Ahoy there me mateys! This be the sixth book in me Ports for Plunder – 19 Books in 2019 list. I absolutely loved the author’s book when the moon was ours and so knew I had to read another of her works. I picked this one based on the pretty flowers on the cover. I fell in love yet again with this author’s talent, characters, and world.
This story follows the Nomeolvides cousins who live on the grounds of the La Pradera estate. Three generations of their family maintain the beautiful gardens that make the property famous. There is a problem – all of the women are cursed and La Pradera is both a gift and a prison.
Ye see the Nomeolvides are known as witches for the magic that allows them to call flowers to bloom. Each generation consists of 5 women and all possess the ability. Persecuted for this magic, the women were nomads and fled from place to place until they landed at the manor. In exchange for causing the barren land to bloom, they could stay. But in growing the garden, the land itself decided none of them could leave.
If that’s not bad enough, the cost of having magic means all of the Nomeolvides women are doomed to have broken hearts. Lovers leave or literally vanish into thin air. The youngest generation is hoping to break the curse and have the ability to explore the greater world. Despite all evidence to the contrary. So the five girls make an offering to the garden. In exchange, they unexpectedly get a boy who appears right out of the ground . . .
The most stirring part of this book is the emphasis on family. I loved every single member of the latest generation of Nomeolvides women. It is a complexly woven series of relationships. There is emphasis on food, love, and family history. The sheer imagery of the flowers and how they were woven throughout both the family and the novel was just amazingly beautiful.
In addition, I loved all the forms love takes in the story. There are the mother-daughter relationships, the varied responses to the mystery boy, the relationship between the cousins, and the relationships between the girls and their friend and landlord Bay. There are bisexual, heterosexual, and a lovely genderqueer character. There is family trauma and rivalry and watching people grow and change. There is beauty.
I am so very glad I read this book. Arrrrr!
Goodreads’ website has this to say about the novel:
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.
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