Book Review

Review: Yinka, Where is Your Huzband by Lizzie Damilola Blackburn

There are so many times that I have been desperately seeking a good rom-com style book and have been disappointed. There’s often too much dependence on the man, or the friend-group are side-lined, or the main character is just a nightmare. But this book delivered. There was romance, but not in the ways that you’d expect, there was resolution and bond-building, and issues of mental health and family pressure – all of which was delivered by a very relatable and sympathetic main character.

Title: Yinka, Where is Your Huzband?
Author: Lizzie Damilola Blackburn
Pages: 384
Publisher: Viking
Publication Date: 31st March 2022
Ownership: eARC provided by the publisher

Rating: 4.5 stars

Review

There are quite a few cringe-y moments here – Yinka’s mother and Aunties praying for her to get a man as one example – but a lot of this is formed from Yinka’s need to please others, to make her Mum happy and the respect that she’s taught to show for her family, even when they don’t always deserve it.

Other reviewers have pointed out that there were lots of other interesting topics that could have been covered by this book, rather than Bridget Jones-ing it. But I didn’t read it that way (and I’ve read some books that are a direct lift from Bridget). I also don’t want to say that Yinka is like Queenie, because they are two very different characters.

Instead, we have a woman whose sense of self and the success she shows to others is firmly rooted in her academic ability and her career. It doesn’t matter that she hasn’t had a long term relationship in years, because she has her job, she has her promotions. Maybe her cousins and sister are off getting married and having babies, but Yinka won’t be far behind, because she has her career first.

But when she’s suddenly made redundant, she tries to turn her organising and project managing skills on herself. Some of that is trying to make herself more attractive to a man she could like – getting a weave when she never has before, learning Yoruba and cooking Nigerian food, dressing differently – things we have perhaps all been guilty of when trying to catch someone’s interest.

The thing is, it isn’t Yinka. And it’s not just that Yinka is a good Christian girl, but her friends notice her changing – she snaps more easily, has less time for them, starts lying and deceiving them, and herself. And it’s actually really nice to see her worlds (her best friend and her (white) work friends) crossing over to support her, even if the way that they do it feels a little clumsy, and her own development and resolution comes very quickly at the end.

And when things don’t work out with one love interest, we know Yinka has really gone off the rails when she starts ricocheting towards any man who might be interested in her. Perhaps this is more standard behaviour for a rom com – but for a woman who is saving herself for marriage, it’s a big deal.

So for me, this had a lot of the things that I look for in a good rom com – personal struggles, romance that can be fixed better when someone is willing to fix themselves, forging new family relationships, and a supporting cast that do more than just cheer and antagonise the protagonist.

I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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