Jane Igharo's "Ties that Tether" (Penguin Random House)
Jane Igharo's "Ties That Tether" tells the story of Azere, a Nigerian immigrant living in Canada who at 12, made a promise to her dying father that she would only marry a Nigerian man.
Azere's mother regularly reminds her of this promise as she sets her up with man after man after man, putting immense pressure on her to marry.
Azere desperately wants to please her family, which is why when she falls in love with Rafael, who is white, she doesn't know whether to feel overjoyed at the love she has found or distraught at the pain she will cause her family.
As Azere and Rafael's relationship unfolds, Azere becomes forced to decide between her mother and the man she loves, and she also must consider whether she can stay with Rafael without losing key parts of who she is and where she comes from.
At times, "Ties That Tether" is a captivating and charming read, but it falls short at certain moments. Some of the qualities in the characters — such as Azere's obsession with romantic comedies — feel a little forced, rather than skillfully woven into the narrative.
That being said, the book is also an intriguing examination into the dynamics of family relationships and what it means to have pride in one's culture and heritage. It also holds some unexpected twists and turns that will keep readers engaged until the end.