Wild Beauty

by Anna-Marie McLemore

The Briar family gave the Nomeolvides women safe haven from accusations of witchcraft... read more

The Briar family gave the Nomeolvides women safe haven from accusations of witchcraft long ago in exchange for their labor. Generations of Nomeolvides created La Pradera’s beautiful gardens with their gift for calling their namesakes from the soil. But La Pradera also holds the Nomeolvides hostage: They will die if they leave the land, and those they love will be consumed by the earth unless they are sent away. Gloria, Azelia, Dahlia, Estrella, and Calla Nomeolvides all love Bay Briar, who recently inherited La Pradera. They hold their feelings close not only for Bay’s safety but to avoid each of their mothers’ certain disapproval. When Fel appears out of the soil at La Pradera, he is barely more than a boy. Brown-skinned, like the Mexican American Nomeolvides, Fel’s hands are calloused, his body thin and scarred. He knows nothing of his past. Estrella’s cousins think of Fel as a brother; Estrella finds he sparks other feelings in her. The arrival of arrogant Reid Briar, challenging Bay’s inheritance, sets a string of events into motion that illuminates Fel’s past and the tragic history of La Pradera rooted in racism, classism, and privilege. The Briars sought to cover it in flowers; the land demands justice. A lush, lyrical, mesmerizing work of magical realism also delves deeply into the heart, providing affirmation and solace for those who simply and profoundly are who they are and love whom they love. (Age 14 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2018

show less