“Yinka, you’re beautiful. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Remember, the midnight sky is just as beautiful as the sunrise.”
Yinka wants to find love. Her mum wants to find it for her.
She also has too many aunties who frequently pray for her delivery from singledom, a preference for chicken and chips over traditional Nigerian food, and a bum she’s sure is far too small as a result. Oh, and the fact that she’s a thirty-one-year-old South-Londoner who doesn’t believe in sex before marriage is a bit of an obstacle too.
When her cousin gets engaged, Yinka commences ‘Operation Find A Date for Rachel’s Wedding’. Armed with a totally flawless, incredibly specific plan, will Yinka find herself a huzband?
What if the thing she really needs to find is herself?
It was the intriguing title of this novel that caught my attention. The bright cover and the blurb were practically a bonus.
While Yinka’s story may seem a romance, in essence it is a journey to self discovery. Yinka has been so caught up in the traditional views of an ideal life: a stable corporate job and a husband, she has never asked herself what she wants.
She is expecting a promotion at work and is, instead, made redundant. She can’t tell her mother the truth and bear a repeat of the disaster that happened at her sister’s baby shower when her mother and auntie led the attendees in prayer for Yinka to find a husband. So she lies to her about getting the promotion.
Everyone thinks this will improve her prospects and she has a couple of men set up to meet. While Yinka might like them, she is unsure if they are ideal life partners.
The Nigerian accent Dictionary
Huzband (pronounced auz-band) noun
1. A male partner in a marriage
E.g. Yinka’s younger sister, Kemi, is married to Uche.
2. A non-existent man in a non-existent marriage whose whereabouts is often questioned, usually by Nigerian mums and aunties to single British Nigerian women
E.g. So, Yinka. Tell me. Where is your huzband? Ah, ah. You’re thirty-one now!
Lizzie Damolila Blackburn’s debut novel is relatable to practically all women on this planet. Starting from ageism and colourism, which are the glaring subjects of discussion, the author highlights self-acceptance, and being true to oneself. She also touches upon faith as the source of your energy and inspiration, rather than being a ritualistic medium forced upon you.
Yinka has a strong circle of women around her – be it her sisters, her cousins, her BFF, or her favourite aunt who is always in her corner. This part of Yinka’s story talks about how everyone, at some point, is fighting an inner battle and how strong female friendships can be crucial to help you navigate.
I won’t deny Yinka does get me hopping mad a lot of times when she undervalues herself on the basis of her appearance or how others judge her. She falls into the pit of wanting to change herself to seek their validation At the same time, one notices how crucial that is to form Yinka’s character and for her to identify her mistakes and be able to set herself on the path to self-compassion.
I love how this novel works both as a fabulous Bridget Jones’ style romance as well as a much deeper introspective piece of fiction. Women of colour will particularly relate to Yinka’s struggles and her life choices and find solace in her story.
The Nigerian cultural references ranging from food, to fashion, to language are a delight to read and the author adds such gorgeous tapestry to her storytelling with it.
Auntie Blessing and Nana, Yinka’s BFF, are clearly my favourite characters. If I’m being honest I would love to see this turn into a series, each book talking about one of the characters from Yinka’s tribe. They are all such strong women, there is definitely a story inside each one of them just bursting to come out.
An absolutely remarkable debut, with a lovable lead, a heartfelt story and a poignant look at the life of being an unmarried thirty something woman.
Book 14 of 2022.
Aquamarine Flavours Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟.
Available on Amazon.
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