Book Rating: 3.7
The Nigerwife is a dramatic suspenseful mystery that transports readers to a captivating international society of foreign-born women. Nicole moved to Lagos from London with her husband Tonye, a Nigerian national, escaping a tumultuous childhood and unresolved family conflicts. Nicole’s new life is endowed with exclusivity, money, and servants. She finds fellowship with The Nigerwives, an association of closely-knit foreign-born women who marry Nigerian citizens. Once married, these women are rendered powerless, duty bound to their husbands and their families. After her family declares her missing, Claudine, Nicole’s aunt, travels from London to Nigeria to search for her. She is unsatisfied with Tonye’s poor attempt to investigate Nicole’s absence, taking it upon herself to discover what really happened to her niece. To an outsider Nicole had everything, but as Claudine digs past the glossy veneer of Nicole’s life, she uncovers secrets and betrayals from long ago.
Walters devises separate timelines to tell the two women’s stories. Nicole narrates events that lead to her disappearance and Claudine details what she uncovers as she unravels the mystery of what happened to Nicole. The Nigerwife provides atmospheric detail that encompasses a kaleidoscope of colors and textures along with the intense climate, transporting readers to the intoxicating landscape of Lagos. Walters juxtaposes the extravagant lifestyle of the wealthy and their complex social system with the disparity of poverty, while providing an introspective commentary on motherhood, classism, intergenerational trauma, and belonging.
Fans of this novel will appreciate HBO’s announcement that The Nigerwife is slated to be developed into an original series. I can’t wait, if it’s as good as the novel, the series promises to be fabulous!
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