Title: Wild Beauty
Author: Anna-Marie McLemore
Genre: Young Adult, Magical Realism, Romance, Fantasy
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication date: October 3rd, 2017
Love grows such strange things.
For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.
The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.
“Even in its firsts faint traces, love could alter a landscape. It wrote unimagined stories and made the most beautiful, forbidden places.
Love grew such strange things.”
I feel like the problems I had with this book were completely my fault, because I’ve been on a mayor reading slump lately where I’m hardly reading anything, and this book happened to be in the middle of it. Also I usually have to be in the mood to pick up a magical realism book, so.. yeah, blame that on me.
Nevertheless, I have to say I was pretty surprised with how much I enjoyed this story, because even though it took me a bit to get into it, it was such a beautiful novel I couldn’t help but fall in love with it. This is my first Anna-Marie McLemore book I’ve read, and so far I’m pretty impressed with what I read, so I’ll definitely pick up more novels by her in a future.
“He could not say how he had come to the garden valley, beause he had no memory of a time before. He could not even admit to her that he was lost, because lost meant there was somewhere he would not be lost if he could just trace a path back.”
Like I mentioned before in this review, it took me a bit to get used to the whole story when I started, because 1. I was in a pretty bad reading slump then (still am), and 2. despite how much I adore this genre it’s a bit hard for me to focus on the story at first, so it usually takes me a while to enjoy these type of stories. However, I have to say overall I did really enjoy the whole story, mostly because it was so whimsical and beautifully written you could feel what you were reading.
I really loved knowing the Nomeolvides women. I tend to enjoy stories that are more focused on family relationships and their development throughout the story, and this one was just like that. It’s true there were a few side characters that were quite important in the novel, but I think the main focus of Wild Beauty was more the women who lived in La Pradera. You got to know them so well, they seemed so real to me, and how they took care of each other and their bonds they shared was some of my favourite parts of the book.
I also really appreciated that a lot of the characters were diverse, and our main character and some of the women in her family were bisexual. There was some drama and angsty romance, which if you’ve been following me for a while you know I LIVE FOR, and also it had such great side characters. I really like Fel as a character, because he was such a cutie pie and adorable I wanted to hug him.
“Estrella’s mother had hoped. If she named a girl for things held in the sky, how could she be tied to anywhere on this earth? But her mother had not freed her from their’s family’s legacy.
She had just given it the shape of stars.”
I’m actually really surprised with the path the story took, because I honestly didn’t think it would be that dark, but I have to say that the second half of the book was my favourite. It’s true that it took me a while to see a plot in the book, because sometimes I feel there really wasn’t any, but the second half was when I started to love this story. I already knew the characters and some interactions between them, and mostly I knew some of the answers to my questions, so I went through it faster than the first one.
So yeah, I have to say it was a really beautiful and whimsical story, full of heartbreak and love, with an amazing prose that I really love, and I think it would have taken me less if I hadn’t been on this damn reading slump (seriously, they are the worst!). I totally suggest you to pick it up if you’re looking for an unique story, that had spanish culture in it.
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