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Top 15 Books Every Nigerian Must Read For Valentine

By Comfort Olukogbon on 12 Feb, 2015

Saturday February 14 is Valentine’s Day! In 2013, we celebrated the Day with post on No Ordinary Love: Romances of Imperial Proportions and last year we shared a post by Pat Omanu - Fiction: A Love Story.

Valentine’s Day is known for love and romance. Here at ZODML, we will be acknowledging the Day with a list of novels on themes of love. They are a Valentine’s Day present any booklover will love.


A Love Rekindled by Myne Whitman

When Efe Sagay receives a transfer to the branch of a prestigious hotel chain in the Nigerian capital, she accepts it, happy to return home to family after years in the United States. Seven months later, Efe is facing her ex, Kevwe Mukoro, swamped by emotions she’d thought were dead. When Kevwe claims he’s never stopped loving her, and asks why she abandoned him, Efe stomps off, incensed! For her, it was the other way around.


 The Thread of Gold Beads by Nike Campbell-Fatoki

A Tale of Faith, Love, Life & Betrayal! Amelia, daughter of the last independent King of Danhome, King Gbehanzin, is the apple of her father's eye, loved beyond measure by her mother, and overprotected by her siblings. She searches for her place within the palace amidst conspirators and traitors to the Kingdom. Just when Amelia begins to feel at home in her role as a Princess, a well-kept secret shatters the perfect life she knows.                         



I Do Not Come to You by Chance by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

I Do Not Come to You by Chance tells the story of one young man and the family who loves him.Being the opera of the family, Kingsley Ibe is entitled to certain privileges--a piece of meat in his egusi soup, a party to celebrate his graduation from university. As first son, he has responsibilities, too. But times are bad in Nigeria, and life is hard. Unable to find work, Kingsley cannot take on the duty of training his younger siblings, nor can he provide his parents with financial peace in their retirement. And then there is Ola. Dear, sweet Ola, the sugar in Kingsley's tea. It does not seem to matter that he loves her deeply; he cannot afford her bride price. 


Americanah by Chimamanda Adichie

Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland


The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin

 This is a stirring tale of men and women, mothers and children, servitude and independence. It depicts the common threads that connect the experiences of all women: the hardships they bear, their fierce desire to protect those they love, and their struggle to define themselves. Each character in the book has secrets and it is only by letting the secret out that true liberty is achieved, as is carefully shown by Shoneyin at the end of the book.

Bitter leaf by Chioma Okereke

Babylon, a gifted musician who falls under the spell of the beautiful Jericho who has recently returned from the city; Mabel and M'elle Codon, twin sisters whose lives have taken very different paths, Magdalena, daughter of Mabel, who nurses an unrequited love for Babylon and Allegory, the wise old man who adheres to tradition. Chioma Okereke illustrates love and loss, parental and filial bonds, and everything in between that makes life bittersweet.

Black Mustard Seed by Emeka Aniagolu

An Igbo young man - Chike falls in love with a Yoruba young lady - Bisi; and a Hausa young man -Mohammed, falls in love with an Igbo young lady -Ngozi. They are modernists, but must contend with the traditional and religious absolutism of their parents, and the growing ethnic chauvinism and heated atmosphere of a post-colonial country pursuing money and prosperity. Through the eyes and lives of these four lovers, woven into a tale set in post-independence Wazobia (Nigeria), this novel confronts the big political question and obsession of the historical moment: the problematic process of transforming the Nigerian state into a modern nation. 

Love Is Power, or Something Like That by Igoni Barrett

When it comes to love, things are not always what they seem. In contemporary Lagos, a young boy may pose as a woman online, and a maid may be suspected of sleeping with her employer and yet still become a young wife’s confidante. Men and women can be objects of fantasy, the subject of beery soliloquies. They can be trophies or status symbols. Or they can be overwhelming in their need.

A Heart to Mend by Myne Whitman

This is a fearless tale about love….an unbiased story of the struggles, failures, victories, strength and harsh decisions people face at some point because of those they love. This book has a story that has been broken down and told with smooth and simple language.

Jagua Nana by Cyprian Ekwensi

Jagua Nana is a tale of life in Lagos in the early 1960s. It is about a woman caught between true love and the need to fend for herself by any means necessary. Through Jagua, Ekwensi skilfully depicts what survival in Nigerian cities entails in a manner which still feels relevant today, as well as the depths love can drive people to.

Happiness, Like Water by Chinelo Okparanta

Chinelo Okparanta introduces us to families burdened equally by the past and the future. Here, Here are Nigerian women at home and transplanted to the United States, building lives out of longing and hope, faith and doubt, the struggle to stay and the mandate to leave, the burden and strength of love…


Forever Yours by Helen Ovbiagele

Halima is about to start work as a translator in Lagos when she is swept off her feet by the handsome and wealthy Bala Sumiyar. When she gives up everything for love she finds she has to fight to retain her hard won independence.

The Spider King’s Daughter by Chibundu Onuzo

Seventeen-year-old Abike Johnson is the favourite child of her wealthy father. She lives in a sprawling mansion in Lagos, protected by armed guards and ferried everywhere in a huge black jeep. A world away from Abike's mansion, in the city's slums, lives an eighteen-year-old hawker struggling to make sense of the world. His family lost everything after his father's death and now he sells ice cream at the side of the road to support his mother and sister. When Abike buys ice cream from the hawker one afternoon, they strike up a tentative and unlikely romance. But as they grow closer, revelations from the past threaten their relationship and both Abike and the hawker must decide where their loyalties lie.

The Concubine by Elechi Amadi

A beautiful young woman, Ihuoma, is suddenly widowed by the accidental death of her husband, and though his death is attributed by the villagers to a fight he had with a rival, Amadi hints that some supernatural force is at work.  This doesn’t deter Ekwueme, who falls passionately in love with Ihuoma, though until now he’s been in no hurry to marry.  But fate steps in: he’s been betrothed since childhood to Ahurole, and such are the traditions of his village that it will cause a major scandal if he doesn’t go through with it.

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Adichie

Half of a Yellow Sun is a remarkable novel about moral responsibility, about the end of colonialism, about ethnic allegiances, about class and race—and the ways in which love can complicate them all.

Enjoy Valentine's week and don't forget to comment on our post.

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