House Woman

Adorah Nworah

When Ikemefuna is put on a plane from Lagos to Texas, she anticipates her newly arranged All-American life: a handsome husband, a beautiful red-brick mansion in Sugar Land, pizza parlors, and dance classes. 

Desperate to please, she'll happily cater to her family's needs. But Ikemefuna soon discovers what it actually means to live with her in-laws. Demands for a grandson grow urgent as her every move comes under scrutiny. As Ikemefuna finds there’s no way out, her new husband grapples with the influence of his parents against his own increasing affection for her.

As family secrets boil to the surface, Ikemefuna must decide how to scrape herself out of an impossibly sticky situation: a marriage succumbing to generational cycles of pain and silence. In the end, she may be carrying the greatest secret of all. 

An unforgettably delicious thriller, House Woman is about a woman trapped in a dangerous web of conflicting desires, melting in the Texas heat. 

Praise for House Woman

"Adorah Nworah has written a deeply immersive and wrenching study of the life of a young woman in an arranged marriage and the thorny paths she must navigate in her quest for freedom. This debut shines with a brilliance that will run through you clean as an arrow. I’ve yet to read a story so gutting, yet tender and thoughtful in its handling of such an important subject."
Ukamaka Olisakwe, Author of OGADINMA

"To read HOUSE WOMAN is to encounter characters that are alive in their desires. They want what they want and they want it now. Nworah's debut is full of twists and sentences that will stun you. A book rich in surprises. "
Kemi Falodun, writer, journalist and author of SOUNDBENDER: THE MANY LIVES OF BEAUTIFUL NUBIA

"An unflinching, unforgettable slow-burn thriller, House Woman reveals searing truths about women’s bodily autonomy and the hidden Gothic horrors of marriage while refusing to provide any simple answers—and the novel is all the more satisfying for it. Adorah Nworah is a stunning literary talent, and her debut will enthrall you, incense you, and haunt you forever."
Layne Fargo, author of THEY NEVER LEARN

"Deliciously sinister, HOUSE WOMAN engulfs in slow, insidious waves. This novel is compellingly paced and alive with searing detail. Though woven through familiar elements of Nigerian diasporic literature, Nworah's prose quickly, provocatively subverts expectations. With characters who are flawed as flesh and a plot that twists and snatches from one terrifying brink to another, House Woman is fresh and thoroughly enjoyable. I'm just jealous that I didn't write it!"
Francesca Ekwuyasi, Author of BUTTER HONEY PIG BREAD

"House Woman unfurls bloody truths about the lives of girls and women in language that writhes and burns on the page. A jaw-dropping debut of intimate horror perfect for fans of Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Daisy Johnson."
Amy Gentry, author of Bad Habits and Good As Gone

"To see Nworah’s literary gifts culminate in a work informed by a powerful intelligence and spoken with wit and authenticity is, in itself, a delight."
Robin Davidson, author of Mrs. Schmetterling (Poems) and Houston Poet Laureate (2015-2017)

"Enraging, heartbreaking and necessary. It is a story about the embodied vulnerability of the immigrant African and the devastating precarious reality many young girls face. This is a powerful book."
Tola Rotimi Abraham, author of Black Sunday

"The novel teems with menace... It is even more so, though, a novel that interrogates the American dream and the idea that leaving home truly allows one greater opportunity to thrive. It’s about how the sins of the past cannot be outrun and how everyone has a breaking point. A modern successor to Gaslight: disorienting and disturbing."
Kirkus Review,

"The sense of disquiet begins [and] grows more unsettling with each new revelation and each well-chosen detail about the sights and scents and sounds of Ikemefuna’s new ‘home.’… Despite her initial idealism, Ikemefuna comes to realize that no one, not even the people of fabled America, cares about a Black woman’s suffering until other people start to suffer too. House Woman is a chilling domestic thriller about a woman’s life-or-death fight for bodily autonomy."
Foreword Reviews, Starred review

"House Woman is a heartbreaking, unforgettable story about one woman's tenacity to survive violence and oppression. Adorah Nworah has created a complex cast of characters, with a fierce heroine you root for from the very first page. I recommend this book to fans of slow-burn thrillers and strong female leads. You will be on the edge of your seat until the very last page."
Christina Rosso, owner of A Novel Idea on Passyunk and author of Creole Conjure