A decoy bride becomes the face of Bolivia's revolución as she exacts revenge in a fiercely Latinx fantasy.
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Why I love it
When the weather gets colder, I like to curl up with books that take me into an entirely new setting. So I was thrilled to stumble upon Isabel Ibañez's Woven in Moonlight, a lush Latinx fantasy based on Bolivian folklore that allowed me to immerse myself in a culture I don’t typically have a chance to read about.
The book tells the story of Ximena, who lives a harrowing life ruling over her people as the decoy Condesa. Ximena’s people have been driven from their homes and into hiding by an enemy king with the power to summon destructive earthquakes. When this cruel king demands to marry the Condesa, Ximena finds herself alone in his court, navigating dangerous court intrigues, making enemies, and becoming unlikely allies with the masked revolutionary who teaches her that the friction between her people and his is far more complicated than she realizes.
This book has everything I could ask for in a winter read: action, romance, unique magic, and tough women. I loved how beautifully written it was, with fully fleshed out characters, plot twists that caught me off guard, and a well-rendered window into a rich vein of Bolivian history, politics, and folklore. Woven in Moonlight kept me guessing and rooting for its characters, and since reading it, I’ve been recommending it to basically everyone I know. It will enrich any New Year's TBR list!
Ximena is the decoy Condesa, a stand-in for the last remaining Illustrian royal. Her people lost everything when the usurper, Atoc, used an ancient relic to summon ghosts and drive the Illustrians from La Ciudad. Now Ximena’s motivated by her insatiable thirst for revenge, and her rare ability to spin thread from moonlight.
When Atoc demands the real Condesa’s hand in marriage, it’s Ximena’s duty to go in her stead. She relishes the chance, as Illustrian spies have reported that Atoc’s no longer carrying his deadly relic. If Ximena can find it, she can return the true aristócrata to their rightful place.
She hunts for the relic, using her weaving ability to hide messages in tapestries for the resistance. But when a masked vigilante, a warm-hearted princess, and a thoughtful healer challenge Ximena, her mission becomes more complicated. There could be a way to overthrow the usurper without starting another war, but only if Ximena turns her back on revenge—and her Condesa.