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To the dismay of her ambitious mother, Bolanle marries into a polygamous family, where she is the fourth wife of a rich, rotund patriarch, Baba Segi. She is a graduate and therefore a great prize, but even graduates must produce children and her husband's persistent bellyache is a sign that things are not as they should be.
She only wants to escape to a quiet life, but the others disapprove of the newest, youngest, cleverest addition to the family. Treated with respect by her husband, she is viewed with suspicion by her seniors - who fear she may unlock their well-guarded secret.
Through the voices of Baba Segi and his four wives, Lola Shoneyin weaves a vibrant story of love, secrets and a family like every other - happy and unhappy, truthful and not, sometimes kind, sometimes competitive, always bound by blood, and the past.