There are books that make you want to turn the page to find out what happens next. However, there are a few books that turn the page for you and invite the reader into the story. Very few novels make you feel the latter. Little Country by Charles de Lint is one of those novels. Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler is one of those novels. Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin is one of those novels. Home Is The Sailor by Jorge Amado is one of the those novels. Well, this shortlist of novels gained a new member, Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibanez.
Reading is subjective and what connects with one reader does not always connect for another reader. It is one of the mystical, unique traits of reading fiction. When you connect with a story as a reader, you want to stay in the world long after you finish the last page of the novel.
Woven in Moonlight is the story of Ximena Rojas. She is playing a role as the decoy condesa (queen) for the last remaining royal of the Illustrian people. The Illustrians lose everything to King Atoc. Atoc uses an ancient relic to drive the Illustrians away from their homeland in La Ciudad. Ximena is determined to get revenge for her people and create peace for the entire land.
Atoc wants to consolidate his power and will do anything to achieve his goal. Ximena gets caught into a web of politics, culture, and loyalty that will be tested before her marriage to the king. However, she will find some unlikely allies like the masked vigilante, El Lobo, and the king’s sister, Tamaya that want to take the king down. Also, Ximena has a special talent for weaving that will come into play.
Ibanez draws upon her Bolivian heritage to write an interesting story that I loved. Ximena is a feisty protagonist with a tender heart. The secondary characters like Rumi the healer and Juan Carlos, a member of the King’s inner circle were appealing. I enjoyed the food mentioned like saltenas (an empanada filled with beef, pork, or chicken, raisins, peas, one black olive, and egg) and marraquetas (a salty bread served from breakfast) and other aspects of Bolivian history and mythology.
Woven in Moonlight was a delightful read and I’m glad that this novel was recommended to me. I’m looking forward to reading the second book in the series, Written in Starlight due in January 2021. I know we are dealing with a global pandemic and social unrest in America. If you are looking to escape for several hours or a couple days, I will recommend Woven in Moonlight as your passport to an excellent story. Bravo, Isabel Ibanez!