Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo


My Review:

Stay With Me is a story about a Nigerian young couple who married for love, Yejide and Akin, as they faced the challenges of infertility.  In their culture, having children is expected, and they are desperate to become parents.  Yejide’s mother died at her birth so she hopes her feelings of belonging to no one will be rectified once she has a baby.  Akin’s mother is relentless and goes behind her daughter in laws back to present other women to her son so he can become a father.  The couple had agreed polygamy was not for them but the mother persisted and they unwillingly accepted another wife.  Desperation to become pregnant leads Yejide, a modern, working woman, to superstition and ritual and she convinces herself she is with child; saddled with the burden of male pride, Akin does his own scheming to make sure there is a baby in their future.  When Yejide finally gives birth, there are feelings of betrayal and jealously amidst the joy.  The political unrest in Nigeria is the backdrop as this powerful story travels back and forth from the late 1980s when the couple first meets to 2008.  The emotional journey of this imperfect marriage packs a punch every step of the way.

Author Ayobami Adebayo sheds some light on cultural traditions and expectations Nigerians aim to adhere to.  In this compact, hard hitting 250 page novel, we experience the course this troubled marriage travels, the joys of births and the sorrow of deaths, hopes, superstitions and brutal realities.  With complex characters that make difficult decisions to guide their paths, Stay With Me is heartbreaking, revealing, and a must read debut.

As seen on Goodreads:

Yejide and Akin have been married since they met and fell in love at university. Though many expected Akin to take several wives, he and Yejide have always agreed: polygamy is not for them. But four years into their marriage–after consulting fertility doctors and healers, trying strange teas and unlikely cures–Yejide is still not pregnant. She assumes she still has time–until her family arrives on her doorstep with a young woman they introduce as Akin’s second wife. Furious, shocked, and livid with jealousy, Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant, which, finally, she does, but at a cost far greater than she could have dared to imagine. An electrifying novel of enormous emotional power, Stay With Measks how much we can sacrifice for the sake of family.


About the Author:

Ayobami Adebayo’s stories have appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies, and one was highly commended in the 2009 Commonwealth short story competition. She holds BA and MA degrees in Literature in English from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife. She also has an MA in creative writing from the University of East Anglia where she was awarded an international bursary for Creative Writing. Ayobami has been the recipient of fellowships and residencies from Ledig House, Hedgebrook, Threads, Ebedi Hills and Ox-Bow.
STAY WITH ME- UK (Canongate, March 2017), Nigeria (Ouida Books, April 2017), US (Knopf, August 2017), KENYA (Kwani?, August 2017) is her debut novel.

Valentine’s Day Giveaways!

The month of February is a great time to spread a little love. The gift of reading is perfect for every age and I am excited to offer something special to my followers.  I have one of each of these great books, all by authors from my home state of Connecticut, to give away!

To win one of these books as a special Valentine’s Day gift, like this post, write the titles you want to win in the comments, and share it on Facebook or Twitter. A winner for each book will be chosen at random on February 14th!



Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers by Sally Allen

Sally Allen wrote a book about books for anyone who loves to read or wants to start reading more. My To Be Read list has grown because of her and I am forever thankful!


Goodreads summary states:

Award-winning writer and teacher Sally Allen knows that good books don’t just draw us in; they talk to us, shape us, and transport us to times, places, and minds different from our own. In Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers, Allen deftly weaves personal stories with fifteen thematized, annotated, and illustrated reading lists for what to read next. By sharing some of the treasures in her library and the secret lives they reveal, she gives us permission to embrace the shameless book lover inside each of us. Unlocking Worlds is a testament to how reading passionately—and compassionately—can unlock the world beyond our back yard. Celebrating books and those who read them, Allen shows how the solitary act of reading can be a powerful thread that creates community and connection. Thought-provoking and eloquent, Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers is a must-have for anyone who can’t leave the house without a book in hand.

To purchase Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers on Amazon : CLICK HERE



Circus Girl written and illustrated by Clare Pernice

This colorful picture book is a must for every young child’s library!


Goodreads summary states:

When a little girl plays dress up in her leotard and socks she becomes Circus Girl star of the show. Even her toys morph into her dreamscape of circus acts. At each page turn she jumps and tumbles, flies through the air, juggles, spins, balances and contorts.  Vibrant and winsome, modern and timeless the illustrations and words convey a captured childhood moment with directness and simplicity.

To purchase Circus Girl on Amazon: CLICK HERE



Nigeria Revisited: My Life and Loves Abroad by Catherine Onyemelukwe

Catherine’s tells her fascinating story and includes her wedding photo from 1965 that appeared in Life Magazine along with several others.  This is a memoir not to be missed!


Goodreads summary states:

In 1962, when twenty-one-year-old Catherine Onyemelukwe launched her two-year adventure with the brand-new Peace Corps, she had no idea what the African country had in store. Nigeria, where she was assigned, was newly independent. Full of excitement, anticipation, and curiosity about the unknown, this young Midwestern woman set out to make the world a better place. But she didn’t realize that Nigeria was instead about to make her a better person.
Catherine’s heartfelt memoir revisits her two years overseas that become twenty-four, during which her experiences brim with friendships, students, travels around the country, and love. It recalls how her future Nigerian husband contrives to meet her, their falling in love, and their controversial wedding that becomes world news with their photo in Life Magazine.
Catherine’s memoir follows her journeys between America and Nigeria and the resulting relationships, hardships, dangers, surprises, and ultimately the unbreakable bond that develops between her and a complicated country she continues to love to this day. It’s a passionate story of multiculturalism and family that readers won’t soon forget.
It is also a deep look into the coups and war that force their family to leave the city and live in her husband’s village, without electricity and running water, where they struggle to keep their children safe and healthy. When the hardships of war become overbearing, she flees to Europe and then the United States to await the war’s end, only to be greeted with scorn for her mixed-race children.
This story of adapting to a new culture, taking risks, surviving, and embracing differences will inspire the reader to venture beyond perceived horizons and see the world in a whole new light.

To purchase Nigeria Revisited: My Life and Loves Abroad on Amazon: CLICK HERE


Don’t forget…to win, like this post, write the titles you want to win in the comments, and share it on Facebook or Twitter. A winner for each book will be chosen at random on February 14th!