Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo (Canongate, £8.99)

Nigerian-born Ayobami Adebayo has written a moving and assured debut novel. Yejide has a successful hair salon and a partner (Akin) who she loves. Only a child would make their life more complete, but the struggle to conceive increases the pressure on their relationship, no more so than when Yejide’s mother-in-law introduces a second wife into the marriage, the latter’s insidious presence adding an almost horror-like touch to the proceedings as she gradually inveigles her way into their house and lives. Yejide and Akin take matters into their own hands, with dramatic consequences.

This is an intimate novel about motherhood, loss, and belonging, beautifully written from a dual perspective. It is a sensitive portrayal of a woman pushed at various times into the realms of delusion, grief and emotional isolation, but ultimately resilient, all set against an ominous backdrop of political turbulence in 1980s Nigeria.

While there are powerful issues at its heart, there are also moments of great lightness and humour throughout, and Adebayo has a very adept touch as a writer when it comes to plot and structure. There are moments of great revelation for the reader, and it is never less than a gripping read. As my other half will testify, I emitted quite a few 'Oh My Gods' along the way as each new twist became apparent. Described by no less than Margaret Atwood as 'Scorching, gripping, ultimately lovely', I heartily recommend this wonderful novel, which really should have won a prize or two, and look forward to reading further books by the talented Ayobami Adebayo.

Review by Tim Curtis, Little Apple bookshop