Welcome to our September Book Review Club! For a little fun, here's some trivia about the month of September: The planet Neptune was discovered on September 23, 1846. My mother and Prince Harry were both born on September 15. Johannes Gutenberg printed the first book, the Bible, using moveable type on Sept. 30, 1452. Still on the topic of books (sorry, that was not pretty or subtle, but it's late, and I have to get this post done), we've reviewed quite the variety of books this month. There's a little something for everyone. Enjoy!
THE SECRET LIVES OF THE FOUR WIVES by Lola Shoneyin (adult)
This is the debut novel of Nigerian poet, Lola Shoneyin. Ms. Shoneyin was born and currently lives in Nigeria where she teaches English and drama. She was educated in Great Britain. The novel was written in English and long-listed for the Orange Prize in 2011.
The Secret Lives of the Four Wives takes place in modern Nigeria and is a story of polygamy. Following a traumatic incident, our protagonist, Bolanle, a young, university-educated woman, opts to become Baba Segi's 4th wife. Bolanle's looking for a safe haven. Instead, she winds up in a house where the first three wives resent her and are cruel to her. In fact, the wives aren't all that nice to each other either. There's lots of rivalry and jealousy over each others' children, etc. After two years (and her fair share of nights with Baba Segi--it's all very organized), Bolanle still isn't pregnant. She goes to a modern hospital for tests, and things in the household unravel from there.
This story is told from five perspectives: Bolanle, Iya Segi (wife #1), Iya Tope (#2), Iya Femi (#3), Baba Segi. Lola Shoneyin has an absolute gift when it comes to characterizaton. As a reader, you get inside all these characters, which makes for a rich, absorbing story. There is tragedy. There is humor. There are lots of secrets. There's a brilliant resolution.
Heartily recommended! Click here for a BBC interview with Author Lola Shoneyin. She explains why she loved writing wife Iya Femi, the most evil of the lot. Also, the author reads from the book.
Please click through the links below for WONDERFUL, INSIGHTFUL REVIEWS!
MIDDLE GRADE/YOUNG ADULT BOOK REVIEWS
Stacy Nyikos: PARCHED by Melanie Crowder (Middle Grade)
Stacy of The Cat's Meow: CITY OF BONES by Cassandra Clare (Young Adult)
Sarah Laurence: ROSE UNDER FIRE by Elizabeth Wein (historical YA fiction) *author interview
Alyssa Goodnight of the Writers' Road Less Traveled: THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING by Kari Luna (YA)
ADULT BOOK REVIEWS
Linda McLaughlin: AFTER THE FOG by Kathleen Shoop (historcal fiction)
Prairie Rose of Prairie Rose's Garden: THE SECRET KEEPER by Kate Morton (historical fiction)
Ellen Booraem of Freelance Ne'er-do-well: THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE by Neil Gaiman
Beth Yarnall: ARSEN by Mia Asher (contemporary romance)
Jenn Jilks of Cottage Country: OUR MAN IN TEHRAN by Robert A. Wright
Patti Abbott: THE SEARCHERS: THE MAKING OF AN AMERICAN LEGEND by Glenn Frank
Note to Reviewers: Any errors (broken link, missed review, etc), just shoot me an email or leave a comment. Thank you so much for your reviews!