Forget the fact that Leslie P Garcia is my sister. Yes, I’m proud of her and I’ve always known she’s a brilliant writer. But her new book, “Her Borrowed Angel,” does not end on the last page—because the book simply won’t let the reader go.
The characters are so real and alive that the reader gets sucked into their lives and walks with them step-by-step, page after page. Her Borrowed Angel traces the life of book-smart Madeline Wharton Saldivar from her childhood in rural, deeply segregated Georgia to adulthood in northern Mexico and southern Texas.
Y2K, The Beatles, the Berlin Wall as it fell, Marilyn Monroe, Vietnam, men on the moon, Secretariat, Hank Aaron, Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.—we all live history. Sometimes we don’t see it happening around us. Her Borrowed Angel tells the story of Maddie Wharton Saldivar’s journey through life–life at the intersection with horses. And angels.
Maddie’s life, like all lives, plays out against the current events and changing social moods of the times. Deeply committed to family—and horses, or at least the idea of horses—Maddie struggles with the painful truths and impossible situations of abuse and dysfunction within her own small world.
Buoyed by her sister Hattie’s infallible courage, as well as her own ability to catalog life into manageable increments she understands through her book learning and an ability to manufacture faith to lean on, Maddie survives her childhood—only to be disowned when she falls in love with Tavo, an undocumented worker at the dude ranch she flees to when she leaves home to help Hattie escape.
Over her lifetime, Maddie collects more angels than horses and confronts the harsh reality that her half-brother, Wally, might have been right when he warned her that book-smart wasn’t as useful as life-smart.
Wife, mother, and teacher, Maddie’s life changes with the birth of her granddaughter—her borrowed angel.
Well done, Les, well done. Simply unforgettable.