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A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR
A Must-Read Novel: The New York Times Book Review * BuzzFeed * Time * Marie Claire * Parade * Travel + Leisure * Ms. * Bustle * The Millions * Book Riot * PopSugar * HelloGiggles * Kirkus Reviews* Good Morning America
“[A] mesmerizing debut novel.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“A story that kept me tied to the page, told in masterful, seamless prose.”
“I love this book so much I turned the pages so fast . . . It’s all about the search for independence and being true to yourself and who you really are.”
Afi Tekple is a young seamstress in Ghana. Smart and pretty, she has also been convinced by her mother to marry a man she doesn’t know: a wealthy businessman named Elikem. His family has chosen Afi in the hopes that she will distract him from a current relationship they disapprove of. When Afi is moved from her small hometown to live in Accra, Ghana’s gleaming capital full of wealth and sophistication, she is not prepared for the way her life will change. But she has agreed to this marriage in order to give her mother the financial security she desperately needs, and so Afi must see it through. Or must she?
A witty, moving, and smart debut novel, His Only Wife takes place in a world of men who want their wives to be beautiful, to be good cooks and mothers, to grant their husbands forbearance. And in Afi, we meet a delightful, brave, and relatable heroine who just may break all the rules.
About the Author
Peace Adzo Medie is a Ghanaian writer and senior lecturer in gender and international politics at the University of Bristol in England. Prior to that she was a research fellow at the University of Ghana. She has published several short stories, and her book Global Norms and Local Action: The Campaigns to End Violence Against Women in Africa was published by Oxford University Press in 2020. She is an award-winning scholar and has been awarded several fellowships. She holds a PhD in public and international affairs from the University of Pittsburgh and a BA in geography from the University of Ghana. She was born in Liberia.
A Library Journal Best Fiction Book of 2020
A SheReads Best of 2020: Women’s Fiction & Best African & Diaspora Book of 2020
“Peace Adzo Medie’s mesmerizing debut novel lives up to both the power of its first sentence and the promise of its author’s first name . . . At a time when adventure is scarce, Medie gives you a lot to look forward to, think about and be grateful for.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“A fierce and funny first novel . . . [that] cleverly upends a Cinderella story into a tale of feminism.”
“A story that kept me tied to the page, told in masterful, seamless prose . . . Medie depicts a vivid and dazzling Accra, and it’s impossible not to root for Afi as she finds her footing within it.”
"With spot-on characterizations of deeply involved extended families and realistic depictions of how money can change everything, Peace Adzo Medie conjures a Cinderella story just right for 2020.”
“A fierce and funny debut novel . . . A deeply engrossing chronicle of contemporary Ghanaian womanhood.”
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“A hilarious, page-turning, sharply realized portrait of modern womanhood in the most infuriating of circumstances. A gem of a debut.”
—Wayétu Moore, author of The Dragons, the Giant, the Women
“[A] poignant, timely debut novel.”
“A witty Cinderella portrait of modern life and love.”
“In her sparkling debut novel, Ghanaian writer and academic Peace Adzo Medie uses humor, candor and feminism to examine womanhood, marriage and agency in modern Ghana.”
“A Cinderella story set in Ghana . . . A Crazy Rich Asians for West Africa, with a healthy splash of feminism.”
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"In her debut novel, Medie writes with a precise rhythm that builds the reader’s anticipation. Themes like deception, ambition, love, and values drench the pages with conflict that evolves into an emotional rollercoaster."
“This stirring tale sings when Afi learns to flex her limited power.”
“A unique and unapologetic marriage story that shines with honesty, humanity, power and grace: once you pick this book up, you won't be able to put it down. Medie's urgent, intimate voice is exactly what the world needs right now.”
—Mathangi Subramanian, author of A People’s History of Heaven
"Afi’s charm makes her an empowering example of modern womanhood . . . Its message bold and its viewpoint appealing, His Only Wife is an inspiring novel.”
"Peace Adzo Medie puts a wonderfully contemporary spin on a fairytale trope."
—Christian Science Monitor
“Medie gives Afi a voice that winningly combines insecurity, wisdom and dignity . . . The dramas of Afi's marriage and various family conflicts offer an entertaining plot rich with humor, but it is the story of the strong woman in a challenging and changing world that will capture readers' hearts. His Only Wife is a memorable novel of personal growth and choosing one's own destiny . . . [A] winning debut.”
—Shelf Awareness, starred review