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The Hacienda

The Hacienda, May 2022
by Isabel Cañas

Berkley
352 pages
ISBN: 0593436695
EAN: 9780593436691
Kindle: B09CD81MFZ
Hardcover / e-Book / audiobook
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"The Hacienda is a mesmerizing tale of secrets and the supernatural."

Fresh Fiction Review

The Hacienda
Isabel Cañas

Reviewed by Karen Siddall
Posted June 13, 2022

Mystery

To escape her life as an impoverished relation, living on the sufferance of her mother’s extended family, Beatriz marries a handsome supporter of the Mexican revolution, Rodolfo Solorzano. After the wedding, they travel to his rural estate, San Isidro, where he leaves her in charge while returning to his life back in the capital.

Prepared from an early age to be the mistress of such a haciendado, Beatriz is ready and able to bring the neglected home back to life and its former glory. However, she soon discovers that she has a fight on her hands. Rodolfo’s unmarried sister, Juana, lives on the estate overseeing the maguey crops and pulque production. She views Beatriz as an interloper, as does the housekeeper, Ana Luisa. But these two may be the least of Beatriz’s problems. It seems like the house itself is very unhappy to have a new mistress.

With its remarkable (and not often seen) setting in nineteenth century Mexico, just after the war of independence from Spain, The Hacienda is a mesmerizing tale of secrets and the supernatural. Doña Beatriz is engaging as the newlywed young woman looking for an avenue of escape from her tyrannical Aunt Fernanda’s household in the capital. Her decision to marry Rodolfo, a man she does not love, and sacrifice her future for herself and her mother is sad but, at the same time, feels so necessary. Still, this woman is a fighter. She repeatedly reminds herself that she is the daughter of a general, and she acts accordingly. I loved this strong heroine.

And Rodolfo seems a likable enough fellow – at first. The revelations later about his true nature are surprising. Still, even after learning of his past actions, Beatriz tries to maintain proper decorum (or at least not get caught in compromising situations) to preserve his and her honor and uphold her side of the marriage. The man is corrupt, but this woman has a backbone.

The young priest, Padre Andres, is a fascinating character. He’s young and earnest in his fledgling profession but wholly committed to returning after the seminary to protect his people in San Isidro. But he, too, has a hidden side, and I was right there with him in the story as he fought to keep that side contained but on the edge of my seat when he finally decided to release his ‘gift.’ I worried as he struggled to maintain the proper distance from the lovely Beatriz. I cheered for him to emerge victorious in his battle with the unknown.

But the house itself is the true star of this book. I was quickly hooked (and appalled) by the horrors the house presented to its inhabitants. I was unnerved by the supernatural events sprinkled throughout, always on the edge, waiting for the next shoe to drop.

With its wonderfully evocative setting and electrifying elements of horror and the supernatural, I wholeheartedly recommend THE HACIENDA to readers who have enjoyed stories like Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca and Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House.

Learn more about The Hacienda

SUMMARY

Mexican Gothic meets Rebecca in this debut supernatural suspense novel, set in the aftermath of the Mexican War of Independence, about a remote house, a sinister haunting, and the woman pulled into their clutches...

During the overthrow of the Mexican government, Beatriz’s father was executed and her home destroyed. When handsome Don Rodolfo Solórzano proposes, Beatriz ignores the rumors surrounding his first wife’s sudden demise, choosing instead to seize the security that his estate in the countryside provides. She will have her own home again, no matter the cost.
 
But Hacienda San Isidro is not the sanctuary she imagined.

When Rodolfo returns to work in the capital, visions and voices invade Beatriz’s sleep. The weight of invisible eyes follows her every move. Rodolfo’s sister, Juana, scoffs at Beatriz’s fears—but why does she refuse to enter the house at night? Why does the cook burn copal incense at the edge of the kitchen and mark the doorway with strange symbols? What really happened to the first Doña Solórzano?

Beatriz only knows two things for certain: Something is wrong with the hacienda. And no one there will help her.

Desperate for help, she clings to the young priest, Padre Andrés, as an ally. No ordinary priest, Andrés will have to rely on his skills as a witch to battle the malevolent presence haunting the hacienda.
 
Far from a refuge, San Isidro may be Beatriz’s doom.


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