Zoraida Córdova 2021
Imagine that you can wish your dream house into existence, fully furnished. Imagine that your pantry is never empty.
What price would you pay for the possession of that kind of magic?
Orquídea Montoya knows the price, and so do her descendants. When Orquídea’s life appears to be drawing to a close, this magical matriarch brings all of her progeny home to Four Rivers, a small US town in an unknown state. She gifts them with the tools to protect themselves, and then, after pronouncing one grandchild in particular to be the heir to her property, she . . . transforms.
Marimar Montoya is nineteen; her life changes drastically when an unstamped invitation summons her to Four Rivers. For Marimar, her close cousin Rey, and the rest of the Montoya clan, life will never be the same.
Although the tale is considered Magical Realism, there is so much magic that one could almost characterize this as fantasy if not for the non-fantastic setting. As readers can guess from the icon-like image on the book cover, one of the ‘gifts’ given to some of the Montoyas is a blossom that blooms from the skin of each chosen one – forehead, hand, neck. The blossom is sensitive, almost like an exposed nerve, and changes color with mood or impending danger. The author subtly manages the reader’s perception until what was once a beautiful miracle is now a beautiful, perfect open wound.
The storytelling is nearly flawless in this fascinating tale, but there are some points where a lot of action is mashed together and minor plot points are resolved in unknown ways. I think of it as ‘. . .’ in the middle of the story. This is confusing and caused me to rewind in at least one point to see if I missed anything.
As you’ve figured out from my last sentence, I listened to the audio version, narrated beautifully by Frankie Corzo. If you loved One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel García Márquez) or Sofia Segovia’s The Murmur of Bees, this book will not disappoint.