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Rootless by Krystle Zara Appiah
Contemporary fiction



We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Krystle Zara Appiah, on your first book!

by Krystle Zara Appiah

Quick take

An unexpected pregnancy pushes a married couple into a raw and emotional exploration of what it is they truly want.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_HeavyRead

    Heavy read

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_SlowRead

    Slow build

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_MarriageIssues

    Marriage issues

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_MamaDrama

    Mama drama


On a Spring afternoon in London, Sam hops the stairs of his flat two at a time. There’s £1,300 missing from his and his wife, Efe’s, shared bank account and his calls are going straight to voicemail. When he finally reaches someone, he learns Efe is nearly 5,000 miles away as their toddler looks around and asks, “Where’s Mummy?”

When Efe and Sam met as teens headed for university, it seemed everyone knew they were meant to be. Efe, newly arrived in the UK from Ghana and sinking under the weight of her parents’ expectations, found comfort in the focused and idealistic Sam. He was stable, working toward a law career, and had an unwavering vision for their future. A vision Efe, now a decade later, finds slightly insufferable. From the outside, they’re the picture-perfect couple everyone imagined, but there are cracks in the frame.

When Efe and Sam are faced with an unplanned pregnancy, they find themselves on opposing sides. Fatherhood is everything he has dreamed of, but Efe feels stuck in a nightmare. And when a new revelation emerges, they are forced to confront just how radically different they want their lives to be. Already swallowed by the demands of motherhood and feeling the dreams she had slipping away once again, Efe disappears.

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Content warning

This book contains scenes depicting self-harm.

Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Rootless.

Why I love it

One mark of a great novel is the emotions its characters are able to elicit within us. Krystle Zara Appiah’s Rootless is one such example of a character-driven narrative which, from page one, welcomes you in, leads you to your seat and buckles you in for the journey on which you are about to embark.

There live within the pages of Rootless, a host of characters, but the main players are Efe, Sam, and their accompanying outlooks on life, the latter almost taking on their own personalities and becoming the driving forces behind how the story plays out. Efe’s complicated past, her relationship with the UK, and her hesitation around motherhood pulling her one way, Sam’s full-throated optimism about parenthood and his familial bonds pulling him another.

The foundations for Sam and Efe’s union are their shared heritage and their youth spent navigating studies and greater responsibilities against the dual backdrops of London and Ghana, a bond built on friendship. They are the epitome of messy, infuriating and loveable—their romance constantly driving them apart and pulling them back together. They war. They repent. They fly their mistakes like flags. That is the beauty of this Appiah’s work—humanity is on display on every single page.

Rootless is a beautifully honest exploration of the complexities of motherhood, marriage, family, and love. It is a novel not to be missed!

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Member ratings (2,329)

  • Clare M.

    Somerville, MA

    Loved this book! Explores freedom, sacrifices of modern motherhood, & how we can let down those we love. The author beautifully creates two worlds Ghana/London). Best book I've read so far this year.

  • Candace J.


    A book hasn’t made me cry in a long while. What a beautiful story. Finding your wings can be freeing even when we may need our roots. Finding a balance between your dreams and your responsibilities

  • Kristy E.

    Chico, CA

    Not unlike Anna Karenina, this is a subtly written novel about a woman who defies societal expectations in search of her own meaning. Rich characters offer opportunities to empathize with all sides.

  • Susie Q.

    Chula Vista, CA

    This book had a fresh premise, fully developed characters, a fantastic layout, and was very well-written. It didn’t feel like a debut at all and I’m excited to see what she writes in the future!

  • Jamie T.

    Yonkers, NY

    My heart. Maybe it’s that I’m a new parent but the parenting descriptions and the difficulty with communication when you’re sleep deprived… I cried throughout the whole second half ❤️