I think most readers of Historical Romances get tired with the Regency period once in a while and start looking out for something a bit different – and His Treasure is about as different as it gets, being set in a time and a place that many Europeans and Americans would still deny to have a history at all, i.e. pro-colonial Nigeria.
I was immediately fascinated by the setting and curious if the author would be able to pull it off, so of course I had to insta-buy the ebook (something I am doing way too often – there really should be a way to slow down the buying process for people who have difficulties with impulse control. But I digress.)
On reading the novella, I did enjoy the setting, and liked the way the two protagonists are integrated into the village life – the reader gets a really good sense of the community and the way it works and it is all done not by telling but by showing the way people interact with each other. Both Adaku and Obinna are sympathetic characters and the conflict is for the most part believable (if occasionally a bit awkwardly developed) with both of them having to overcome their character flaws (pride and passivity respectively – note that it is the woman who is prideful and the man who is passive, which I thought was a nice touch) before reaching their happy end.
Where His Treasure unfortunately falls short is in the execution – if you present your readers with a setting that will be unfamiliar to most of them, you really should make an effort to paint them a vivid picture of it, and that is unfortunately lacking here. The brief erotic scenes show that Kiru Taye can write if she puts her mind to it, a pity she did not turn her talent to giving the reader some descriptions of the world her characters live in; all the more so as the African setting just screams for lush and sensuous description. I realise that this is just a novella and not a full-blown novel, but even a little would have gone a long way. Also, she does have a tendency to have her characters do a lot of introspection which I’m not too sure about – I admit that I might just be a bit over-sensitive, but I think that all the continued soul-searching comes across as rather a bit too modern (there’s even one passage where Obinna mentions his “ego” getting in the way – not a concept I’d expect to pop in the mind of someone living in pre-colonial Nigeria).
Still, as this is Kiru Taye’s first published work, there is hope that she will improve, and she certainly has a lot of potential. Her next novella in the series, His Strength, is scheduled for release in February, and I’m determined to give that one a try.