Cover Image: Woman of Light

Woman of Light

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Member Reviews

This is such a beautiful and needed book! I couldn’t put it down!! A truly needed read for every woman on the planet for their soul nourishment.
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Thank you Netgalley and Random House/One World for this arc. 

Woman of Light is a generational saga set in Colorado between 1875 and 1933. The story centers around Luz Lopez, a tea reader and laundress, who lives in Denver with her aunt Marie Josie. Her brother Diego, a snake charmer and factory worker, was forced to leave the city after a terrible encounter with a white mob. 

Left to fend for herself, Luz navigates Denver alone, trying to make money to support herself and help at home. She finds a job as a secretary at a lawyer’s office. Her tea reader abilities become more powerful and she starts having visions of her Indian homeland in the Lost Territory, recalling her ancestors’ origin. 

Jumping back and forth in time, the book is a reminder of the importance of family storytelling, as we get to see more of what Luz’ ancestors went through. This is a book about family, tradition, love, and survival. The descriptions of the landscapes are so vivid and beautiful and the characters are very likeable. I also liked to learn more about the Chicano people and their struggles. 

But I wanted more about the protagonist’s parents. I wanted to know more about Luz and Diego’s abandonment, how they were left to fend for themselves. It also seemed that to have such powerful visions, Luz did not have exactly any goal in mind distancing herself of the idea of powerful woman who knows exactly what she wants. I saw her much more like a floater who observes life passing by without knowing what to do, struggling to belong somewhere. 

Overall, I enjoyed the narrative and Fajardo-Anstine’s writing style. It is a book difficult to describe and I certainly want to reread it in a near future. I recommend Woman of Light to anyone who enjoys Indigenous history and literature.
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Woman of Light is a multigenerational story that mainly focuses on Luz and her life in Denver, CO. I loved the magical realism—Luz’s gift for reading tea leaves and her brother’s gift for snake-charming, but I did have a hard time sticking with the story. I’m not sure why, but it just didn’t grab me. It was a good read, well-written, and I enjoyed the generational aspect of it. 3.5/5 for me.
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I got about 25% of the way on this one and not sure if I was just interupted too many times, but this one was a "Did not Finish" for me.  Disappointed, because I was really looking forward to it.
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Thanks for Netgalley providing an ARC of this book!!! I was so excited to read it, as Native American culture intrigues me, but I just could not really get into this one. I do not think it was the writing style or the story, I think that just the execution did not grab me as much as I would have liked. I DNF this book about halfway through. I kept intending to and then just left it unread for two months, so I know that I will not ever go back and finish it.
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Multi-generational and a multi-ethnicity novel spanning decades. A fictional look at how one family tried to survive the early twentieth century. They had a hardscrabble life with a little bit of romance mixed in. Interesting read.
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Family is the significant element in this work. Despite losing members through death, sickness, abandonment, those remaining acknowledge and protect one another. Luz, gifted with special sight, sees the plight of many through tea leaves; Diego, her brother who charms snakes, and loves an Anglo woman, is forced to leave Denver where they both have been rescued by Maria Josie, their aunt. As we read the past stories of their Indigenous roots, we see the every day prejudice of the Depression against “non-whites” that they experience. Luz works for an activist lawyer and through this we witness more injustice. As she matures, her visions become more detailed. Maria Josie tells her this gives her “ an old kind of Intelligence.” Unfortunately she is a young woman who lacks personal experience with men, making her choices unwise. Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s characters are flawed from life yet their love for one another might prove stronger than the misfortunes they face.
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I loved the premise of a story about a tea leaf reader and the idea of historical fiction being set in an area and time I'm not familiar with, and Woman of Light did not disappoint for the most part. I must admit I don't love a non-linear story; I often lose the thread of the story, and when reading an electronic version of a book it's harder to get the trail back. But despite that, the way of telling this story worked with Luz being in alternate time periods and realities depending upon her readings. The author did an excellent job of describing the places, and it was no trouble to feel myself walking the streets they walked, or feeling the heat and cold and wind, or smelling the dirt and plants and factories mingling and swirling in the often stagnant air. This is a story with the power to transport you to the past and well worth the effort it takes to unravel the threads.

My thanks to One World, the author, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I really wanted to like this book, especially because I recently visited the lost Territory in New Mexico.

I did like how the author slowly unveiled each character. However, I was so bored that it was hard to care. It took me over a month to read this, which is unheard of for me.

While I appreciate the advance copy from Net Galley, this book was a big disappointed.
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I adore historical fiction. This one cover 5 generations of a family and it’s beautifully written. I really enjoyed this book and I’m looking forward to read more book from Kali
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This story covers 5 generations of a family and is beautifully written tho I am not a huge fan of historical fictions. Again- gorgeous writings but not my favorite genre.
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Betrayal, love, fate, loss. Five generations of an indigenous Chicano family in the American West [Colorado]. Much in the 1930s [but starting in the 1868]. 

