One word: Riveting. Sometimes unsettling. That’s how I can best describe Nothing Comes Close – Tolulope Popoola’s sequel to her award winning series, now published into a novel –In my Dreams it was simpler.
Nothing Comes Close is the love story of Lola – the most outspoken and independent friend in a group of five girlfriends. The book touches on topics such as romance, loyalty, grief, and tolerance/acceptance of each other among friends who don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye on certain issues, for example, having relationships with a married man; or say, cheating on a boyfriend with an ex boyfriend. The highlight for me, however, was the story of Wole’s past. Wole is the male protagonist in the novel and is also Lola’s love interest. To make Wole’s story pull the reader’s heartstrings, Ms. Popoola did a very fine job of bringing into play a quite forgotten character in Nigeria’s history – Dimka – the man who led the abortive military coup against the then head of State of Nigeria, General Muritala Mohammed. I see many readers researching this important piece of Nigeria’s history as they read this book and I really appreciate the author’s effort in bringing that to the reader’s attention.
I couldn’t help but notice that the first quarter of the book started out mundane… even demure. And wham! At an innocent looking party, the reader gets to meet Wole, a truly unforgettable character and everything goes up several notches from there. Once Wole got on the scene, I could not put the book down. Seriously, nothing prepared me for the sharp suspense that pervaded the last three quarters of the book with the introduction of Wole – whom you can guess by now is my favorite character, and one who I’ll describe as the good-bad boy…the kind of guy every good girl should avoid but you still can’t stop yourself from falling for because deep down, you know he really has a good heart and wants the best for his girl.
It’s a wonder that Ms. Popoola hasn’t labeled her books as romantic fiction because it does seem that that’s where she’s headed with her ability of creating believable characters that readers will find themselves rooting for when it comes to that sometimes complicated life challenge of initiating and building love-relationships.