The Place Beyond Her Dreams
by Oby Aligwekwe
Publication date: March 16th 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
“We are most courageous at our weakest; when we believe we have faced what we fear the most and have nothing more to lose.”
Set against the backdrop of two warring towns, Oby Aligwekwe’s Young Adult debut—told from the viewpoint of her main character—is inspired by her West African heritage, fables, and spiritual beliefs. Ona’s journey reveals the power of choice, the true source of happiness, and, most importantly, the transformation one must go through to realize and eventually occupy their purpose.
At the sudden death of her grandfather, Ona’s pain transports her to mystical Luenah—a place of infinite possibilities, free of turf wars and other ills that plague the earthly dimension she lives in. In Luenah, where her grandfather awaits her, Ona learns she is an Eri, one bestowed with unique intuitive and spiritual gifts passed down from generation-to-generation.
On her eighteenth birthday, she returns to Luenah and is handed a box to deposit her ‘exchange’ for love and happiness—her greatest desires. Burdened by her quest, Ona crosses paths with danger and heartbreak as the two men that love her dearly are viciously pitted against each other. As evil looms, she learns that dreams carry a hefty price, and no one is who they seem. Now, she must unmask the villain and save the one she loves, even at the risk of losing everything she holds dear.
“How did I—I mean when did I become an Eri?” I asked wide-eyed.
“It started several millennia ago when Luenah was restricted to its original inhabitants—a handful of people living in utmost serenity and joy, never growing old or dying from diseases. Everything changed when a wily princess, Ani, found her way in through a portal in an ant hole. When she arrived in Luenah, panting from exertion, our ruler had taken pity and accepted her into our fold. With time, she proved to be loyal and imaginative, wildly so, that she found immense favor in his eyes, but she wanted more.”
“What did she want?” I urged.
“For her people on earth to inhabit Luenah. At the time, the earth was plagued with famine and diseases, and she felt Luenah would provide the respite they needed. As noble as the idea was, it wasn’t feasible.”
“Why not? There’s enough space here for everyone,” I claimed, looking around at the beauty and riches in Luenah.
“There’s enough space,” he agreed. “But there is no room in Luenah for conflict and turmoil. Look at Ide and Ntebe. See what has become of them.”
I nodded once, and he continued.
“A few years passed, and Ani presented her plea again. She threatened to expose the ant hole so her people could enter if our ruler failed to grant even a few ‘chosen ones’ access to live here.”
“Did they fall for it?” I asked, my heart beating in anticipation.
“The negotiation was tough, but they later struck a deal. Ani was permitted to select a handful of good earthly humans to visit Luenah. These humans, called Eris, were bestowed gifts to be passed on to chosen ones in their future generations, and they were assigned missions to help the earth regain its balance.”
“So, Eris are born?”
Oby Aligwekwe is the author of Nfudu and Hazel House. Her Young Adult debut, The Place Beyond Her Dreams, takes readers on a magical journey to discover what matters most. Oby’s writings incorporate her favorite things: fashion; travel; business; humor; mystery, and strong female protagonists. She supports her community through her charity Éclat Beginnings.
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