I was really excited about the release of His Treasure, the first book in Kiru Taye’s historical romance series “Men of Valour, so much that I squeed. Sadly, I did not get to read and enjoy His Treasure because my life was in chaos around the time the book was released in December 2011. As calm returned, I stumbled across an excerpt from the second book in the series His Strength and immediately bought the book on Amazon. I started reading His Strength that night and found that I just had to continue reading, all notions of sleep forgotten.
I really enjoyed His Strength, it made me laugh, roll my eyes and shake in anticipation. I was just so caught up in Nneka and Ikem’s story.
His Strength is very fast paced, I loved the way the story started with Ikem calling out to Nneka on her way home from the stream. The space between the stream and the home, in my opinion, must have been a quintessential meeting place for would be lovers in African history. That and festive days, which was also portrayed in His Strength.
The characters were mostly well developed. Nneka is such a fascinating person, I had no difficulties picturing her in my mind. I liked that she was serious about gaining her freedom as a young widow, it was interesting the way her developing attraction and feelings for Ikem clashed with her desire for freedom. I also liked that Nneka initially viewed her (sexual) relationship with Ikem as a temporary thing, which according to so many people women never do. Though I am very much over the alpha male types in romance fiction, Ikem was definitely worthy of Nneka’s love. I like that she became his “strength” due to her strong will and courage, and I like that Ikem was open to her as well.
I am extremely pleased that the number of African historical romance authors is slowly growing. His Strength is vaguely set in pre-colonial Igboland and it was refreshing to read a book set in a culture that I’m familiar with. I did not have to run to Google when I came upon the reference to uli. His Strength is closer to home for me than Naa Shalman’s books set in pre-colonial Ghana. A tiny part of me wonders when/if there’ll be any historical romances set in Yorubaland pre-colonisation. However, this doesn’t really distress me because I can savour anything that deals with African history before European colonisation. I do not mind which corner of the continent they are set in as long as they positively portray Africans as whole human beings rather than employing the usual widespread stereotypes.
As for things I did not like in His Strength, well I am not too sure about the villain, Edozie, Nneka’s brother-in-law. I think it is somewhat a given for villains to be disliked, (sometimes I like villains though, e.g. Loki), but with Edozie I kept on wishing he wasn’t in the book at all. The presence of Edozie as a villain brought some action into the story, however I am still undecided about his character.
Next would be the length! I wished His Strength was longer but made up for that by reading the book twice before writing this post. Rather than gripe about the short length of His Strength I will be looking forward to more from Kiru Taye. I am especially eagerly awaiting her paranormal work in progress.