Title: Wild Beauty
Author: Anna-Marie McLemore
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Magical Realism/Romance
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
Wild Beauty was the book club pick for May for one of the library book clubs that I go to, much to my pleasant surprise. Anna-Marie McLemore won my heart last year with her magical realism debut, The Weight of Feathers, so naturally, I leapt at the opportunity to read her third novel. (Now I just need to read When the Moon Was Ours and I’ll be caught up with her whole body of work!) Book club was this evening, and unfortunately, due to extenuating circumstances, I wasn’t able to go. But I figured, why not give a review of it anyway? A book of such gorgeous prose and lovely characters deserves to be recounted, in my honest opinion. First of all: I love her books, especially because they feature diverse characters! Diverse books for the win, forever! McLemore pens a beautiful tale of the many different kinds of love, family, flowers, dangerous magic, and deadly secrets, and honestly, from the first sentence, I was spellbound. Gorgeous, heartfelt, tender and brutally beautiful, Wild Beauty has planted a seed in my heart that will never die. One of my favorite books that I’ve read recently.
For close to a century, the women of the Nomeolvides family have tended the lush, beautiful gardens of La Pradera, something that draws people across the globe. But the gorgeous blooms of The Meadow hide far darker secrets: If any of the women fall in love too deeply, they accidentally will that person out of existence. But after generations of mysterious disappearances, this time, the garden gives the family of women a young man who remembers nothing of his past, only his name: Fel. One of the lovely, talented cousins, Estrella, finds him, and is desperate to help him piece together his existence. But it turns out that their beloved home hides even more deadly secrets, and Estrella must decide if she is willing to sacrifice everything she loves to cover the truth…
I tried to read this book earlier this year, but I had to return it before I could even start it, much to my disappointment. So when I was told that this was the book club pick, to say that I was excited was an understatement. I was absolutely enchanted. The prose, as per McLemore’s signature, was beautiful and eerie, and I was immediately transfixed. This book is weird, in the best kind of way. Magical realism is one of my favorite genres, hands down, and Anna-Marie McLemore does it like no one else. Even more than that, the setting was so seductive; I found myself dreaming of La Pradera, the lush meadow thick with blooms, even when I wasn’t reading. But my favorite part was the Nomeolvides family, all fiery, defiant women named after the plants they adored so much. Cursed to never fall too deeply in love with someone, for fear of them disappearing into thin air, they cling to one another fiercely, sometimes too much so. They were just so full of heart and love that at the end of the novel, they felt like one of my many literary families, and I will never forget them. I also really enjoyed the love story between Fel and Estrella, shy and hesitant and beautiful; again, as with The Weight of Feathers, I was reminded of how I first fell in love with my husband, and it was such a joy. The real kicker of this book, though, was the ending; I won’t reveal it, just in case there are some readers out there who haven’t read it yet, but my jaw was on the floor! I think Wild Beauty is my favorite book of Anna-Marie McLemore’s, and I will never forget it. It was such a beautiful tale of love, family, flowers, and mysterious magic, and I loved every moment of it. Totally gorgeous, and unforgettable! The bottom line: A book as beautiful as the flowers of La Pradera, I loved Wild Beauty, and it has become my favorite book of the author’s! One of the best books of 2017! Next on deck: The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw!