Set in Danhome Kingdom, now Benin Republic, Thread of Gold Beads is the coming of age story of Princess Amelia. Growing up in a royal household, Amelia is portrayed as a precocious and adventurous teenager, one who doesn’t fit into the stereotyped role expected from someone of her sex and social status. While popular in some quarters, she is also the object of much envy and hatred from others. And being the only child of the King’s favorite wife didn’t help matters either.
Things come to a head when Amelia and her husband separate just a few months after their wedding. She flees to Abeokuta with her backstabbing brother. After being deceived and wrongfully treated along the way, she eventually finds succor in the home of her Aunt.
Campbell-Fatoki succeeds in piecing together a beautiful story in this book. She masterfully weaves a bit of history, folktales, voodoo, and magic together without necessarily being over-dramatic. If you’ve ever thought African men are unromantic then you haven’t met the right one. Fatoki disproves this with one of her characters, Dossou.
At the end of every year, I look back at all the books I read, and try to pick out the one I found most interesting. For 2013, Thread of Gold Beads was it. Action, intrigue, suspense, betrayal, romance, and pain – this book has it all.