"Luz "Little Light" Lopez, a tea leaf reader and laundress, is left to fend for herself after her older brother, Diego, a snake charmer and factory worker, is run out of town by a violent white mob. As Luz navigates 1930's Denver on her own, she begins to have visions that transport her to her Indigenous homeland in the nearby Lost Territory. Luz recollects her ancestors' origins, how her family flourished and how they were threatened."

Much of the narrative centers on Luz but also Lizette [her cousin], Diego, and their aunt, Maria Josie--who I  liked very much. Other characters who figure prominently in the story: David Tikas [an attorney--local boy made good--who seeks to do good, his father, Pete {Papa], who owns a market, and Avel--a handyman who enters to fix a problem for the family and then becomes involved with Luz.

What I liked--some phrases/descriptions, the trajectory [though the nonlinear timeline was sometimes confusing]--and Luz, especially. Lots of heart although I cannot say I was engrossed.

There are Mexicans, Native Americans [?], Filipinos, and Greeks--a multicultural mix.

Descriptions I liked:

"grinned with mossy teeth"
"melon of a stomach"
"mustache fluttered like curtains as he spoke"
"hair obediently parted"
"room was blisteringly white with morning"
"Every sigh is a breath stolen from life"
and more.

No spoiler from me. I enjoyed the book but plodded along. And the end--ok--no more/no less [no spoiler].

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Sorry to say I bailed after 25%. I found the book very poorly written  and very hard to follow! Transitions were difficult and I could make no sense of it! Thank you to NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read before publication.
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3.5 stars, rounded up
This multi-generational story is beautifully written and fleshed out the West in the early 20th Century.  Fajardo-Anstine is definitely a wordsmith and I could easily see the scenes in the story.  
Told in a non-linear fashion, it covers five generations of a Chicano family from the Lost Territories from the late 1800s to the 1930s.  The women in several generations have the gift of sight. The story focuses primarily on Luz, who lives in Denver with her aunt and initially, her brother.   There are elements of magic realism within the plot - Luz’s reading of the tea leaves, Diageo’s kinship with his rattlesnakes.   But there are also dark elements to the story - the Klan operating in Denver, but also the everyday racism of the time.   It fulfilled my desire to learn something of the time and place.  But I struggled at times to connect to the rationale behind the actions of Luz.  
The pace of the book was also very slow and at the end, I was left with a feeling of wanting more.  
My thanks to Netgalley and Random House for an advance copy of this book.
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This book was beautifully descriptive, but I couldn't help thinking by the end I was just not the target audience for this book.  It reminded me of books I was taught in school where I just felt like I didn't understand it? It was an interesting look into Denver during the depression and the cultural clashes that were happening at that time. 

The book cover is exquisite and I would buy a print to hang 9n my wall!

Thank you to Netgalley and One World for the digital gallery in exchange for a review.
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I have not read a book like this before. All I can say is wow. I loved it. I enjoyed the form the story was told in. It was unique and a voice of its own in the manners of the story.
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Thank you for the advanced copy of this book! I will be posting my review on social media, to include Instagram, Amazon, Goodreads, and Instagram!
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A smartly written historical novel that expertly switches between time frames to tell the story of Luz and her family. The descriptive writing about this family’s struggles and relationships was wonderful.  I thought the ending was particularly good, finishing the book’s journey, while leaving some questions unanswered.  Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to read and review an advance copy of this book.
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What an amazing story. As I read the story I kept thinking about the story, "Water for Chocolate," because of how intense the story was, and how realistic the characters are. I also found that even though the characters life were very hard they found many moments to be joyous about. They found love and work that made them fulfilled and they dealt with all problems the best they could. I especially love Luz talent to see the future in reading coffee grounds and tea leaves and Diego's talent with snakes, it made them feel closer to the earth. And no matter what, they took care of each other. And I loved the cousin Lizette because she knew what she wanted and she went for it and she knew who she is.
I only found a few places hard to read because of the injustice that fell upon these characters because the color of their skin, pretty sad that we still deal with this now.

I want to thank Random House Publishing Group - Random House, One World and NetGalley for a copy of this amazing story about courage and tenacity in the early 1900's.
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A heart wrenching piece of historical fiction that spans multiple generations of Mexican and Indigenous people as they search to make a better life in the chaos of US expansion out west. The multiple views give you that look into the time and makes the decisions made, both good and not-so-good, tangible. Timeless themes such as love occupy the space as other (sadly) timeless conversations about race and migration. While many threads in this book are difficult, each page is beautifully written. The journey is well worth the time. May be a great book for a multi-generational book club.
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