Ronke, Simi, Boo are three mixed-race friends living in London. They have the gift of two cultures, Nigerian and English, though not all of them choose to see it that way.
Everyday racism has never held them back, but now in their thirties, they question their future. Ronke wants a husband (he must be Nigerian); Boo enjoys (correction: endures) stay-at-home motherhood; while Simi, full of fashion career dreams, rolls her eyes as her boss refers to her urban vibe yet again.
When Isobel, a lethally glamorous friend from their past arrives in town, she is determined to fix their futures for them.
Cracks in their friendship begin to appear, and it is soon obvious Isobel is not sorting but wrecking. When she is driven to a terrible act, the women are forced to reckon with a crime in their past that may just have repeated itself.
Wahala (which means trouble) is the story of three, mixed-race, best friends whose lives are disrupted when glamorous Isobel threatens to tear them apart. Because Isobel has an agenda, only none of the women can see it.
Ronke is definitely my favourite character. You could say she’s a bit of a doormat – all her previous boyfriends have walked all over her and her friends Simi and Boo are convinced that her current partner Kayode will do the same. But Ronke adores him and besides, he’s Nigerian, and Ronke wants a Nigerian husband. She’s a great cook, a good friend and she adores children, especially Boo’s daughter and at times you wonder if she loves her more than Boo does.
I’m sorry but I really didn’t like Boo. She has a French husband Didier, who can’t do enough for her, and a gorgeous (if a tad precocious) daughter Sofia who can swear in French, but Boo is never satisfied. She often wishes she’d never got married and had a child. She feels trapped. Her constant sniping was very annoying.
Simi is married to wealthy Martin, who desperately wants a baby, except she doesn’t. That means a lot of lying, but one day she’ll get caught out. Martin is currently working overseas for nine months and they only get together once a month.
Isobel was Simi’s friend at school. Disgustingly rich and ostentatious, her family was the type that could buy themselves out of anything. Unfortunately, the two girls fell out over something to do with their parents and haven’t seen each other since. Until now that is. And that’s when the trouble starts.
Isobel is a total bitch. As the reader we can see it, but they can’t. I was almost screaming at the page ‘don’t tell her your secrets, don’t trust her!’ She’s manipulating all of you.
This is one of those stories you can’t put down. It’s exciting, frustrating, sad, funny, everything you would expect from a great book. But there’s also racism, jealousy, obsession and even murder, all mixed in with Nigerian culture and fantastic recipes for Nigerian food. And it’s not every day you get a murder mystery combined with a recipe book.
About the Author
Born in Bristol and raised in Lagos, Nikki May is Nigerian-British. At twenty, she dropped out of medical school, moved to London, and began a career in advertising, going on to run a successful agency. Nikki lives in Dorset with her husband and two standard Schnauzers.
Nikki says: “This is a novel about the power of friendship and the stories we inherit. The inspiration for Wahala came from a long (and loud) lunch with very good friends in a Nigerian restaurant. I wanted to read a book that had people like me in it. The first scene was drafted on the train journey home. The characters became flesh and wouldn’t let me go.”