A Tear and a Smile

Nwanganga Shields

Publisher: LitPrime Pages: Price: ISBN: Reviewed: March, 2021 Author Website: Visit »

In Nwanganga Shields’ boy-meets-girl tale, a young couple’s romance is hindered by cultural biases.

Clint is a young criminal law attorney who wishes for a career with the Environmental Protection Agency. The son of Nigerian immigrants, Clint has a penchant for history, particularly as it pertains to civil rights issues.

Cece is the daughter of successful parents. Her mother was born in England and her father in the U.S., but she is also the granddaughter of a “no-nonsense” Nigerian woman who came to the U.S. as the wife of a diplomat.

One Saturday, as Clint is enjoying a relaxing morning, he spots Cece and her grandmother, “Nana,” and fancies he’s falling in love. When Nana takes a fall, Clint finds his opening to introduce himself. He wastes no time in pursuing Cece, but she’s reluctant, in part because of an aunt’s distasteful experience with a Nigerian. Likewise, Clint’s father, who lives with his wife in Washington D.C., tells him “Stay away from white girls. They are not welcome here. There are many beautiful Nigerian girls here to date.”

Nonetheless, the pair begin a tentative courtship, but something—new jobs, family, personal concerns—always seems to get in the way. Then, a family secret about Cece’s grandmother’s past and previously unrevealed details from her mother’s youthful rebellion shed new light on their lives, suggesting that few things are truly black and white.

This is a story of young love, family loyalty and cultural bias. It’s a straight-forward tale relying on the often-predictable plot of Cece and Clint. The writing is clean, but the shift in the point of view from Cece to Clint causes some redundancy as one, then the other, relates the latest events. While the details differ, this is a familiar story, perhaps too reliant on the occasional coincidence.

That aside, the tale may appeal to a younger readership looking to cheer on an unlikely romance.

Author's Current Residence
Bethesda, Maryland