This engaging tale pivots around a young romance that turns nightmarish when the groom persuades the bride to leave her home in Nigeria to work as a prostitute in Italy. As can be expected, little good results. But while this is the story of how one bad decision can turn a promising life awry, it is also a tale of hope, faith and triumph.
From childhood, the protagonist Gift leads a happy but impoverished existence in a primitive village where her father supports the family by selling the palmwine he taps from palm trees. Early in life, Gift is led to understand that she is special, and the family expects great things from her. She does not disappoint and eventually goes off to study at the University of Lagos. Then, she meets and marries Osahon, who dreams of making great wealth in the supermarket business. But when he squanders her savings, he devises a new scheme for Gift in the sex trade. Soon, her world collapses. Her life in ruins, a pregnant Gift packs up her two children and heads for Ireland and a new life, only to find herself pursued by Osahon, still bent on using and abusing the young mother.
Dimbo is a natural storyteller, mixing her native tongue with English, resulting in a charmed, even melodic, description of Nigerian life. “The earth drank greedily to her heart’s content before allowing the idei—flood, [sic] to stream down the footpaths while the souls were set free,” she writes of an evening rain.
She infuses this moral tale of sin and redemption with well-rounded and likeable characters and a compelling plot. Dimbo changes points of view frequently, which can be confusing initially, and the sequence of events can sometimes be puzzling. However, these are minor flaws and do little to distract from a thoroughly enjoyable read.
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