Title: The Son of the House
Author: Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia
Genre: Nigerian fiction
PopSugar Reading Challenge prompt: book published in 2021
Thank you Netgalley for this book!
I’m hit or miss with Netgalley. I take chances and sometimes, ugh, the books are just the worst. Sweet Water, The Residence, The Other Side of the Door, and No One Knows come to mind as ones that sounded great, but ended up disappointing. However, ones like Hurricane Summer, When the Stars Go Dark, Before She Disappeared, The Hollow Places, and My Sunshine Away turned out to be excellent. I absolutely love Netgalley and am thankful they keep sending me books, even the ones that are underwhelming to me. This book, however, this book just might be the best one Netgalley has ever sent me.
From Goodreads: In the Nigerian city of Enugu, young Nwabulu, a housemaid since the age of ten, dreams of becoming a typist as she endures her employers’ endless chores. She is tall and beautiful and in love with a rich man’s son.
Educated and privileged, Julie is a modern woman. Living on her own, she is happy to collect the gold jewelry lovestruck Eugene brings her but has no intention of becoming his second wife.
When a kidnapping forces Nwabulu and Julie into a dank room years later, the two women relate the stories of their lives as they await their fate.
Pulsing with vitality and intense human drama, Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia’s debut is set against four decades of vibrant Nigeria, celebrating the resilience of women as they navigate and transform what still remains a man’s world.
I will be shocked if this book isn’t on every “best of 2021” list. Set in Nigeria, the story is familiar. Two women trying to find their place in the world. No matter the culture, this theme is easily relatable. You spend more time with Nwabulu (it felt like to me, at least) and her story is truly heartbreaking. She and Julie are excellently contrasted, but have so much in common as well. The story is simple: two women’s lives and what unites them, but it’s just a beautiful story. I absolutely loved it and hope it doesn’t fly under the radar. It’s a must read.