An unexpected love story that asks: What happens when being the perfect daughter means betraying your own heart?
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Why I love it
Author, The Heart Principle
As a second-generation Vietnamese-American, I heard my mom’s “coming to America” stories countless times while growing up, but they never grew boring. I always wanted to know more. What was it like adjusting to a new country and new culture? What was it like entering an interracial relationship with my dad? Ties That Tether offers a revelatory glimpse into this type of immigrant experience—from a Nigerian perspective.
After immigrating to Canada, Azere is under pressure from her family to marry a good Nigerian man and preserve her culture. But when her mother’s latest matchmaking attempt results in another poor fit, Azere rebels and finds herself in bed with a handsome stranger who also happens to be white. As their relationship grows unexpectedly serious, she’s forced to confront her family and their expectations while navigating her own concept of cultural identity.
A Nigerian-Canadian herself, Igharo writes her Nigerian characters with such love and vivid personality that it was impossible for me not to connect with them, especially Azere’s stubborn mother. I think Azere’s struggle to find her own voice amidst the conflicting pressures of family expectations and society makes this a particularly heart-touching read, one that will resonate with most people.
At 12 years old, Azere promised her dying father she would marry a Nigerian man and preserve her culture even after immigrating to Canada. Her mother has been vigilant about helping—forcing—her to stay well within the Nigerian dating pool ever since. But when another match-made-by-mom goes wrong, Azere ends up at a bar, enjoying the company and later sharing the bed of Rafael Castellano, a man who is tall, handsome, and white.
When their one-night stand unexpectedly evolves into something serious, Azere is caught between her growing feelings for Rafael and the compulsive need to please her mother who will never accept a relationship that threatens to dilute Azere's Nigerian heritage.
Azere can't help wondering if loving Rafael makes her any less of a Nigerian. Can she be with him without compromising her identity? The answer will either cause Azere to be audacious and fight for her happiness or continue as the compliant daughter.