Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “His Only Wife” as Want to Read:
His Only Wife
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

His Only Wife

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  2,341 ratings  ·  414 reviews
“Elikem married me in absentia; he did not come to our wedding.”

Afi Tekple is a young seamstress whose life is narrowing rapidly. She lives in a small town in Ghana with her widowed mother, spending much of her time in her uncle Pious’s house with his many wives and children. Then one day she is offered a life-changing opportunity—a proposal of marriage from the wealthy fa
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 1st 2020 by Algonquin Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about His Only Wife, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about His Only Wife

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,341 ratings  ·  414 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of His Only Wife
Jessica Woodbury
A domestic drama that opens up the lives of Ghanaian women, should appeal to fans of STAY WITH ME, as it also analyzes the implications of African polygamous patriarchy on modern women.

Afi does not have much. Her father is dead, her mother struggles to support her, her large extended family neglects her, and she is not gifted enough at schoolwork to get into a university. What she does have is her good looks, a good upbringing, and a talent for sewing and design. She is married to the son of her
Oct 14, 2020 marked it as to-read
i have officially received word that it is my curse to want to read everything compared to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Anna Luce
“All men are the same, they only know how to love themselves and to sit on women.”

His Only Wife is an engrossing story that hooked me from the very first line: “Elikem married me in absentia; he did not come to our wedding.”. The novel tells the story of Afi, a young woman who works as a seamstress in a small town in Ghana. When Faustina Ganyo, her benefactor who also happens to be her widowed mother's boss, arranges her marriage to her own son, Afi views it as a great honour and a lifetime opp
Aug 29, 2020 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this contemporary African story about love, marriage, culture and what it means to be the perfect daughter, wife and to “keep your home.” The premise is that Afi, is a young seamstress from a rural town in Ghana who wins the proverbial lottery when she’s selected by her family’s wealthy benefactors to marry their favourite son, Eli, who’s involved with a woman they do not approve of. Afi’s task as the new (traditionally-wed, family-approved) wife is to divert Eli’s at ...more
Amy Imogene Reads
A modern tale of one woman discovering her own sense of purpose in Ghana amidst family drama, expectations, and marriage. I'm not one who automatically goes for domestic stories, so extremely pleased to say that this was such a fantastic read.

Characters: ★★★★★
Plot/Pacing: ★★★★
Enjoyment: ★★★★ 1/2

“Elikem married me in absentia; he did not come to our wedding.”

That's the first line. I think it's charismatic enough on its own—it definitely made me want to pick it up—but for the sake of reviewing, le
Oct 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poc-author, favorites
This book gripped me from page one.

Watch my review:
Marriage shouldn’t be a never-ending competition where you spend your life fighting to be seen and chosen

Peace Adzo Medie’s debut novel His Only Wife is a book you will read and continue to think about for months to come. The story opens up in a small town in Ghana, we meet Afi Tekple a young seamstress who is about to get married to a man she has never met, what’s more the man does not show up to their wedding because he is on a business trip. How did Afi end up in this predicament? Afi’s
Mar 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a lovely, excellent, entertaining book! And what a journey! I laughed often, I cried at some points, I got annoyed at and on behalf of the main character. I even wanted to fight some of the characters.

I also wanted to fight the author at some point for writing such an unputdownable book (In my being engrossed I might have missed some deadlines and this is obviously her fault, not mine)... and also for the ending (I’ll leave you to judge)!

Such a fantastic first novel. Can’t wait to read
Aug 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Peace Adzo Medie writes a timely novel about the strength and sacrifices of women for their family, to gain acceptance of the cultural and social norms, as well as, the cost of life choices.

Young Afi Tekple's life is about to change. She is given an opportunity of a lifetime - to receive a proposal of marriage to one of the wealthiest families in their small town. Aunty Faustina Ganyo has helped Afi and her widowed mother Olivia, so when this opportunity arose to marry Aunty's son Elikem, Afi c
I. Can't. Stop. Thinking. About. This. Book!!!

This is perfection, okay?! Peace Adzo Medie did the damn thing with "His Only Wife", and I'm so glad I read it! Afi is such an amazing character and I will love her forever, okay?! This book starts off with Afi's wedding to man that couldn't even make it to the ceremony, so he has his brother stand in for him. After that, she moves to Accra where he doesn't even come to see her for a couple of weeks after their wedding, and she has to live in a flat,
Read In Colour
Aug 27, 2020 rated it liked it
"Elikem married me in absentia; he did not come to our wedding." When I read those words, I thought surely this novel was set in the past because who does that in the present. While the book is set in the past, it's not in the distant past, it's 2014.

