Sunday 12 March 2023

Ties That Tether

Finished February 25
Ties that Tether by Jane Igharo

Azere Izoduwa is a creative director at an advertising agency in Toronto. She, her mother, and her younger sister Efe immigrated to Canada from Nigeria when she was twelve, after her father's death. They were sponsored by her father's brother, a widower with a son slightly older than her, Jacob. Before her father died, he insisted that she promise him that she would marry a man from the same tribe, Ebo, to stay true to her culture. Azere's mother keeps setting her up with eligible Ebo men, but nothing has clicked for Azere. As the book starts, she has been on yet another dinner date, and this one has definitely not gone well. When she walks out of the restaurant, a high end on in a luxury hotel, she decides that she could use a drink, and she stops at the bar. She starts a conversation with a man there, and finds herself drawn to him in a very strong way. 
Rafael Castellano is a Toronto native who has been living in New York City and is back in town for an interview. When he sees Azere and begins to talk to her, he too finds himself inexplicably drawn to her. In the heated moment, they both give in to their impulses and the two end up in Rafael's hotel room. 
A month later Azere finds herself meeting her one-night stand again, only this time as her co-worker. As the two maneuver this unexpected situation, Azere finds herself pulled between her promise to her father and her strong feelings for this man. 
I liked the way the book moved back and forth between the two main characters in voice. We could see the secrets that each was keeping from each other, secrets that drew them together, and secrets that pushed them apart. They both come from cultures that I am not that familiar with. Azere is very active in the Nigerian Canadian community, and her culture is a strong part of her identity. She eats Nigerian food, watches Nigerian movies, and listens to Nigerian music. She has been a compliant daughter, and still performs regular tasks for her mother, like mowing the lawn. 
Rafael spent his childhood summers with his grandmother in Spain, and his family still spends regular time there. As the story begins, the rest of the family is in Spain for an extended holiday. 
As the two spend time together both at work and in their personal lives, they both must make difficult decisions, and deal with a situation that brings them even closer. 
This was a different romance for me, with the additional of the cultural elements and the larger than life character of Azere's mother playing a big part in the story. Enlightening and entertaining. 

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