Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo
I started this book with the assumption that I wasn't going to find it a top read. It is set in Nigeria and one of my favourite books of all times, Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, has this setting and I just thought that such a slender volume couldn't match that favourite.
I was so happy to be proved wrong by this one. It grew on my with every page turn and at times I felt I was actually in the room with the family as events unfolded.
I've read lots of reviews with spoilers and I am glad I didn't see them before I started as this book really played with my own thoughts, prejudices and assumptions. Something would happen and I'd draw a conclusion and then a few pages later some more information was given and my thinking changed by 180 degrees.
By the end my heart was breaking for all of the characters, so much about them couldn't be changed but just talking could have saved so much.
If I have any criticisms with the book it is that at times I found it a little hard to keep track of who was narrating each chapter - although after a few lines I always worked it out. I also wanted to know a little more about the politics in the background. Here they were important only in how they touched the story but the tidbits of information were interesting and I'd have liked a digression, this would have changed the style of book however and it is just perfect as it is.
I thought that I'd found my best Bailey's Book with Do Not Say We Have Nothing but this is running it close, and I can certainly see me convincing more people to read this than the epic Do Not Say. An added plus for this book is that Adebayo has links to Norfolk!
With only one book left to read on the short list I am so pleased to be involved in this project - I've been challenged with all the books and discovered some new favourites.