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#LiterallyWhatsHot: Can Love be Found in a Whorehouse? Find Out in Sinmisola Ogunyinka’s “Even the Lawful Captive”



Days ago, I discovered and binge-watched EbonyLife TV’s Love Lounge. One of the episodes dealt with finding The One and relationship expert, Joro Olumofin, was one of two guest speakers. When asked the best place to find a partner, Joro answered, “Church…Wednesday midweek service”. People, I died of laughter. You know, I’ve heard about looking for love in fancy churches like House on the Rock, but even that search was restricted to Sunday services. That being said, I do realize that he was joking. Love can be found anywhere and with anyone, even a sex worker.

Don’t shudder just yet.

Sinmisola Ogunyinka considers this a workable relationship as her book titled Even the Lawful Captive explores this kind of love in all its uncertainty. For y’all who saw sex worker and Julia Roberts popped into your subconscious, I’m not talking about a mushy love story featuring a golden hearted haired hooker.

Picture your momma selling you at age four. Your buyer—a politician whom everyone calls Chief— waits till you’re the ripe, lush age of twelve before you begin to “service” him and his friends, a bunch of high-ranking government officials and famous men looking for cheap pricey thrills.

All your needs are met. You get a grand room, fancy clothes, food, healthcare, and enough sex to drown your non-existent worries about the failing economy. You even live in a fancy little estate (Hidden Glory) with other girls and thugs in Chief’s employ. But with all these perks, there’s no leaving Hidden Glory except for parties and trips where you pay your dues. You want to get married? Forget it! You’d rather be a banker? Poof! You’re gone, girl.

Our protagonist, Afoma, now 22 years, has grown up in a gilded cage with no idea of how it feels to be loved. Because of this, she’s pretty suspicious when someone professes love to her. It doesn’t help that the guy, Nimi, is one of Chief’s most ruthless thugs.

Using Afoma’s suspicion as a focal point, the author stirs the story through the psychological effects of human trafficking on victims. From this book (and subsequent research), I’ve learned that it’s easier to ignore or even recognize that something is wrong when you’re introduced to this lifestyle as a child. Traffickers have also learned that isolating their prey from society eliminates dissenting voices that might encourage mental reorientation.

In opening herself up to love, Afoma realizes that her idea of love and self-worth are tied to having satisfied “clients”. That’s a dicey situation if you consider how that could make falling in love difficult, especially with someone who doesn’t see her as a sex object. However, I commend Ogunyinka for expertly manoeuvring through that concern by easing in situations that help Afoma connect with her emotions. When she finally falls for Nimi, they do not have an easy story. This is a spoiler-free zone, so you’d have to read the book to see if their love survives Chief’s craziness and the temptations of Hidden Glory.

With the book’s setting, I expected a lot of raunchy scenes, but it was surprisingly tame. So no, this is not your typical Mills & Boon romance. It’s more profound, tangible. With how it ended, I see that it’s meant to be a thought-provoking read, maybe one that could lead a soul or two to Christ Jesus. Does this explain the book’s title? Yes? Good. You may now calm your raging hormones.

“Even the Lawful Captive” is available on the OkadaBooks e-store. Need a copy? Get one here for just N100.

Chiamaka Onu-Okpara is a freelance editor with experience editing fiction, creative non-fiction, and academic documents. Her stories have been published in Ake Review, Apex Magazine, and The Kalahari Review amongst other places. Her first poem is forthcoming in Strange Horizons.


  1. Osemudiamen Okhuegbe

    September 22, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    Wow,this is a must-read.

    • Gideon

      September 22, 2017 at 9:51 pm

      Caint wait to touch it with my two hands

  2. Apeke

    September 22, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    Great story line. Can’t wait to read the whole book

  3. Afolarin Ogunyinka

    September 22, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Very intriguing and interesting story line. When you start you will be on your toes till you finish. A book with a strong message in a time when many books in the same genre seem to be empty of morals!
    Great work! Kudos to the author!
    Grab your copy quick!

  4. Doyin Tijani

    September 22, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    Sinmisola is a great writer. Am sure I will be hooked till the end.

  5. Gideon

    September 22, 2017 at 9:52 pm

    What a revelation..can’t wait to touch it with my hands,

  6. Gideon

    September 22, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    What Was revelation
    Can’t wait to touch it with my two hands.

  7. Gboyega Shitta

    September 22, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    Great and shows it will be insightful piece.

  8. Gideon sebela

    September 22, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    Very interesting story,,that send one on hunt for a full copy of the book.

  9. Toun Fadugba

    September 22, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    Great book! Get your copy now ???

  10. Laolu Adegbesan

    September 22, 2017 at 10:50 pm

    Nothing drives life to the fullest like “Hope “,we all tick on hope. Situations well confronted by the Writer are more like normal on the Black continent, though exist in other places as well, yet her perspectives illuminated a sure path to Liberty. Wonderful narratives,soul lifting.


