The Association Of Foreign Spouses


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Three are married and two are raising children. The women view themselves as living in an alien society. To some extent, and based on the difference in their lifestyles, they are outcasts and so they form a bond of friendship. The Ghana provides a vivid, if sometimes chaotic setting for this second novel by Marilyn Heward Mills.

Association of Foreign Spouses

They support and cheer each other on during difficult times and are more family than friends. Among their challenges are episodes of infidelity and spousal abuse. All this, while coping with the dangers that come with social upheaval. Eva, Dahlia, Margrit and Yelena are diverse in character and strong in their individual ways. I felt there was some stereotyping. Vincent, another character, has no redeeming qualities. He is abusive, cruel and dishonest, someone you love to hate.

His wife, Dahlia, is a perfect doormat and though she thinks he has turned into a monster, there is nothing from her perspective to indicate that he was ever a better person. Within the story, the rich are stereotyped as plunderers and in some instances, are dragged away and shot after accusations of profiteering and treason by the authorities.

I came away from the story with the idea that Ghanaian society is in tatters as a result of corruption, the divide between rich and poor insurmountable. The men are drawn as dishonest and irresponsible, and the women accommodating. In some respects, this novel reminds me of the White Woman on the Green Bicycle, in that the main character is an expatriate who is fed up with her adopted home.

Like that character, Eva is aware of the plight of the locals through her employees and the unavoidable scenes that greet her on the street. However, she is detached from the suffering around her. The high fence and secure gate reinforces that separation from reality.

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The social unrest is also present in the White Woman on the Green Bicycle, so too is the reality that the poor live a far different life from expatriate who has relocated to a foreign land. I laughed and cried over the situations that blindsided the group of friends, but at times, I was unable to suspend my disbelief. The pacing of the story is good, the prose fluid and the ending satisfactory. The Association of Foreign Spouses is well written and worth the time it took me to read.

See full review at http: Feb 17, Lianne rated it did not like it. I found this book quite dull, and hard to finish. And I get annoyed when there are continuity errors in books - where are the proof readers?

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Association of Foreign Spouses has 49 ratings and 14 reviews. J.L. said: Ghana provides a vivid, if sometimes chaotic setting for this second novel by Ma. Ghana provides a vivid, if sometimes chaotic setting for this second novel by Marilyn Heward Mills. The main characters are four women who.

In fact this was Eva's anniversary party and the mother in law had later on organised a surprise baptism for Joseph, which Eva and Dahlia both knew nothing about. Small error I know, but things like this really bug me! Apr 26, Leabiloe rated it really liked it. After having recently read Ghana Must Go, The Association of Foreign Spouses, a book based in Ghana, transported me right back to this country which holds a special place in my heart.

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Reading it was like reliving my years there, without the themes of domestic abuse and isolation, but with memories about the awkwardness of being a foreigner. Marilyn Mills has crafted a story about the lives of four friends: The characters in the book could have been any of the women I met during my time in Ghana - from varying walks of life, with varying nationalities, and of different socio-economic backgrounds.

There is Eve, an English woman married to Alfred and raising her three children, whilst managing a comfortable, if not close, relationship with her mother-in-law. Dahlia, a Jamaican-born English, who quit her law studies, married for love and moved to Ghana, only to spent most her married life as a battered woman.

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Yelena, who is Russian, is a single mother of twin boys, running a hair salon in Ghana, and determined to have her boys acknowledged by their father and his family - despite him already being married to someone else. Margrit, German, is the only one of the four who has a more stable marriage, but who like the other three wears her foreignness like armour. I enjoyed Mills's book - her descriptions of Ghana and it's oppressive heat; its dry harmattan season; its tropical rains; the smells; cacophony of sounds; the friendly people and their idiosyncrasies.

However I felt that all four of her characters deliberately isolated themselves in their foreignness. Despite the years all of them had spent in Ghana, they all appear to present themselves as foreign in a foreign country, and not as women married to Ghanaians, raising Ghanaian children and immersed in the culture.

There is a sense of them whingeing about how things don't work in Ghana, or the ineptness, or indifference of Ghanaians to effect change in their country. This was probably what made the book real for me, for I have encountered the same type of people - the disillusioned expats - quick to point out how well things work in their country of origin, expecting the country to change around them, and them not change in order to acclimatise. Mills balances the historical drama of Ghana in the s; the political instability; the disappointment of the older generation in post-colonial Ghana - expressed through Eve's mother-in-law who had lived lived through British rule, and a despondency in the post-independence generation to the continually changing regimes.

It gives some insight into what Ghana must have been like in those early years of its independence.

