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Official Review: Thorns and Roses by Amaka Azie

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Official Review: Thorns and Roses by Amaka Azie

Post Number:#1 by Jennifer Allsbrook
» 11 May 2017, 21:34

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Thorns and Roses" by Amaka Azie.]

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4 out of 4 stars
Review by Jennifer Allsbrook
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A Nigerian romance entitled, Thorns and Roses by Amaka Azie, journeys into the heart of an emotionally scarred young woman, Ifeoma Okafor. Ifeoma, a victim of an abusive, alcoholic father, acts as a shield to protect her three younger sisters from the man who devalues women and daughters. Belittled for not being a boy, Ifeoma works hard to earn her father’s love and respect. These attempts prove futile and the family reaches a crisis point when Ifeoma’s younger sister is sold to a much older man for a bride price. Ifeoma immediately tries to reason with her father, but he stubbornly refuses to change his mind. Ifeoma approaches the bridegroom and offers herself, tempting him by exposing herself to his lurid gaze. Intrigued, he accepts her and on the day before the ceremony, her future husband tries to claim a husband's rights and attempts to rape Ifeoma. Devastated and trying to escape the cycle of abuse, Ifeoma packs up her sisters and they flee.

Landing in the city of Lagos, Ifeoma secures a loan, finds lodging, and finds a location to open a restaurant. Starting a new life for herself and her sisters, Ifeoma opens Eastern Delight, a canteen where she cooks traditional meals. Being authentic and delicious, her meals draw many patrons, but one man, in particular, comes in daily. His fancy clothes and mannerisms show that he is a wealthy businessman and he tips the waitresses well. Continuing to visit daily, Chuma Obi draws Ifeoma, always wary and shy, out of the kitchen to meet him. Introducing himself, Chuma has had his eye on Ifeoma and once he meets her, he pursues her diligently. Wooing Ifeoma a little at a time, Chuma spends time talking with Ifeoma and eventually takes her sailing, to his home to meet his siblings, and out to a fancy restaurant where he proposes. Ifeoma panics and runs away, but she admits to herself that she has fallen in love with Chuma. Can she trust a man? Ifeoma feels that Chuma is “the one” but can she overcome abuse and leave the past behind to take a chance on love?

In Thorns and Roses, Azie spends the time to develop her characters so that the reader can empathize with their feelings and understand the motivation behind their choices and actions. Her protagonists, Ifeoma and Chuma, are complex. Azie’s descriptions of Nigerian cultural factors, gender roles, and situations are detailed and enthusiastic, allowing the reader to understand both protagonists’ stations in life. Ifeoma is poor, from an abusive background, and has had to struggle for every opportunity. Overcoming many obstacles, Ifeoma exhibits fortitude and strength of character that has allowed her to become an independent woman in a society ruled by men. Chuma Obi, on the other hand, is a chief’s son, has lived a privileged life, and has always been selfish and self-serving. When Chuma meets Ifeoma all this falls away and he wants to know her, spend time with her, and make her happy. Realization strikes and Chuma, for the first time in his life, respects someone and cares for her more than he does for himself. As the story progresses, Azie throws in several plot twists that are unexpected. Usually, love stories are all about the happily ever after, but Azie shows that sometimes the journey through life is a struggle and fate has bigger plans for Chuma and Ifeoma.

I enjoyed this story for a variety of reasons. First of all, strong women characters who rise above abuse are important role models for other women. Secondly, I enjoy a good love story with sexual tension, realistic relationship issues, and feel-good moments. Finally, I enjoyed the glimpse into a totally different culture. Azie’s descriptions of preparations of traditional Nigerian cuisine, family dynamics, educational practices and more were enlightening. There was nothing that I did not like about the writing in this book or the story itself. The dialogue flowed well, the story structure was easy to follow, and the characters had depth. If I had to find anything about the book that I did not like, it would be that fact that some issues presented to the characters were, at times, almost cruel, but life can be cruel and as the title implies, there are no roses without thorns.

Overall, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy romantic fiction set in different cultures. This rating is justified for a well-written story portraying triumph over abuse, strength of character, family love and dedication, and love’s ups and downs.

******
Thorns and Roses
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Re: Official Review: Thorns and Roses by Amaka Azie

Post Number:#2 by kandscreeley
» 12 May 2017, 14:16

Wow! It sounds like a great book. I love learning about love in different cultures and the issues that they face with it. I also love that the characters are developed well! Thanks for a fabulous review.
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Re: Official Review: Thorns and Roses by Amaka Azie

Post Number:#3 by Jaime Lync
» 12 May 2017, 16:24

I enjoyed your review. It sounds like there really is nothing to complain about this book.
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Re: Official Review: Thorns and Roses by Amaka Azie

Post Number:#4 by Jennifer Allsbrook
» 12 May 2017, 16:57

kandscreeley wrote:Wow! It sounds like a great book. I love learning about love in different cultures and the issues that they face with it. I also love that the characters are developed well! Thanks for a fabulous review.


