cover image Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband?

Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband?

Lizzie Damilola Blackburn. Viking/Dorman, $26 (384p) ISBN 978-0-593-29900-5

Blackburn’s comical debut chronicles a Nigerian British woman’s quest to find a date for her cousin’s wedding. The title’s question is lobbed at 31-year-old Yinka Oladeji by overbearing and traditionally minded people such as her mum and aunt Debbie whenever they see her. At her younger sister Kemi’s baby shower, Debbie unfavorably compares Oxford-educated Yinka to her cousin Ola, who dropped out of university for a “shotgun wedding.” Then, at an engagement party for another cousin, Rachel, Yinka meets her ex’s new fiancée. Afterward, she treats getting a date to Rachel’s wedding like a project, but worries that her dark skin and Pentacostal Christian faith might doom her to spinsterhood. After being laid off from her investment banking job instead of getting the promotion she wanted, Yinka checks in with a charity where she once volunteered and reconnects with the annoyingly contrary but handsome Donovan. Once her friends notice Yinka’s attempts to appeal to men, such as getting a weave, they stage an intervention to encourage her to remain true to herself. Blackburn’s lighthearted tone helps deliver heavy thoughts on colorism, the tension of cultural differences, and the benefits of therapy, as the story moves toward a happy ending on all fronts. This delivers loads of entertainment and a dollop of enlightenment. (Jan.)