Wild Beauty

Wild Beauty

Title: Wild Beauty

Author: Anna-Marie McLemore

Series: N/A

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Release Date: October 3rd 2017


Five Stars

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.

– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“Even in its first faint traces, love could alter a landscape. It wrote unimagined stories and made the most beautiful, forbidding places.”

There are two things all Nomeolvides women know; one is that if they ever try and run from the grounds of La Pradera the gardens will kill them, forcing pollen and blood from their lungs. The second is that if they ever fall in love too deeply their lovers will vanish. That’s how it’s been for generations, until a strange boy appears out of nowhere in the middle of the gardens they tend.

The Nomeolvides women think Fel is one of their lovers, returned by the gardens who took him, but Fel is a mystery. He has no knowledge of himself, not even his name, and as Estrella tries to help him uncover his past they find themselves unearthing some dangerous secrets. Secrets that not only shape the past of the land, but could bring danger to La Pradera’s future and the Nomeolvides family’s home there.

“If La Pradera could bring back a boy lost a hundred years ago, maybe it could break this curse they had carried here in their hearts. Maybe it would give them back other vanished lovers. Maybe it would lift the awful legacy from this generation of daughters.”

Like all magical realism books there’s a lot left unexplained in Wild Beauty, a lot of the questions don’t have answers and a lot of the world building is simply explained away as ‘magic’. It took me a little while to adjust when I started reading, to simply lose myself in the story and not get caught up on the reasons why, but when I did I discovered a book that was just as magical, just as beautifully and lyrically written, as Anna-Marie McLemore’s previous books.

Anna-Marie McLemore is my favourite magical realism author and Wild Beauty, which was one of my most anticipated release of this year, ended up being an incredible read. The plot is slow, letting me sink into the grounds of La Pradera before revealing the gardens darker side, before the secrets surrounding the Nomeolvides women and their home were unravelled.

…The Characters

“That was the dangerous thing. Not that she and her cousins all spoke the language of loving boys and girls, but that they all shared the legacy of losing them.”

Estrella and her cousins are closer than sisters, but after generations of Nomeolvides women before them having to watch either their loves leave them or disappear they’re all too afraid to open their hearts to something real. Instead all five fall in love with a girl who loves them all equally because it’s a safer choice. However with the attention of the five Nomeolvides hearts on her Estrella and her sisters are afraid for Bay, and offer La Pradera their treasures to keep her safe.

Family is important to Estrella and the other Nomeolvides women. They look out for one another, keep each other’s secrets, and the people they adopt into their family – Bay and Fel – are as treasured and protected as their own daughters and cousins. I loved the relationship Estrella had with her cousins. They supported one another no matter what; even when they were angry with one another their petty differences were put aside in favour of supporting one another when things took a turn for the worse.

“She wanted to give her own breath to every part of him that hurt, every piece of him still broken or bruised or left underground.”

Fel appears from nowhere, and has no memory of his life before Estrella found him in the gardens. However the more time that passes under the care of the Nomeolvides family the more he starts to remember; the shape of someone who took care of him, the taste of foods they ate, the feel of the scars on his back. Fel has a home with the Nomeolvides’, but he knows they hope for answers from him; if Fel is one of their vanished lovers returned does that mean others will come back.

The relationship between Estrella and Fel is slow to develop but really sweet and one I loved watching grow. Like her family Estrella feels protective of Fel, but unlike her cousins she doesn’t see him as a brother or cousin. Still, how can Estrella truly love Fel if he belongs to one of her ancestors? If he is one of the vanished lovers come back again how can she truly love him if it means he’ll vanish once more?

“There was no way to tell their mothers the truth and make them believe it, that hearts that loved both boys and girls were no more reckless or easily won than any other heart. They loved who they loved. They broke how they broke.”

One of the things that makes Anna-Marie McLemore’s books, including Wild Beauty, stand out is the development of her characters, their diversity and their relationships with one another. While the plot was slow the character development was more than enough to keep me fully invested in the story. I fell in love with these characters, felt their heartache and pain and fears through the way they were written.

I feel like there was no other way this book could have turned out for me, no way I could have ever rated Wild Beauty less than five stars. It was everything I love about the magical realism genre in one book; the lyrical writing that tells a beautiful story, the incredible characters, the magic that feels so real and the mystery that draws you in. For one of my most anticipated release of the year Wild Beauty was worth the wait.

