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Hope and circumstance define a young woman’s life in this heartbreaking tale of lost innocence, set in politically volatile 1990s Nigeria.

“Ishola-Ayodeji is deft, shrewd, sometimes witty, and always observant about the social, economic, and political obstacles to Nigerians wishing only to live honorably and decently. A poignant, revealing, and rueful tale of how much the political can affect the personal.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


For as long as she can remember, Patience Adewale, the eldest daughter of Chief Kolade Adewale, has been waiting for confirmation that there is a place where she truly belongs. In her family’s mansion in Ibadan, Patience lives a sheltered life, seeking solace from uncertainty, and finding none, in her distant father and stepmother, Modupe. More than anything, Patience wonders why her father and uncle banished her mother from their compound years ago—and whether her mother is even alive.

Determined to discover the truth, Patience embarks on a desperate search for her mother. Answers begin to surface when she unexpectedly reconnects with her cousin Kash and meets his friend Emeka, petty thieves with an opportunity to make a big score. But unforeseen events lead to unexpected consequences—demanding a price from Patience that may be too steep to pay.


Suspenseful and evoking the subtleties of Nigerian life, Patience Is a Subtle Thief is the heart-wrenching story of one young woman’s precarious journey to adulthood, and the risks and sacrifices it takes to follow her heart.

Ishola-Ayodeji, A. | Patience is a Subtle Thief

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