It was an interesting story and I didn't give away the most shocking plot twists. Thank you for your kind remarks!

-- 12 May 2017, 16:58 --

Jaime Lync wrote:I enjoyed your review. It sounds like there really is nothing to complain about this book.


The story was well written and the cultural insights were cool. Thank you for your kinds remarks.
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Re: Official Review: Thorns and Roses by Amaka Azie

Post Number:#5 by CatInTheHat
» 12 May 2017, 18:03

It is good to hear that author really works hard to make sure that the reader understands the cultural background and how that influences the characters. Another one to add to my growing list!
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Re: Official Review: Thorns and Roses by Amaka Azie

Post Number:#6 by Amagine
» 12 May 2017, 20:01

I love the strength of the women in the story as well. I also like how this book addresses gender roles. I think the best part of the book is that it gives a realistic love story. It isn't some beautiful fantasy. Love can be painful and complicated. I love the tone of realism.

Great Review! 💜
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Re: Official Review: Thorns and Roses by Amaka Azie

Post Number:#7 by Jennifer Allsbrook
» 12 May 2017, 22:27

Amagine wrote:I love the strength of the women in the story as well. I also like how this book addresses gender roles. I think the best part of the book is that it gives a realistic love story. It isn't some beautiful fantasy. Love can be painful and complicated. I love the tone of realism.

Great Review! 💜

I agree about the tone of realism. Sometimes the story gets so real its hard to read because you feel for what the characters are enduring. I really enjoyed this story. At first I was skeptical because of the cultural aspect but I loved it once I got into it and Ifeoma is such a strong woman!!

-- 12 May 2017, 22:29 --

CatInTheHat wrote:It is good to hear that author really works hard to make sure that the reader understands the cultural background and how that influences the characters. Another one to add to my growing list!

Azie does a great job. I love the descriptions of cultural food preparation.
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Re: Official Review: Thorns and Roses by Amaka Azie

Post Number:#8 by Dunmileo fadipe
» 13 May 2017, 11:08

Wow I love this book already. It's set in the eastern part of Nigeria, the Igbo tribe of Nigeria. I'm Nigerian from the Yoruba tribe. The story is realistic, so true to life, men are dominated in this society and only the well educated women can easily break free from the grip of this men. I like the part that ifeoma found love and could trust a man at last. I'm definitely reading this book

-- 13 May 2017, 11:11 --

Thank you for the review, grabbing this book next
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Re: Official Review: Thorns and Roses by Amaka Azie

Post Number:#9 by Jennifer Allsbrook
» 13 May 2017, 11:31

Awesome to know that the book is true to the culture! You will love it.
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Re: Official Review: Thorns and Roses by Amaka Azie

Post Number:#10 by Chitopogi
» 15 May 2017, 10:15

Thorns and Roses by Amaka Azie is a story with an African setting where the customs and traditions are poles apart from American and European traditions and customs. Where a father's word is law and arranged marriages are the norm. However, love still finds its way and the strong woman prevails. I love to read it! Congrats Azie!
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Re: Official Review: Thorns and Roses by Amaka Azie

Post Number:#11 by Jennifer Allsbrook
» 15 May 2017, 12:35

Chitopogi wrote:Thorns and Roses by Amaka Azie is a story with an African setting where the customs and traditions are poles apart from American and European traditions and customs. Where a father's word is law and arranged marriages are the norm. However, love still finds its way and the strong woman prevails. I love to read it! Congrats Azie!


I find that the customs and traditions are one of the things I loved the most about the book.
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Re: Official Review: Thorns and Roses by Amaka Azie

Post Number:#12 by ivomomchilov
» 15 May 2017, 14:18

Nice book
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Re: Official Review: Thorns and Roses by Amaka Azie

Post Number:#13 by Milycent Agufa
» 16 May 2017, 02:43

It touches on different cultures and also portrays strength of a woman .indeed an interesting book
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Re: Official Review: Thorns and Roses by Amaka Azie

Post Number:#14 by Huneis
» 16 May 2017, 05:22

This book is an inspiration and also a voice to most of the victimized girls in the 3rd world
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Re: Official Review: Thorns and Roses by Amaka Azie

Post Number:#15 by Jennifer Allsbrook
» 16 May 2017, 14:13

Milycent Agufa wrote:It touches on different cultures and also portrays strength of a woman .indeed an interesting book

I agree wholeheartedly. Ifeoma strength of character was one of the most important aspects of the story!!

-- 16 May 2017, 14:14 --

Huneis wrote:This book is an inspiration and also a voice to most of the victimized girls in the 3rd world

I found the story inspirational and I agree to its importance at bringing attention to the plight of these women.
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