More books by Marilyn Heward Mills

Eva, Dahlia, Margrit and Yelena are diverse in character and strong in their individual ways. Membership is mostly female but there are male members too. Whether we like it or not, when we get together over a bottle of wine and some chin chin, we complain bitterly about the 'African' and their ways. Vincent, another character, has no redeeming qualities. According to the jacket blurb, the plot is about these women's lives being thrown into chaos b I really wanted to like this book because I felt I'd empathise with the "foreign spouses" - OK so I wasn't married to a local, but I did live in Africa. But somehow it took longer for the book to be written, and published, and it rather left my horizon, until I got a email mentioning its publication.

I am curious about Mills's first book, Cloth Girl, which garnered better reviews. Mar 19, Dorothy rated it it was ok. I really wanted to like this book because I felt I'd empathise with the "foreign spouses" - OK so I wasn't married to a local, but I did live in Africa. I enjoyed the early pages, where the descriptions struck a chord. It's obvious she knows the country well and throughout the book, she does a good job of describing the place, the culture, the politics etc.

But the story takes far too long to get going. According to the jacket blurb, the plot is about these women's lives being thrown into chaos b I really wanted to like this book because I felt I'd empathise with the "foreign spouses" - OK so I wasn't married to a local, but I did live in Africa.

According to the jacket blurb, the plot is about these women's lives being thrown into chaos by a coup - but the coup doesn't happen until page The preceding pages simply introduce us to the women and give us their backstories in tedious detail. Even after the coup happens, it's all fairly slow-moving, and by that time I simply couldn't care enough about these women to worry much about what happened to them. Another thing which I found slightly annoying but only slightly was the unusual language.

I don't know if it's the author's background or if she was deliberately trying to be original, but I was often pulled up short by an unusual use of words, because I had to work out what she meant "she leaned over the balcony and puffed out".

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It wouldn't have worried me if she'd been telling the story from the point of view of a Ghanaian - every country uses English a bit differently - but these women were English, German and Russian. Jan 12, Maggs rated it really liked it. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I totally agree with one of the reviews that if you are an expat who lives somewhere in West Africa, then you will find it familiar, intriguing and enjoyable.

I live in Lagos, Nigeria and I found this book totally fascinating as there is also an association of foriegn women Nigerwives.

Book Review: The Association of Foreign Spouses

And all the things the authors writes about happens also in Nigeria. The whole point of foreign wives getting together is that there are cases of domestic violence etc and as we do not have families here, well, I totally agree with one of the reviews that if you are an expat who lives somewhere in West Africa, then you will find it familiar, intriguing and enjoyable. The whole point of foreign wives getting together is that there are cases of domestic violence etc and as we do not have families here, well, we have to rely and depend on each other.

As for the book being full of stereotypes, I disagree. Whether we like it or not, when we get together over a bottle of wine and some chin chin, we complain bitterly about the 'African' and their ways. SPOILER The book ends with the women still remaining in Ghana inspite of their unhappiness which to me is bit of a cop out as the real truth is if we were to go back, most of us would have to queue up for a council flat and on top of that, there would be no domestic to serve us our daily Earl Grey Tea!!

The main characters are four women who are transplanted from Europe. Three are married and two are raising children. The women view themselves as living in an alien society and to some extent, and based on their different lifestyles they are outcasts and so form a bond of friendship. They support and cheer each other on during difficult times and are more like family than friends.

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Among their challenges are episodes of infidelity and spousal abuse; all this, while coping with the dangers that come with social upheaval. I laughed and cried over the situations that blindsided them, but at time was not able to suspend my disbelief. Eva has a seemingly perfect marriage, children and an interfering mother-in-law who descends unannounced and takes charge of her home. However, I believe it is the way that Eva views the locals that makes me somewhat unsympathetic to her.

Throughout the novel, Ghanaians are portrayed as dishonest and I got impatient with Eva when problems developed between herself and her husband. Her parents had instilled the need for honesty into her. No one she had known growing up thought it was right to steal things big or small, to tell lies, black or white, but living here, amongst these people, including her lying, cheating husband, who so easily massaged facts and reality into various shapes that suited them, had rubbed away her trustfulness.

The diatribe against Ghanaian people goes on for another eleven lines before Eva confronts her husband.

Foreign spouses can enjoy 'My Second Home'

Vincent, another character, has no redeeming qualities. He is abusive, cruel and dishonest -someone you love to hate. His wife is a perfect doormat and though she thinks he has turned into a monster, there is nothing from her perspective to indicate that he was ever a better person. The author describes life in Ghana so well that I feel I have lived through the dry season, walked through the streets and seen the empty shelves in stores: The government is ousted and the country taken over several times, hapless citizens have run-ins with soldiers hopped up on power.

The reader gets a good sense of what a military takeover is like and the scare tactics that are used to keep the common people in line. The rich are stereotyped as plunderers and in some instances, are dragged away and shot after accusations of profiteering and treason. I came away from the story with the idea that Ghanaian society is in tatters as a result of corruption, the divide between rich and poor insurmountable.