TITLE: Wild Beauty
AUTHOR: Anna-Marie McLemore
RELEASED: October 3, 2017
PUBLISHER: Feiwel & Friends
GENRE: YA, Christian, Fantasy
GOODREADS RATING: 3.63
TRIGGERS: Mention of past physical abuse
REPS: LGBTQIA+, POC, Christian
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.
I’ve heard so much about Anna-Marie McLemore’s writing. Not to mention I own two of their books and have a third one on my wishlist so.. I had to get my butt into gear and read at least one of them, right? I thought it best to start with the “oldest” one I owned. I prefer it that way since it’s always fun to see an author’s growth writing-wise!
I was sucked into Wild Beauty hard and fast. This was mostly due to the two POVs – of Estrella and Fel – because I had questions and craved answers. Especially Fel had me intrigued. Makes sense since he doesn’t know a lot and we don’t know a lot and.. obviously we had the need for answers in common!
Another thing that helped was the brilliant explanation of the curse the Nomeolvides women live with. Their lives and everything surrounding it was explained in an enticing way that had me wanting more of their story. It also didn’t feel like there was too much explaining – always a win in fantasy books!
The biggest win for me? Their writing! Anna-Marie has a way with words, that’s for sure. They succeed at capturing and conveying the magical, whimsical atmosphere this story wants to ooze, doing it even more justice than I thought possible!
The characters themselves I loved as well, same with the actual story. They all brought something to it, making it more. Not to mention how wonderfully unique their characters are, the relationships between them and the growth they go through during the book. All of these things combined made for one perfect read.
Something smaller, but worth mentioning I think, is the Christian aspect of this book. Belief is definitely present, but not in an “in-your-face”-way like other books tend to do. I’m an atheist, so sometimes books like that can be hard to get through. Sometimes they feel like trying to convert me or something, but I really did not have that feeling while reading Wild Beauty – extra points!
They loved who they loved. They broke how they broke. And the way it happened depended less on what was under their lovers’ clothes and more on what was wrapped inside their spirits. What secret halls and trapdoors their souls held, and what each one hid and guarded.
I don’t have anything remotely bad to say about this book. It simply is an atmospheric, beautiful read and I cannot wait to dive into more of Anna-Marie’s work. Not to mention putting their newest release – Dark and Deepest Red – higher on my wishlist!
Do you love whimsical writing?
What are some books with the most magical writing you can think of?