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June 7, 2022

Woman of Light by Kali Fajardo-Anstine ~ a Review

by MK French

Luz Lopez is left to fend for herself in 1930s Denver after a white mob runs her brother out of town. She begins to have visions of her Indigenous ancestors’ origins, how her family flourished, and how they were threatened in nearby Lost Territory. It is now up to Luz to save her family's stories.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of literary fiction novel Woman of Light by Kali Fajardo-Anstine
June 2022; One World; 978-0525511328
audio, ebook, print (336 pages); literary fiction

The story is told in a nonlinear format, skipping between five generations. There's a general forward momentum, but pay careful attention to the years listed on the chapters. Mostly we follow Luz, but occasionally we follow other characters along her family tree. There's a thread of family, community, and magic throughout the story, as Luz can read tea leaves and see more than just the shape of the leaves. She sees what had happened and has flashes of the future, though it's not usually clear enough to do something about it. Her ancestors all chased their dreams, sometimes failing badly, but pushed past the limits of who they thought they could be. This brought one of her ancestors out to the Lost Territory and made her yearn to do more than tell fortunes and scrub laundry while being belittled by whites.

The story primarily belongs to Luz, who makes some incredibly bad decisions along the way. The asides regarding the women in her family tree are fascinating, letting us see the circumstances they lived with and how they were perceived by the outside world. They don't really tell their stories, leaving it to Luz (and us) to see it via her gift. Ultimately, it's her family that's there for her, and the primary reason to keep going. That's the same thing for most of her family, so she's in good company. 

Buy Woman of Light at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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