Book Reviews

Ties That Tether by Jane Igharo

When a Nigerian woman falls for a man she knows will break her mother’s heart, she must choose between love and her family.

At twelve years old, Azere promised her dying father she would marry a Nigerian man and preserve her culture even after emigrating to Canada. Her mother has been vigilant about helping–forcing–her to stay well within the Nigerian dating pool ever since. But when another match-made-by-mom goes wrong, Azere ends up at a bar, enjoying the company and later sharing the bed of Rafael Castellano, a man who is tall, handsome, and white.

When their one-night stand unexpectedly evolves into something serious, Azere is caught between her growing feelings for Rafael and the compulsive need to please her mother who will never accept a relationship that threatens to dilute Azere’s Nigerian heritage. 

Azere can’t help wondering if loving Rafael makes her any less of a Nigerian. Can she be with him without compromising her identity? The answer will either cause Azere to be audacious and fight for her happiness or continue as the compliant daughter.

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Ties that Tether is such a remarkable book; I’ve been highly anticipating it since October 2020 — I finally got my hands on it and I adored it. I appreciate love stories that can go deeper and have other important themes and elements. Azere really struggles with cultural identity as a Nigerian-Canadian woman. 

Azere – the main character, is the first thing that drew me into this book. Within the first few pages, I knew I’d love this character. She possesses a strong demeanor and is instantly likeable. Azere fearlessly spoke her mind; it seemed the only place she censored herself was around her family. And though there was conflict between her and her mother, I appreciated that her culture was still celebrated. The author did a great job at creating a tense dynamic between family members that truly shaped the story of the cultural shift that occurs when emigrating.

Rafeael and Azere share in this cultural struggle, as the two of them come from completely different backgrounds but are coming together. I thought his character was extremely well done, though I felt as though reader’s didn’t see enough of him. It made it seem that the building of the relationship between Azere and Rafael had been rushed — the two developed a fast bond very quickly. Almost a little too quickly. But nonetheless, the story is adorable and as a reader, I loved seeing the two come together and overcome cultural differences.

Overall, I’m glad I read this sweet romance. It’s not often I read a book set in Canada and it was interesting to read about the immigration experience from a Nigerian-Canadian perspective. This is a spectacular book to read when you’re in the mood for a sweet romance but it is also so much more than that.

PUBLICATION DETAILS: Berkeley; September 29th 2020; 9780593101940; Fiction/Romance

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