Recently divorced Gillian Armstead-Bancroft has returned to Freedom, Kansas, with two kids, no money, seriously dented self-respect—and a curse that’s robbed her of her magical powers. Nothing in life has turned out as this always-good girl (and secret bruja) thought it would. And when a good girl is under a curse that turns all her good intentions to ash, the obvious fix is to try out being bad. Preferably with her childhood friend, Nicky Mendoza, who is now a successful artist and still the only man who has ever satisfied her in bed. Meanwhile, things are changing in the town of Freedom. The run-down East Side is getting a boost, and Gillian’s noisy, nosy family is leading the charge. There’s a role there for Gillian, if she’s willing to take it . . . and if she can let go of the idea that success looks like the life she left behind, which was all big-city sparkle, name-brand luxury and soul-crushing emptiness.
Angelina M. Lopez’s Full Moon Over Freedom, her sequel to After Hours on Milagro Street, delivers on all expectations. It’s both powerful and sweet to see Gillian and Nicky rekindle their romance. They’ve lived separate lives for the past 13 years, but from the moment they reunite, Nicky is once again the only person Gillian lets herself be truly honest with. And when it comes to her sexuality—her needs, her desires—their compatibility is off the charts. If you’re a reader who enjoys the “healed by the magic of great sex” trope, you will absolutely love this book. Mixing in with all of the classic plot elements is actual magic, which in Lopez’s hands is tangible, present and beautifully imperfect. Refreshingly, it doesn’t solve all of Gillian and Nicky’s problems and it also results in contact with the spirit realm, moments that are alternately unsettling and enchanting—sometimes both at once.
Gillian’s Mexican American identity, which Lopez shares, radiates throughout the book. Full Moon Over Freedom unpacks the Latinx history of Kansas, showing how the struggles of women in the past trickle down into the prejudices of today through an infuriating heartbreaker of a historical story based on a real court case. This is the work of a writer who knows and celebrates her community and her culture. It’s also a love story that embraces the unusual, celebrates the unsung and makes you believe the words of another famous Kansan: There’s no place like home.