Young conservative Tobi will soon be attending university, yet she's never been in love. That is, until she meets Richard, a dashing carefree man with a tumultuous past who is about to turn her world upside down. Their love story is Hollywood worthy until Richard leaves for London in the hopes of bettering his situation. Promises are exchanged but despite Tobi's efforts, it soon becomes clear that Richie boy is not coming back home. Time is running out for our heroin; she needs to find a husband before she graduates. With the help of her best friend Maggie, she soon finds herself in another man's arms. Little does she know that her real troubles are only about to start.
A Bouquet of Dilemma by Tayo Emmanuel would be very similar to many romance novels were it not for its amazing setting: early 90s Nigeria. Through Tobi's story, the reader gets to experience a culture of which very little is known, especially to North Americans. It also it contributes to show that despite the many differences found in the political, financial and cultural context, young women have similar aspirations. I learned many things about Nigeria in this novel, and it has made me want to learn more.
The writing style is very light and reflects well the main character's personality through her evolution. Speaking of characters, Emmanuel has managed to create a wide range of them, each and every single one of them having its own personality. I found all of them very credible and could not help but like them despite their flaws. They were very human. As for setting, the author skillfully uses concise description to bring this faraway land to life in the mind of the reader. It truly made me want to visit Nigeria.
A Bouquet of Dilemma is a light reading, one in which the reader can easily identify with the characters and intensely feel their emotions. If you enjoy romance novels, I would strongly recommend it. Even if it's only to find one that is set at a time when people didn't have cellphones... and in Tobi's case, not even a landline!