3 out of 4 stars
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Through It All by Joanne Muoh is a romance novel set in high society Nigeria. It is a beautifully written piece of work that paints a vivid picture of what the lives of the well to do of society of that part of the world is like.
The main protagonist is Cassandra Peters, an American citizen, who travels to Nigeria for the heartbreaking occasion of burying her late father. She is now a grown, accomplished woman with a thriving medical practice in Florida. Although her parents marriage ended in a terrible divorce when she was younger and her mother got full custody, she was still close with her father and made an effort to talk to him on phone every single day. The very memory of him burdens her heart with grief but she makes a great effort to maintain the facade of strength to her extended family. Little does Cassandra know that it is on her stay in Nigeria during this period that she will meet and fall in love with the man of her dreams.
While reading this novel, I was immediately drawn to the characters and I was impressed by how light-hearted and romantic moments are weaved into the giant banner of grief. Family ties are bound even tighter by such moments and this wasn't left out in this story. As with most family gatherings, there is always that dramatic moment that makes for a good barbecue story and that wasn't left out either.
It was interesting to see Cassandra meet relatives that she hadn't seen in ages and others that she had never met prior to this fateful occasion. Her mother chose to stay in America and not attend her ex-husband's funeral. From the in-laws' reaction on seeing Cassandra by herself, it was clear that her mother was not liked in this circle. It was very prudent of the author to keep her away. I can't imagine what would have ensued if she had dared show her face.
The themes of family ties, friendship, love and grief are well tackled. The family ties are not always on the bright side and even those family members who refrained from helping their own kin when they faced hardship are put on the spotlight. The story is well paced and there is just enough back story to support the current events without leaving the reader feeling like there are gaps.
It was impressive to see how well the author did her research and rightfully used medical jargon in situations where it was necessary. This aspect broadened the feel of the book. However, the author also uses Yoruba and Spanish languages in a few instances during dialogue. Readers who are not familiar with these dialects might have a hard time comprehending the message because no index is provided at the end of the book.
Due to the the multiple typos and grammatical errors I encountered, I will subtract one star and give this book a rating of 3 out of 4 stars. I was quite pleased that although it is a romance book, there were no explicit sex scenes but the passion that the two lovebirds felt for each other radiated through the pages. It is a book I would recommended to anyone who needs to bond better with their family and anyone on a journey of finding love.
Through It All
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