What did you think of Wild Beauty? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

24 thoughts on “Wild Beauty

  1. This book sounds wonderful and I definitely NEED to pick it up! 😍 I have yet to read anything by this author, but I definitely plan on reading her books. And I will be starting with Wild Beauty as it simply sounds like a book that I would love! Great review Beth! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was amazing! I had high hopes for Wild Beauty because it was by one of the best magical realism authors there is, but it more than live up to my expectations. Definitely check out her books soon, if you like magical realism you have to read Anna-Marie McLemore’s books at one point.
      Thanks so much! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel like everyone who has read this book so far has nothing but love to throw at it, based on the comments I’ve gotten about Wild Beauty so far that is. 😀
      It’s incredible, I think Anna-Marie McLemore just has a way of writing that is so beautiful you can’t help but fall in love with her stories. 🙂


  2. I can’t BELEVE I hadn’t already heard of the author and the book before?!?!?! 😱😱😱 I mean…JUST LOOOOK AT THE COVERRRR!! 😍😍😍😍 IT IS SOOOO CUTE. And judging by your OERFECTLY WRITTEN review, I am guessing this book isn’t just a ‘pretty face with no brains’??! 😂😂 I AM IN LOOOVE WITH THIS BOOK ALREADY AND I CAN’T WAIT TO READ IT.

    A HUGE thanks to you, Beth, for introducing the book to us. Loved your review. A LOT. ☺☺☺☺


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t seen too many other reviews for Wild Beauty, or even a lot of mentions of it, so I guess it’s going to be an underrated gem. It’s a shame because it is an AMAZING book, honestly as beautiful as the cover is that’s how beautiful the story inside is too. Wild Beauty is definitely not a case of a pretty face with no brains! 😀
      That’s all right, I’m glad you enjoyed my review and I hope you love this book as much as I did, or even more than I did. 🙂 ❤


  3. Waahhh it’s nice to see how much you enjoyed Wild Beauty, Beth. Magical realism sure can grab your attention huh? 😀 I can see that the slower pace of this story worked for the best and really helped in making it that much more mesmerizing. Wonderful review! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Magical realism definitely grabs my attention, and I don’t think there’s any author better at magical realism than Anna-Marie McLemore. This is one genre where the slower paced story doesn’t bother me, it just works with the world and the character and yeah make it that much more mesmerising.
      Thanks so much Lashaan! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so, so happy to hear you enjoyed this book so much, Beth! All of the books by this author are on my TBR, I haven’t got a chance to buy any of them just yet, but I can’t wait. I really love the amazing family vibes this one seems to have, as well as the character development ❤
    I'm going to ask a question and you will hate me for it, but… if you had to recommend one of McLemore's books, one to start with, which one would it be? 🙂
    Lovely review! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, if it’s by Anna-Marie McLemore then I’m guaranteed to love it. 🙂 I hope you manage to get around to them soon in that case. I can’t wait to hear what you think of them all, especially When the Moon Was Ours which is still my favourite of her releases. Yes there was an incredible family vibe in Wild Beauty, that’s something I love seeing in books and that I loved reading in this one.
      Ha, see I actually answered that question earlier without realising it; I’d say for sure When the Moon Was Ours because if I could only choose one favourite it would be that one. 😀
      Thanks Marie! 🙂 ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, I’m so glad you enjoyed this book, Beth! Ever since you introduced me to McLemore’s books, I’ve fallen in love with her writing and I can’t wait to get my hands on Wild Beauty! Plus the cover is absolutely GORGEOUS ahaha.

    I’m super excited about the strong family dynamic that WB seems to have and the characters seem absolutely beautiful! I think that what makes McLemore’s books is the magical, mysterious element that everything has — her imagination is wild (pun intended) and I just love reading what she creates.

    Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought this book was incredible, then again it was written by Anna-Marie McLemore so I don’t think there was ever any other way this could have turned out for me. 🙂 Do you plan to read this soon then May? The book inside is just as gorgeous as the cover and although I didn’t think it was as good as When the Moon Was Ours it was still amazing. 😀
      McLemore’s books all seem to have a strong family dynamic, and I just love seeing that because it’s something that can be missing in other YA books now. Ha, nice pun, and Wild Beauty has just that. It’s magical and mysterious and beautiful and I think it’ll be a book you love as well. 😀 ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought Wild Beauty was incredible, then again I knew even before I picked it up that this book would be a five-star read for me. 🙂
      Thanks so much Kristin, I’m glad you enjoyed this review and yeah when it comes to magical realism stories it can be hard to order our thoughts sometimes can’t it? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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