TITLE: Ties That Tether by Jane Igharo
Release Date: September 29, 2020
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Blurb: 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 immigrating to Canada. Her mother has been vigilant about helping–well forcing–her to stay 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 feelings for Rafael and the compulsive need to please her mother. Soon, 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.
I was really excited to read this book as a first generation Nigerian American. I knew this story will resonate with me and feel as personal as it ended up being. This story wasn’t as much a love story as it was a Coming of Age story where the heroine had to find her own way in life.
Much like the heroine Azere, I was often subjected to my parent’s constant stressing about the importance of not losing cultural identity, traditions and language even if one is living in a foreign country. For the foreign parents, it seems like a rejection of their ancestral lands, ways and ultimately a rejection of them.
I admired Azere because she showed a great desire to please her parents especially her dying father. She really made an effort to find a way to make peace with marrying his suitor who is also from Edo State (Nigeria) even though she made a connection with Rafael, a white Canadian. There comes a time in everyone’s life where you have to decide what makes you happy. Some people’s need to please others leads them to make choices that make them miserable and that is where the character had to grow and develop.
I found the story relatable and thought provoking. I really liked the characters and their journey together. The story wasn’t an easy one, in fact it was full of angst. But I thought the author did a great job of trying to convey the societal and cultural pressures that children of immigrants face when it comes to marriage choices. A really good novel about familial traditions, love and finding your own way in life.
*Special thanks to Berkley Publishing via NetGalley for the e-ARC given in exchange for an honest review.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jane Abieyuwa Igharo was born in Nigeria and immigrated to Canada at the age of twelve. She has a journalism degree from the University of Toronto and works as a communications specialist in Ontario, Canada. When she isn’t writing, she’s watching “Homecoming” for the hundredth time and trying to match Beyoncé’s vocals to no avail.