Book Review: ‘Wild Beauty’ by Anna-Marie McLemore
This is the world of Wild Beauty, the new magical fable from Anna-Marie McLemore, award-winning author of When the Moon was Ours. The story follows Estrella and her cousins—Azaela, Calla, Dalia, and Glora—all of whom are in love with Bay Briar, their childhood companion and the young beneficiary of La Pradera. But they live in fear that the curse will take their love away forever, as it has done for so many past generations of heartbroken Neomeolvides women.
The girls pray to the garden, sacrificing their prized possessions in hope for a release of the curse and a way to protect their love. In response, the garden offers them a strange gift in the form of Fel, a mysterious young man who has lost most of his memories—including the knowledge of his own identity—and who just might be the key to ending the cousins’ cycle of love and loss. But just as Estrella is beginning to find hope in Fel, Bay’s cousin Reid arrives to claim La Pradera for himself—everything belonging to the estate, including Estrella and her family. The Nomeolvides find themselves in a battle against time, racing to save their home and themselves—and Fel.
Like the garden, McLemore’s prose is lush and gorgeous, and Wild Beauty is filled with vivid descriptions of the wonder and magic of La Pradera. The characters discover strength in unexpected places, and are bound by their love for each other and their capacity to love others, regardless of gender or class. Wild Beauty is a Latinx fantasy that is at once an exploration of queerness, magic, and family—an amazingly diverse fairytale that is itself timeless.
By Anna-Marie McLemore
Feiwel & Friends
Hardcover, 9781250124555, 352 pp.