The Nigerwife: A Novel
GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK
“The perfect beach read…catapults you into a world that most of us have never seen before—and will have you glued to every page.” —HuffPost
“White Lotus meets Big Little Lies” (Good Morning America) in this riveting domestic drama about a young woman who goes missing in Lagos, Nigeria, and her estranged auntie who will stop at nothing to find her.
Nicole Oruwari has the perfect life: a handsome husband, a palatial house in the heart of glittering Lagos, and a glamorous group of friends. She left gloomy London and a troubled family past behind for sunny, moneyed Lagos, becoming part of the Nigerwives—a community of foreign women married to Nigerian men.
But when Nicole disappears without a trace after a boat trip, the cracks in her so-called perfect life start to show. As the investigation turns up nothing but dead ends, her auntie Claudine decides to take matters into her own hands. Armed with only a cell phone and a plane ticket to Nigeria, she digs into her niece’s life and uncovers a hidden side filled with dark secrets, isolation, and even violence. But the more she discovers about Nicole, the more Claudine’s own buried history threatens to come to light.
An inventively told and keenly observant debut novel, The Nigerwife offers a razor-sharp look at the bonds of family, the echoing consequences of secrets, and whether we can ever truly outrun our past.
Praise for The Nigerwife: A Novel
“A thrillingly suspenseful novel that reveals its riches, layers and secrets through effortlessly elegant prose, while exposing the imprisoning dynamics inside transactional relationships of patriarchal power. I was hooked right through to the shocking end.” —Bernardine Evaristo, Booker Prize-winning author of Girl, Woman, Other
“The search for a missing woman, set against the backdrop of glamour and wealth, is utterly captivating. Lush, poignant and gripping with a killer ending to boot, The Nigerwife shows that sometimes the perfect life and the perfect marriage aren't exactly what they seem. Vanessa Walters is one to watch!” —Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of Local Woman Missing
“Dark secrets seethe beneath the glamorous lives of Nigeria’s uber rich. A propulsive and complex tale of passion and betrayal. Electrifying!” —Liv Constantine, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Mrs. Parrish
"The Nigerwife is a dazzling exploration of deceptions--both intimate and internet--that keep the everyday afloat, and the pages turning, despite the weight of our deepest secrets, regrets, and devotions. I raced through this sumptuous, suspenseful, and smartly-layered book, and gasped at its fearless, soul-baring end."—Nancy Jooyoun Kim, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Story of Mina Lee
“As wise as it is gripping, The Nigerwife captures the glory of post-colonial literature in a masterfully paced thriller. Vanessa Walters’ debut marks a major addition to the canon.” —Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, author of Reese’s Book Club Pick On the Rooftop
“The Nigerwife is a hypnotically lush and atmospheric novel about the lengths we go to for the ones we love most and all the ways we weave past traumas into strength for the future. A stellar debut!” —Wanda M. Morris, award-winning author of All Her Little Secrets and Anywhere You Run
“A murder-mystery set in Nigerian high society, The Nigerwife is an exceptional debut. Vanessa Walters has fashioned a fresh, edge-of-your-seat thriller that’s pacy and unique. Her characters are so real I felt complicit in their glamorous, stifling world, while cheering Claudine on as she searches for her missing niece. An absolute treat—it took all my expectations and threw them to the wind. I’m still in shock from those final chapters.” —Janice Hallett, international bestselling author of The Appeal
“A brilliantly original novel about family, motherhood, identity and diaspora, with a crime thriller twist.” —Afua Hirsch, author of Brit(ish)
“Evokes skillfully the atmosphere of a wealthy life by the Lagos Lagoon . . . A shimmering success.” —Diana Evans, author of Ordinary People
“The Nigerwife solidifies Vanessa Walters as a literary force. Walters boldly and incisively examines race, class, and culture amongst a group of complicated women in a manner that will continue to resonate with me for years to come!” —Catherine Adel West, author of The Two Lives of Sara
“The Nigerwife explores the ways a set of ex-pat women in Nigeria exchange autonomy for comfort. But it's a raw, and potentially fatal deal. A murderously good read!” —Sarah Langan, acclaimed author of Good Neighbors
“A superb thriller with a devastating conclusion.” —Alex Wheatle, Guardian Prize–winning author of Cane Warriors
"A surprising ending and well-done dialogue make this a perfectly good way to spend a night or two." —Kirkus
"A remarkable book." —New York Journal of Books
“The Nigerwife is a gripping work of suspense, a psychological puzzle, a mystery, and a critique of marriage and high society … In this riveting novel about a young woman's disappearance, Lagos high society hides personal struggles and larger cultural concerns.” —Shelf Awareness
"The snap-crackle-pop dialogue is a treat."—NPR, 5 New Mysteries for the Start of Summer
“Cleverly keeps us guessing...is well worth reading, entrancing in its complex plotting and immersion in the Nigerian culture.”—Mystery & Suspense Magazine
Paste Magazine, Must Read Thriller Books of Summer 2023