The bride, Afi, has been given a mission by the family of her betrothed - force the break up of your husband and his girlfriend and return him to the family fold. That's not a small order, is it? But it seems a small price to pay for all Aunty Faus
Egle Cesnulyte
May 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
His Only Wife is a great book – I could not put it down once I started!
I am a scholar who studies how women make decisions and manifest their agency in difficult circumstances, and this book spoke so much to the ideas I explore in my work! The main character is not a woman I loved or understood all the time in the book, and I found myself asking a lot of questions while following with a great interest what would she do next (spoiler – not always what I would have done if I were in her shoes!).
Sherwood Smith
Sep 01, 2020 added it
Shelves: fiction

This is Peace Adzo Medie's impressive first novel, which follows follows twenty-one-year-old seamstress Afi, from a family in grinding poverty. She gets an apparent Cinderella deal when a wealthy woman who contributes a lot of the neighborhood poor arranges a marriage between Afi to her handsome son Eli, a wealthy businessman.

But as days go by and Afi hasn’t actually met her husband, but hears of him always elsewhere, and with another woman (whom his mother despises), that Afi begins to realize
Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)
Sep 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
I could barely put HIS ONLY WIFE by Peace Adzo Medie down once I started it, I truly inhaled this story! 👀 It’s been on my radar ever since Wayétu Moore recommended it on her book tour.
We are following Afi, a young seamstress in Ghana, whose marriage (sans her now-husband!) opens the book. Yes, you read that correctly! 🙃 She moves from her hometown of Ho to live in Accra, and adjusts to life in the city for the most part without having met her husband. Her marriage has brought her family a much
Aug 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
“Elikem married me in absentia; he did not come to our wedding.”

Dear Afi, when your husband didn’t show up to the wedding that should have been your first clue that “something something just ain’t right.” Stayed up late to finish this book. My emotions were in shambles. Crazy situation all around that I will never understand but I was proud of Afi in the end for standing up for herself.

Recommended for those looking for a complex but entertaining marriage story.
Oct 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss
I grabbed this book as soon as I saw that Reese Witherspoon had chosen it for her book club. This was such an interesting book. It is not my typical read. But I really enjoyed it.

The narrator is 21 year old seamstress Afi (1st person POV). The book takes place in Ghana (Africa).

Afi has lived with her mom who is a widow. They are deeply indebted to Aunty (a rich woman who helps them). Aunty's son is Eli. And she wants to arrange a marriage for Eli and Afi.

I was extremely intrigued by the culture
Jun 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a story of a young woman who defies her husband, family and culture to arrive at her goal; but does that goal mean there is an end with shocking pain, or a shocking pain with no end?

Rarely have I read a book written with so much apparent love for the story being told. Ghana, Accra, Ho, the markets, the language and customs are so beautifully relayed that they become a colorful back drop vice distracting side-line to the chronicles of a young woman finding her voice and way. Loved the sto
Sep 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Algonquin for an advanced complimentary copy and a beautiful finished copy! And for including me on the book tour! I voluntarily reviewed this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

