Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for providing me with an electronic advance reader copy.
This book tells the story of a family over several generations in the American West from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. It shows a different side of the American West than what you might expect. The characters include visionaries, prophets, and people with special abilities. While there's a sense of magic in the world, it also shows the harsh realities of racism, sexism, and poverty. Despite these challenges, the characters show hope, determination, and love for their family. The main character, Luz "Little Light" Lopez, grows up throughout the story. It's a big, epic tale that could easily be turned into a movie.
I thought this was a devastating novel. I did not enjoy the animal torture 3 stars.
Many thanks to Net Galley and Random House for an audio copy of this book for an honest review.
It was good but it took me a while to read for reasons I’m not sure about. It took me a bit of time to become invested in the story and, shockingly to me, I oddly preferred her short stories which I normally dislike short stories and prefer novels. But I loved the main character and her perspective on relating to those around her and her family.
This book was ok. I found it a little hard to keep 2 main characters separate as they often mix together while reading. Other then that I liked the plot.
I loved Kali Fajardo-Anstine's short story collection 'Sabrina and Corina', so I was super excited to read her first novel and it did not disappoint! A powerful story set in such an interesting period with memorable characters!
This is a very interesting novel about love, family secrets, and survival. Thanks for the review copy,
This is such a beautiful book. Although I had a difficult time getting into it at first, I am really happy I stuck with it. The matriarch and the different stories and their interrelatedness are all exquisite. This is truly a one of a kind intergenerational story.
As always, I will read anything Kali Fajardo-Anstine writes.
In the 1930s, Luz "Little Light" Lopez, a tea leaf reader and laundress, finds herself navigating the challenges of Denver on her own after her older brother, Diego, a snake charmer and factory worker, is forced to leave town by a violent white mob. As she traverses the streets of 1930s Denver, Luz experiences visions that transport her to her Indigenous homeland in the nearby Lost Territory.
Within these visions, Luz delves into the rich history of her ancestors: how her family flourished, the adversities they faced, and the ongoing threats that have plagued her people and their ancestral lands for generations. Throughout the narrative, Luz becomes a witness to the sinister forces that have inflicted harm on her community.
Ultimately, it falls upon Luz to safeguard her family's stories and heritage from fading into obscurity.
This Western saga unfolds across multiple generations of an Indigenous Chicano family, spanning from the late 1800s to the 1930s. The story primarily centers on Luz "Little Light" Lopez during the early 1930s, chronicling her struggle for survival in the face of poverty and racism. Along the way, she uncovers long-held family secrets, delves into her ancestral history, and discovers the true meaning of love on her own terms.
The characters are undoubtedly a highlight of the narrative. Luz, her best friend Lizette, her brother Diego, and her aunt Maria Josie are all captivating figures, each with their own compelling stories. While the story's shifting focus may leave some aspects less developed than desired, such as Liz's grandparents' story and certain facets of Liz's own journey, the characters' individual narratives remain engaging.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for sending a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.
"Woman of Light" by Kali Fajardo-Anstine had been on my reading list for years. Although I appreciated the themes in the book, the setting, and the characters, the story didn't hook me.
Absolutely beautifully written. I wish the book was chronological, I wish we heard the next few years of the story and I wish we heard more about the past.
I will hands down read anything by Kali. I love her prose, her truth--this books was such a welcome light to my reading slump. Woman of Light offers readers a wealth of history and family lore. Loved this one!
I really wanted to love this historical fiction, sweeping epic novel. It was very challenging for me to get through.
I appreciate the details, the characters, the perspectives, but the writing style was just not my fave.
Kali Fajardo-Anstine just has such a beautiful way with words, I’ve been sucked into each and every sentence she writes. Woman of Light is historical fiction set mostly in 1930s Denver, and focuses on an indigenous Chicano family and its generations. Luz, the main character, is a tea leaf reader, gifted with the sight that has helped her female ancestors over the years survive hardship and suffering. Fajardo-Anstine draws such a compelling portrait of this time and place - I had to stop every so often while reading to look up photos of Chicanos from the 1930s, and photos of 1930s Denver, to help ground me even more in the story. You can really tell the author put her heart and soul into this one, and that’s saying something because her debut collection, Sabrina and Corina, was a feat in and of itself. I couldn’t wait to finish….but I also wished while reading that there were 300 more pages of this story. Books like this one are always my favorites - the ones you can’t put down but also you never want to end.
Thank you @oneworldpublications and @netgalley for the E-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This book is now out in hardcover paperback!
… Don’t come for me, booksta but I didn’t like this book. But, let’s start with what worked:
🌄 The Setting: I haven’t read historical fiction that takes place solely in Colorado. It spanned from the late 1800s into the 1930s.
🌄 The Descriptions: Fajardo-Anstine is a skilled writer. Her prose throughout the book was beautiful.
And now for What Didn’t Work:
🌄 The Plot: This was a coming of age story, so I knew it’d lean more character driven than plot driven, but still there was NO plot. The characters were just meandering around and the ending just…happened. I was left questioning what the point of the story was.
🌄 Multigenerational Storyline: I either wanted more of the main character’s ancestors’ storylines or none of them at all. As the reader, I only got a taste of them and it wasn’t satisfying or helpful with the character development.
🌄 The Romance: Both male love interests were mediocre and under developed. They didn’t work for me at all.
I know this book has a lot of rave reviews on @goodreads, so maybe I’m in the minority. It also could be a “right book, wrong time” situation because I was craving a fast paced book and this one was ssssllllooooowwww. All of that to say, it wasn’t for me, but you might love it!
This is a beautifully written novel but I felt it was missing cohesiveness. The characters are well developed and memorable, the setting clear and there are some vivid and unforgettable scenes. I found the structure of moving back and forth in time to sometimes be disruptive or unnatural, interrupting the flow. The character choices (particularly the motivations of Luz) are also hard to understand. Overall, I felt like the novel lacked clarity and the plot didn't have enough to tie it all together.
This was an amazing book. It takes the reader through the lives of different women in the same family but at different points in history. I loved how you can see the different struggles of each woman and how decisions they made affected the future of not only their lives but also the lives of the other women. The ending felt a tiny unfinished so maybe that means a second book? Fingers crossed. Would love to revisit with these characters, as well as new ones connected with this family’s story.
Such a wonderful story. I just loved the history. A bit confusing and the family trees helped me identify who came where in the story. I would have loved more tea reading, more magic, more of the great-grandmother. But, I did like Marie Josie, Luz and Lizette-powerful women in their own right.
I'm on the fence on this book the storyline was hard for me to get into, but I really did enjoy it once I did get into it. Luz is a tea leaf reader and her older brother had to leave their house and she's living with her Aunt. All of this is set up in the 1930's in Denver and goes into the issues that Luz and her family has to deal with on a daily basis. It definitely speaks about what they have to do to survive, family and wanting to be loved.
As I mentioned I did have an issue of getting into the storyline, but once I did I loved it. It was a beautifully written story and told in a magical way.
Thank you #NetGalley for the advance copy
I did not end up reading this novel. The rating is not a reflection of the story itself, but rather an indication that other books/stories dominated my interest and reading time. Which I think is an important factor when selecting your next read.
Excellent -- I only wish it was longer to expand on the characters and their stories. Easily a top book of the year for me.