    September 22, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    Wow, this is Awesome.
    Can’t wait to get the hard copy.
    I think this book is really gonna help in our society.
    Mostly in Africa where some so-called Chiefs takes advantage of people poverty by paying a token to the parents and use the child as a sex machine…


  12. Bamiduro Yinka

    September 22, 2017 at 10:58 pm

    Great work,she’s known for her unique way of writting, alway full of suspense, and appealling to readers by making d story more real. A must read for everyone. Thks

  13. Imoh Emmanuel

    September 22, 2017 at 11:13 pm

    Great and wonderful experience.


    September 22, 2017 at 11:29 pm

    Wow, this is Awesome.
    Can’t wait to have a copy.
    This is so impressive and impactfull!
    Remain blessed mummy Sinmi.

  15. Bisi Jolaoluwa

    September 22, 2017 at 11:36 pm

    It is a write up of hope for the hopeless. This book is highly recommended for all.

  16. Sinmisola Ogunyinka

    September 23, 2017 at 2:00 am

    This is still one of my favourites. I pick it sometimes when I’m bored, and read it over again. This one does not disappoint!

  17. Oore

    September 23, 2017 at 2:05 am

    Wow!!!!!! It sounds like an awesome book. I have to read it.

  18. Dapo

    September 23, 2017 at 3:16 am

    Interesting subject matter. Looking forward to reading this!

  19. Fadeke Ifaturoti Iluyomade

    September 23, 2017 at 4:01 am

    Awesome and intriguing storyline! Can’t wait to read it

  20. Ife Ogunyinka

    September 23, 2017 at 4:02 am

    I love this story so much. It’s so rich yet simple. It provokes you to read it over and over again.

  21. Austine Eje

    September 23, 2017 at 6:58 am

    Is a most read book. Mumy Simi as we call her is wonderful writer as a m talking to you now iam still reading one of her book title somebody help he is after my wife.this book will bring restoration to you. so nice.

  22. Chris Edet

    September 23, 2017 at 7:28 am

    Beautiful piece!
    Challenging,engaging from start to finish, a sharp departure from the norm.
    Great job!
    A must read.

  23. Favour idiong

    September 23, 2017 at 8:00 am

    Wow!!! This novel captures the true essence of writing. I can emmagine Afoma’s predicament, pains, woes, bruised emotions,…… This story is absolutely real and prevalent in our present day society- parents/guardian selling trading children’s right, glory and destinies for fishes! Your choice of a story line couldn’t have been more profound.
    Am sticking to this story to the end.
    Thanks Mummy Sinmisola Oguyinka, Author sin qua non.

  24. Chris Edet

    September 23, 2017 at 8:03 am

    Beautiful piece!
    Challenging and engaging from start to finish, a Sharp departure from the norms on the subject matter.
    Great job.
    A must read.

  25. Mba Nmaju

    September 23, 2017 at 10:23 am

    Amazing plot line that got me thinking as im sure it has done same to many others. One of the ways it’s got me thinking is the hidden mental effects o Fbhhns trafficking to the victims. I look forward to reading such an intensely intriguing book. The risk here is admittedly that of not being the same again when I finish it.

  26. Enime

    September 23, 2017 at 11:01 am

    Mummy Sinmi, I don’t know how you do it but you are good at being real without being double standard. Now this piece is another one of your best. Intriguing

  27. Macdonald

    September 23, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    The Lawful Captive is as inspiring as it is exciting to read. This book is a must read.

  28. Adedotun Aromolaran

    September 24, 2017 at 2:38 am


  29. Simi Aromolaran

    September 24, 2017 at 2:39 am


  30. Jerry Otoyo

    September 24, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    Great story, interesting write up. Beyond religion. God bless you chosen vessel of God

  31. P.K Olawale

    September 26, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Such literary flare and elegance. Excellent composition, grasping story line. You can’t stop when you start. Indeed there are possibilities in life. You will be inspired, full of hope and be enthusiastic about life again when you read this classic.

  32. DEJI

    September 26, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    Excellent writing

  33. Kemilayo

    September 26, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    The story line is different… It will be a good one to read.

  34. EE

    September 26, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    Reminds me of Francine Rivers redeeming love. This should be good.

  35. Kehinde Mosugu

    September 26, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    The storyline is an interesting one and will be a big hit, it captures your attention right from the blast of the whistle and you want see to the end. I love it a great deal.

  36. BIsi

    September 26, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    The story line is catchy. Good work Sis. We sure need more novels in this area of life.

  37. Fenimi

    September 27, 2017 at 1:28 am

    Wow!!! I look forward to reading this book

  38. Eni

    September 27, 2017 at 3:46 am

    Looking forward to reading the book! Interesting story line. I know this is a god-inspired work of fiction but can this really happen in today’s world?

  39. Seyi Adebola

    September 29, 2017 at 6:38 am

    The book will be a very good read. I’m already itching to get one copy for me.

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