His Only Wife
By: Peace Adzo Medie

REVIEW ☆☆☆☆☆

His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie totally took me by surprise. The synopsis doesn't sound like my usual reads, but I took a chance on this book anyway. Thank goodness! Afi is a poor seamstress living in Ghana with her mother, depending upon the charity of
Susan Peterson
Aug 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
His Only Wife is a gripping story that features a main character finding her true path in life. This is a fast read, featuring vivid and complex characters. I loved learning about the traditions and culture of Ghana.
Crystal (Melanatedreader) Forte'
So many people can catch these hands in this book. My list is long. Read this book.
Caroline Craig David
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Afi was so endearing, strong, and relatable. It is such a intricate relationship between Afi and Elikem that is explored on many different levels through many different situations. I loved that I was able to laugh and experience a wide range of emotions. I will definitely read anything Peace Adzo Media puts out.
Lorrea - WhatChaReadin'?
"Elikem married me in absentia; he did not come to our wedding." When a book starts like that, you have to keep going until the very end. How can the groom not show up for the wedding? I had never heard of anything like that before. In Ghana, Afi is ready to marry Eli. His family is not happy with him because he is with a woman they do not approve of and he has gotten her pregnant. Afi waits nearly two months before she even sees her husband for the first time. Their marriage is not what she exp ...more
Lindsey Gandhi
For me, this book is a 2.5 star review. I rounded up for two reasons - the first is the premise behind the book is good. The second is I actually really liked the main character Eli. The good news about this book is it's a super fast read. The bad news is I don't feel the author did a great job executing the story. The writing was just okay for me. I really, really did not like the other main character Afi. Please don't murder me for my opinion here.... she is supposed to be a strong female lead ...more
Aug 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely amazing. I loved the writing and the story arc, the characters were so real and alive. I could taste the food, see the homes, feel the anger and frustration of Afi. Everything I loved in a book while also introducing me to a new culture.
Dini - dinipandareads
4.5 stars
so glad that this didn't pass under my radar. i wasn't ready for how emotional this would make me but what a fabulous read! RTC (tomorrow).
Katie Mac
Jun 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-voices
I received an eARC of this novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

"I'd never had a white person do anything for me before. What a day."

This is Peace Adzo Medie's first novel, and it's a strong debut. The novel follows twenty-one-year-old Afi, who marries Eli, the son of a wealthy woman who has helped Afi's family in the past. Medie does a great job highlighting not only the cultural aspects of Ghana, but also the disparities between men and women, wealthy and poor, and those who f
May 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am very pleased with the author’s style of writing. This was an easy to read and honestly, I had trouble putting the book down- because I was into all the drama and always eager to find out what was going to happen next.
I love the journey of emotions the book took me through. The strength of the main character is very empowering and pinnacles the ever resilience of a woman. Also, the acknowledgement of experiences in marriages; especially of this distinct cultural setting, makes the novel so r
This was a first time read of this author, Peace Adzo Medie. His Only Wife was very interesting and I for the most part thought it was going to be interesting but felt disappointed. I had a hard time with this story because of the complicated females in the book...and with the men too.

I tried to like the characters, however the main male character angered me the most. I did have some sympathy for the absentia wife. Frankly, this was just not my cup of tea although I thought it was well-written.

Susan McGrath
Aug 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received an Advance Reading Copy of His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie from the publisher (Algonquin Books). His Only Wife is scheduled for release on September 1, 2020.

His Only Wife begins with a wedding in Ghana. Afi has been proposed to by the family of Eli, which she agrees to. Eli’s family hopes Afi can win Eli away from the woman they do not approve of. On her wedding day, Afi is dressed and ready, does all expected of her as a bride, and is married to Eli by a representative of the famil
Jun 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Afi’s life is far from perfect – her father died when she was young, her extended family all but abandoned her and her mother, and while design is her passion, she hardly makes anything as a seamstress in Ghana. She seems content with her circumstances, until her family arranges a marriage for her. It seems that Elikem Ganyo has been living with a woman his family disapproves of and they need Afi to resolve this situation. Aunty had done so much for her family after her father’s passing, how cou ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Last Story of Mina Lee
  • Les Misérables
  • Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness
  • Untamed
  • Persuasion
  • Furia
  • Trust Exercise
  • Love Warrior
  • My Autobiography of Carson McCullers
  • Lost Children Archive
  • Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family
  • Bring Up the Bodies (Thomas Cromwell, #2)
  • The Lady's Handbook for Her Mysterious Illness
  • Everything Inside
  • The Mirror & the Light (Thomas Cromwell, #3)
  • The Confessions of Frannie Langton
  • Carlota
  • Inked with a Kiss (Thorn & Thistle, #2)
See similar books…
Peace Adzo Medie is a Ghanaian writer and senior lecturer in gender and international politics at the University of Bristol in England. Prior to that she was a research fellow at the University of Ghana. She has published several short stories, and her book Global Norms and Local Action: The Campaigns to End Violence Against Women in Africa was published by Oxford University Press in 2020. She is ...more

Related Articles

November is the time for aspiring writers to get serious about writing that book! It's National Novel Writing Month, the annual event designed to...
84 likes · 18 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“Please, put love aside and be practical. Love will not put food on the table; it won’t hold you at night.” 2 likes
More quotes…