His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie: Not your average old wives’ tale

Tradition clashes with modernity in a captivating tale of marriage in contemporary Ghana

Peace Adzo Medie is a writer from Ghana who lectures in gender and international politics at the University of Bristol. His Only Wife is her debut novel

Peace Adzo Medie is a writer from Ghana who lectures in gender and international politics at the University of Bristol. His Only Wife is her debut novel

“They deposited me in front of our two families. I was acutely aware of every eye inspecting me for flaws.” We first meet Aki, the 21-year-old protagonist of His Only Wife, on the morning of her wedding to Elikem Ganyo, a handsome, rich businessman who is, in Aki’s hometown of Ho in Ghana, widely considered to be that most universal of terms: a total catch.

The favourite son of a wealthy family, employers to many of the community, Eli is also clever and considerate, good in bed, and – get this – he’s even willing to make his own breakfast in the mornings, a cause for consternation for Aki, whose traditional values will come to be tested over the course of an engaging, quietly provocative debut.  

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