Going into Ties That Tether, I was expecting a book that could become my new favorite romance. It sounded perfectly relatable, with a main character who struggles with her cultural identity, a hot love interest, and lots of drama. That being said, I was let down by how this story played out.
Keep reading for a full review!
Title: Ties That Tether
Author: Jane Igharo
Publisher / Published: September 29th 2020 by Berkley
Trigger Warnings: Surprise pregnancy, loss of a loved one
When a Nigerian woman falls for a man she knows will break her mother’s heart, she must choose between love and her family.
At twelve years old, Azere promised her dying father she would marry a Nigerian man and preserve her culture even after emigrating 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.
I finished reading this book a few days ago in one sitting. I had heard mixed reviews but had high exceptions because of how interesting the synopsis sounded and because of the fact that it discussed a lot about growing up as a person of color in a Western country which is something I could relate to. Overall, though, I found the characters to lack any sort of personality that would make me fall in love with them or their relationships. Because of that, I was also not as invested in the story or what happened to them.
Starting with Rafael, the love interest, I honestly did not care for him at all. He and Azere (the main character) meet in a hotel bar where they end up having a ~fun night~ that results in Azere getting pregnant. As a character, Rafael kept a lot of secrets from Azere even after she would pour her heart out to him. He then acted like she was the one who always hid everything even though he literally kept a really big, important part of his life hidden from Azere until the very end of the book. This, in addition to the fact that he didn’t really have a … personality, just made him hard to like and root for.
Azere, on the other hand, was a bit more complex. She made a promise years ago to her dying father that she’d marry a Nigerian man even after moving to Canada and never forget about her culture or identity. Azere is determined to uphold that promise, and goes on date after date with men her mother has set her up with. However, things never end up working out with the Nigerian men her mother sets Azere up with. After spending more time with Rafael, she quickly falls in love with him and struggles with accepting her feelings towards him. There are of course repercussions about this when it comes to her family, especially with her mother.
Immigrants chase success differently because we have something to prove to the people we left behind and the people who note our differences – our accent, our appearance, our religion, our culture – every day.Ties That Tether
Moving to a new country, especially one that is so different from the one you grew up in, is so difficult. Understandably, Azere’s mother was worried that her daughter would forget where she came from and her identity. What this book really got at the root of, though, is that embracing another culture and country doesn’t mean sacrificing your heritage. This can be a tough subject to talk about but the author did a pretty good job of bringing it up. However, I feel like this could’ve been a lot deeper of a conversation than what it was considering it’s one of the biggest plots of the book. The whole concept is Azere dating a man who isn’t Nigerian against her family’s wishes and yet when the “big” conversation for that happened, it felt underwhelming. At the end, it still didn’t feel like the mom really came around if I’m being honest.
All in all, Ties That Tether had built up high expectations but let me down when it came to the plot and characters. I almost wish it had been longer just so that everyone could have been more fleshed out and there was more room for the relationship between Rafael and Azere to grow. If you’re not a fan of insta-love then this is definitely a book you’ll want to stay away from! That being said, it could be fun just to read in one sitting if you’re looking for a lighthearted romance 💙
That’s it for today’s post! I’m so happy to finally have this review up because it’s been a while since I’ve finished a book and had the chance to talk about it on here :))
Hopefully May will be the month of books and I’ll be able to catch up on more recent releases! Fingers crossed 🤞🏽
Have you read Ties That Tether? Is it on your TBR?