Ties That Tether

Jane Igharo. Berkley, $16 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-593-10194-0

Igharo debuts with a snappy look at the pressures of romantic and familial obligation among immigrant communities in modern-day Toronto. When Nigerian-born Azere Izoduwa was 12, she promised her dying father she would marry an Edo Nigerian man to keep their culture alive after the family immigrated to Canada. In the 13 years since, her mother has matched her with a series of unsuitable men. Following another failed date, Azere meets Rafael Castellano, a handsome, caring Canadian man to whom she is instantly attracted, and they share a single passionate night. The pair are reunited a month later when Rafael gets a job at the advertising agency where Azere is creative director. Though both agree to remain professional, the spark between them won’t die down. But Rafael is white, born of Spanish immigrants, and Azere has a promise to keep—a promise that grows harder to keep to when she learns their one-night stand resulted in an unplanned pregnancy. Though Azere’s passivity may frustrate some readers, Igharo brings a great deal of heart to Azere’s internal conflict as she navigates two cultures. This emotional debut marks Igharo as a writer to watch. Agent: Kevan Lyon, Marsal Lyon Literary. (Oct.)