X0 by Sherri Cronin
Lola Zeitman is pregnant, 26, and a geoscientist. She interprets seismic data for an oil company to assist in determining fault lines for offshore drilling. She works in a male-dominated office. Much of the time, she feels isolated and excluded from most of the group. Even the women working at her place of employment tend to shun her. She is more educated, and the women, for the most part, seem to hold this against her. The men treat her pregnancy as a weakness, as a sort of communicable disease that proper people in their positions should know how to avoid. Lola continues to mature in her profession and in life; she has three lovely children with her extremely wonderful husband.
Somadina, who lives in Nigeria, has lived a life whose early years were marked by sadness. Her father, Ikenna, dearly loved her mother, his first wife, which is not always the case with first wives in Nigeria. Somadina was a perceptive child, quick to pick up on people’s moods. She was very intelligent as well. She was lovely and not demanding, seeming to know if the time was not right for play or for questions. When her mother died in childbirth due to the incompetence of a mid-wife, giving birth to a daughter – a daughter that was supposed to be a son, no less – Ikenna became emotionally unavailable to either. He quickly selected two wives to produce sons for him, ignoring his two existing daughters. Somadina vows to grow up to be powerful so that she can always protect her little sister, Nyananyi.
Somehow, Lola in the United States and Somadina in Nigeria begin to form a bond, a bond that grows in strength and in power.
Sherri Cronin has a written a novel that is compelling, intelligently written, and filled with riveting historical and factual information about both countries. Her characters are so compelling, the story so riveting, it stays long after the novel has been finished. The ideas contained within XO are phenomenal and raised a number of “what-ifs” within the reader’s mind. Few authors have the ability to both grab the imagination and compel the intellect the way Cronin manages to do in this novel. This is simply a must read for those who like to be intellectually challenged by their authors. Cronin is amazing.
This is an excellent book that opens a window in the mind for the consideration of unlimited, unexplored vistas. It welcomes everyone, though the narrow-minded may be a bit challenged to understand.
This book was a First Reads win provided by the author in a Goodreads competition.