Ties that Tether by Jane Igharo Review – A Thoughtful Exploration of Identity and Romance

Ties that Tether by Jane Igharo

Ties that Tether by Jane Igharo

I discovered Ties that Tether because of its gorgeous cover and was intrigued when Berkley sent me the extended copy. The story centers around Azere, a young Nigerian girl living in Canada. On her deathbed, she promises her father that she will marry a Nigerian man, specifically one from the Edo tribe, to preserve her roots. The plot takes an unexpected turn when a one-night stand with a mysterious man, Rafael, leads to an unexpected pregnancy. To further complicate matters, Raphael will be Azere’s new marketing director. This forms the basis of a series of activities that explore the challenges of immigration, cultural expectations and the pressures people face to balance different aspects of their identity.

One aspect I appreciated was the book’s exploration of the immigrant experience and the struggle to adapt to a new culture while staying true to one’s roots. Azira’s journey highlights the common dilemma of immigrants and first-generation people: between assimilation and preservation of cultural heritage. The story details the changes Azire made to fit into a predominantly white environment, focusing on aspects such as language, clothing, food, and behavior. The inclusion of material related to Nigeria, including food, music and movies, added depth to the story, but the descriptions sometimes seemed too detailed. I find that while I enjoy cultural knowledge, I prefer a balanced approach that allows readers to explore these aspects for themselves. A major flaw was the characterization. Because I felt completely disconnected from Azere and Raphael. Azira’s relationship with her abusive mother was genuine but sometimes toxic. I wanted a deeper understanding of Azira’s personal ambitions and Rafael’s views on his family.

The attempt at humor through secondary characters was bland and the dialogue felt out of place and outdated. Additionally, the romance lacked the desired chemistry and sometimes relied on the stereotypes found in some interracial romances. Despite these flaws, The Ties That Bind actually tells the story of an immigrant woman struggling with the fusion of identity and culture. This drama-filled story tells an important story that moves the reader forward. Although the character development and romantic elements may leave something to be desired, the novel provokes reflection on the complexities of identity and cultural integration.

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