“The Hacienda” by Isabel Canas

This book was a mood! I was totally unprepared for how much I would love reading it! I am not a reader who enjoys scary horror, but this was not what I was expecting! I loved the two main characters Beatriz and Andrés. The story is told between their points of view with some chapters describing events that happened a few years prior concerning Andrés. At first, I was wondering how he fit into the story because in the present storyline, he does not get introduced to Beatriz until about 100 pages or so. But once he came into play, I thoroughly enjoyed the book much more. I’m a romantic, so I always enjoy reading about characters who are drawn to each other, but don’t immediately fall in love. But, of course, there’s always a catch: Andrés is a priest and also a witch.

Here is the book’s description:

“In the overthrow of the Mexican government, Beatriz’s father is 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 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 its 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 fight off the malevolent presence haunting the hacienda and protect the woman for whom he feels a powerful, forbidden attraction. But even he might not be enough to battle the darkness.

“Far from a refuge, San Isidro may be Beatriz’s doom.”

What I Liked About the Book

Beatriz as a main character was relatable. As the new wife of a rich man, she had to establish herself as the lady of the house, in a much similar way as the main character in “Rebecca” did. “Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier is one of my all-time favorite books, so I enjoyed the familiarity of that part of the plot. But that is probably the only thing in this book that is somewhat similar to Rebecca.

In Rebecca, the main character genuinely likes her new husband. Beatriz does not have much interaction with her new husband, but she learns his true nature toward the end of the book, and of course, her feelings for Andrés are very strong by that point. Also in Rebecca, the main character is mostly tormented by the head of the house, Mrs. Danvers. In this book, Beatriz is tormented by the actual house she lives in. We learn that it has spirits, but mostly one angry, dark spirit that is seemingly out to get her.

I’ve already said how much I enjoyed reading Beatriz and Andrés romance. It seemed genuine to me and was very gradual. Andrés is a loner priest who has his secrets and demons. But he recognizes the darkness in the house and sets out to help Beatriz. He tries to stay away from her as much as possible, knowing that coveting another man’s wife is a sin. But the hacienda’s darkness becomes more powerful, which makes it impossible for him to stay away.

What I Didn’t Like About the Book

There wasn’t much I didn’t like about this one, other than it took me a little while to get into it. The beginning seemed rather slow, but it definitely picks up the pace after 100 pages.

My Verdict: The Hacienda is a Must Read

All in all, this was a 5-star book for me. The setting was descriptive, the characters were believable, and the horror aspect was dark but not scary. I understood the motivations of the darkness in the house and what needed to be done to get rid of it.

The ending was not exactly a happy one, but it was realistic. There were a lot of mixed reviews about how it ended. I won’t say I liked the ending, but I didn’t dislike it, and I understand why the author ended it the way she did. It left room for readers to imagine an ending for themselves.

I highly recommend this book if you enjoy psychological thrillers, forbidden love, or horror stories. It is somewhat historical fiction with events having taken place around the time of the Mexican War of Independence, but it is not centered around that.

Similar Books

This book is being compared to Mexican Gothic, which I have not read. Barnes and Noble recommends The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson and An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena.

As always, thanks for reading, and let me know what you thought of this book!

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