In Garcia’s debut, the lives of two young girls in early 20th-century Madrid, N.M., are threatened when the combative powers of witchcraft and Catholic mysticism fight for supremacy with devastating consequences.
Garcia’s novel weaves between the lives of two very different young ladies: Salia, a witch raised on the outskirts of town by a selfish mother and an uncaring grandmother; and Marcelina, a Catholic girl plagued by tragedy and death. However different their upbringings and backgrounds, the two girls come together at strategic times in their lives to find solace and balance in one another after the damage they’ve suffered because of their faith. The first time they unite, it’s because Marcelina’s family has been cursed by a centuries-old witch who has risen from the ground and thirsts for blood. The action only ramps up from there. Through family deaths, personal suffering and even a few romantic encounters, the intertwining tales of Marcelina and Salia become incredibly riveting, even moving. The characters are both born into worlds that don’t understand them and, despite mistakes along the way, there is much they both need and learn from one another. With a killer twist near the end and supernatural folklore that feels grounded in reality, Garcia’s title is fluid and well-paced, never taking the audience’s attention for granted. The world the author creates is rich, lush and scary; supernatural fans will certainly appreciate the copious worldbuilding that went into this novel. There’s also a fair amount of gore in the book; death is often described in the most harrowing fashion possible. Though the book drags in places, once the dominoes start falling in the book’s final stages, readers won’t be able to put it down—especially after one character’s very disturbing return.
A fabulous story packed with detail that explores both the positive and damning effects of extreme faith in a way that feels both fresh and authentic.