Yinka wants to find love. The problem is she also has a mum who thinks she’s better qualified to find it for her.
She also has too many aunties who frequently pray for her delivery from singledom, a preference for chicken and chips over traditional Nigerian food and a bum she’s sure id far too small as a result. Oh, and the fact that she’s a thirty-one-year-old South-Londoner who doesn’t believe in sex before marriage is a bit of an obstacle too…
When her husband gets engaged, Yinka commences Operation Find A Date for Rachel’s Wedding. Will Yinka find herself a huzband? And what if the thing she really needs is to find herself?
Thank you so much to Lou at Penguin for the proof copy of this book, a fantastic read that I think falls into ‘coming of age’ although Yinka at aged 31 isn’t the typical protagonist for this genre, however she does embark on a journey of self realisation that leaves her changed so I am calling it!
Yinka is a successful British Nigerian woman, Oxford educated and working in an investment bank, but all these achievements seem largely unrecognised to her mother and Aunts who prioritise Yinka finding a ‘huzband’ above all else and fear her singledom. This results in excruciating moments for Yinka when her mum takes every opportunity to pray (very publicly) for Yinka and her need for a husband. It prevents Yinka from being honest about her life – the pressure to be successful in her career due to the perception that she chose this over finding a mate means she struggle to be honest when things go wrong.
When her cousin Rachel announces her short engagement Yinka sets a goal to find a man to accompany her to the fast approaching wedding. Needless to say things don’t go to plan but along the way Yinka has time to reflect and revaluate, she has some honest conversations and she rethinks her stellar career.
This was an engaging and entertaining novel, highly relatable – the pressures placed upon us by family and friends, the expectations to conform within our culture and the sense of invisibility when we don’t, meaning our unique successes are neither seen or recognised. Yinka, her friends and family were all likeable, flawed characters. With an emphasis on the strength of female relationships this felt like an empowering read. I particularly enjoyed some of Yinka’s friendships and especially her relationship with her Aunt Blessing who had successfully not conformed and always had Yinka’s back.
The writing was accessible and each chapter began with Yinka’s digital activity – her internet searches, WhatsApp messages and similar. The pressure to succeed in all areas was easy as a woman to identify with and the differing priorities between generations. This book had a real fun feel to it, despite having some serious and sad themes, it felt uplifting.
Publishing on the last day of this month, this strong, contemporary fiction is one I would recommend all fans of modern, female fiction add to their shopping list.
About the Author
Lizzie Damilola Blackburn is a British-Nigerian writer, born in Peckham. In 2019 she won the Literary Consultancy Pen Factor Writing Competition with the early draft of Yinka, where is your husband? which she had been writing alongside juggling her job at Carers UK. She now lives with her husband in Milton Keynes