Cover Image: Woman of Light

Woman of Light

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Member Reviews

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.
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"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.
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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.
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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: 

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!
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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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.
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Excellent -- I only wish it was longer to expand on the characters and their stories. Easily a top book of the year for me.
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An epic story with bold women as the background. An engrossing story told across generations. I really liked it.
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Thinking perhaps the time was not right for Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s WOMAN OF LIGHT and me. The dream like quality of this book left me sleepy, detached.
The few pages that reeled me in were not enough to keep me invested.
The plot intrigued me, the story left me feeling cheated. 
Perhaps another time, another day I can connect with this story but for right now it left me feeling like I skimmed through most of it.
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National Book Award finalist and author of the best-selling short story collection Sabrina and Corina returns with a new fiction book. In a story spanning five generations of Coloradans, we see how the land changes and how stories can be lost to time. It takes a brave woman to remember for future generations. 

It starts with an orphan in the forgotten territory. An Indigenous baby is abandoned, and an old woman finds it and raises it as her own. At ten, he must set out for the city and his future. Fast forward to Paz. She works at the carnival and can tell your future. It is not just a vague future but a highly detailed one that can reveal horrors. When her brother dates a white woman, he is severely beaten and must leave for the Lost TErritory. Paz also has to leave and find a job in Denver for a layer. The lawyer is the defender of the broken down and poor. But does he fight for them or only for himself?

Stories of the West are too often from a single perspective. It isn't focused on the people who already populated Colorado before settlers came. Fajardo-Anstine tells the story of the people here and those pushed to the sidelines by white settlers. They make up the west and Colorado too.
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I loved going through the generations of this family. As Mexican-Americans in the early 1900s Wild West, they have many forces going against them (the Depression, the KKK and racism, white settlers and segregation, the past) but the never lose the importance of family. Heartbreaking at times, this book highlights not only the power of love over hate, but the power of women in times of hardship. 

The author does switch back and forth in times which can sometimes be confusing, but I found she did it well. I was able slowly see how the past stories were influencing the present. She shows how the past is more influential then we realize in our present and future lives. 

I could easily picture the settings and characters, engrossing me in the book and story.
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This story told across generations of a family really tugs at the heart strings. I feel in love with the characters and was totally engrossed, I did not want to leave the family behind as the story came to an end. I would have loved to have a whole novel on just the grandparent's storyline.
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Clairvoyant and mystical. Sharp and full of wonder with an incredible narrative. There is a richness in history that should not be overlooked.
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Ok I have tried to get through this book 3 times now. It starts off well enough, but then it loses my attention. I feel like there is a lull in the first 3rd of the book that if I can get past I will like the story, maybe? I think in part it's the charecters and place names, maybe it's my complete ignorance of the history and place of reference. Which is frankly my issue. I will come back to this, mainly iut of stubbornness because I want to like it.
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