situation, and though Afi likes and is attracted to Elikem when she finally meets him in person, when she learns that his family has arranged the marriage solely to distract him from his live-in girlfriend she begins to wonder what she has gotten herself into.

This is both a heartbreaking and inspiring book. I appreciated how, though Afi is bound in some ways Ghanaian cultural constraints and expectations, neither is she afraid to speak up and act for herself, her dignity and her independence. This is the first book I've read by a Ghanaian author, and I very much recommend it.

I received this ARC via LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program.

JCLGreggW Oct 02, 2020

This wonderful debut novel features Afi, a smart, talented woman from a small town in Ghana who is married off to Elikem, a businessman who's in love with another; it's Afi's job to bring him back to respectable society. But what does SHE want? layered and compulsively readable; a book group's delight.

Sep 22, 2020

I understood this to be a feminist story, but there were only a couple of minor female characters who weren't at the mercy of male relatives. I spent most of the book being angry and wishing Afi would grow a backbone.

Sep 01, 2020

This is a perfect book for reading during the Pandemic because it illustrates the saying “Books take us places when we are forced to stay home.” In this case, it is to contemporary Ghana with a look both at the rural lifestyle and beliefs and the city life. Afi and her mom have lived in poverty since her father’s unexpected death. They’ve been taken under the wing of Aunty Ganyo who has given Afi’s mother a job. When Afi gets older, she becomes the arranged marriage wife of Aunty’s wealthy son who lives in Accra. Aunty does not like Efi’s girlfriend and is determined to get this Liberian girlfriend out of her son’s life. Looking at what is happening through Afi’s eyes is not only a look at how Ghanan culture and tradition clash with modern women. Afi is determined not to share her husband. She is determined not to just sit in the luxury apartment waiting for him to visit. Her decision to get her own education, her own driver’s license, her own job and to move into her husband’s house forcing the girlfriend out leads to lots of clashes with Aunty. She is NOT to break with tradition. She is to learn to live with it. At the end of the book, you’ll cheer for Afi’s courage and determination to be her own person and live the life she deserves. This is Peace Adzo Medie’s debut novel and I look forward to more. She has an ability to create strong, three-dimensional women and tell their story. Thank goodness, Afi lived next door to her brother-in-law’s girlfriend who encouraged her to not accept “tradition.”


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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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