November 24, 2017

#BookReview: Wild Beauty by @LaAnnaMarie #NetGalley

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.

Anna-Marie McLemore was born in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and grew up in a Mexican-American family. She attended University of Southern California on a Trustee Scholarship. A Lambda Literary Fellow, she has had work featured by the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, CRATE Literary Magazine’s cratelitCamera Obscura’s Bridge the Gap Series, and The Portland Review. She is the author of The Weight of Feathers, which was a Morris Award finalist, and When the Moon was Ours, a 2017 Stonewall Honor book.

This book was so beautifully written! I wasn't too sure about it when I started since I haven't had the greatest luck with this author's other titles.  But the cover was just stellar (esp the one from Owlcrate) and I knew I really had to try it! I loved the gardens of La Pradera and I really enjoyed reading about Estrella and Fell.  I do think that we didn't really five cousins and I wish that number would have been cut. I think the story as a whole would have been a lot smoother.  With as it sits parts of this book were slightly confusing trying to keep all of them together.  I will say, however, that once you really just leave them as side characters you kinda forget they are even there.  This story surrounds Estrella, Fell, Bay, Delhia, and the gardens as a whole and that is pretty much it. Everyone else like the grandmothers, Estrella's mom, and most of the other cousins are really just there.  

This is one story with a lot of world building even though its just some gardens as some say.  The gardens have their own life and it made the story feel like another world even though its set in ours.  This made them come fully alive with this story!  The mystery surrounding the woman of La Pradera was wonderful.  I wished that the reveal would have come a little sooner so the story could have gone a little further but all in all, it was great.  

I also loved how the author interweaves Spanish into the book. So many other authors don't use other languages in their titles.  Everyone is just speaking another language or English and that's that.  This having it woven into the story was perfect and I hope to find more books with this style. 

If you are looking for a new world to fall for check this one out.  You might get a little lost along the way but stick with it because you will fall in love with the Nomeolvides women I know I did! 

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