Author submission in exchange for an honest review.
A Love Rekindled
When Efe Sagay receives a transfer to the branch of a prestigious hotel chain in the Nigerian capital, she accepts it, happy to return home to family after years in the United States. Also, Nigeria is a big place, right? There should be nothing about her new city, Abuja, to remind her of the heartbreak of her relationship with ex-fiancé, Kevwe Mukoro.
However, Efe is facing Kevwe across an office seven months later, swamped by emotions she’d thought were dead. When Kevwe claims he’s never stopped loving her, and asks why she abandoned him, Efe stomps off, incensed! Wasn’t it the other way around?
But they are unable to stay away from each other, and buried desire flares. Ultimately, passion is no match for the bitter memories of broken promises. Efe and Kevwe have to resolve the traumatic events of the past before love can be rekindled.
I can’t say that I’m a fan of A Love Rekindled. I’m all for stories about reuniting with lost loves, which this is, but there’s a big difference between a book where the characters are apart and grow and change during that separation, and a book where both characters are still so mired in the past that they are essentially the same people they were pre-separation. Unfortunately, A Love Rekindled is the latter.
Efe and Kevwe met at University and ended up dating for three years, at the end of which, they became engaged. For reasons that don’t really come out until the last third of the story, the two of them ended up apart, and each thought the other was responsible for the separation. After seven years apart and myriad experiences that should have caused maturity and personal growth, the two are thrown back together completely unintentionally. What follows is a lot of waffling, anger, tears, and frustration as the each character decides if forgiveness is possible.
The story spans the breadth of Efe and Kevwe’s relationship, and is actually told from the perspective of two different time periods: the years leading up to the separation, and the present. While this is a clever way to introduce the backstory, it was a little confusing at times too. Given the way the story is told, the reader is able to see each protagonist from the beginning, which I assume was meant to give us a chance to see how each character changed. That part kind of backfired. The Efe in the pre-split days was overly naïve, uncertain, and cried a lot. The Efe in the present was still naïve, uncertain, and a watering pot. She seemed to take the break up as a signal to freeze her life in the past and not attempt to move forward. She went through the motions of moving forward – graduating, getting a job, etc. – but she never was able to let go of Kevwe’s memory. Now, I realize that someone is going to think that such a strong connection and then a break up is obviously devastating and it’s hard to move on. I agree. But I also think that there’s a difference between grieving and moving forward. Efe is still wallowing in her grief and uses it almost as a shield to keep from moving forward. Kevwe is a bit different. Though he clearly is still smarting over their split, he has moved forward with his life and changed. It’s a little bit like Peter Pan and Wendy – Peter (Efe) never wants to grow up and Wendy (Kevwe) knows that growing up and moving on is inevitable.
I tried really hard to get into this story, and I just couldn’t. The format was confusing, the characters fell flat, and it was very slow-paced. I like the premise behind the story, but I don’t think the idea was brought to fruition as well as it could have been.