Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 137: The Hacienda by Isabel Canas

by | Mar 15, 2024 | 2024 Book Reviews, Marion's Favorite Books, Marion's Reading Life Blog, Wisdom From Kammbia Column | 0 comments

Sometimes a novel will to come to your attention when you are just scrolling through Goodreads recommendations. I rarely take much notice to those recommendations, but when I saw The Hacienda by Isabel Canas, I immediately stop scrolling. I’m glad I did.

The Hacienda tells the story of Beatriz, a young Mestizo woman, recently married to a wealthy landowner named Don Rodolfo Solorzano during the latter stages of the Mexican War of Independence. Beatriz wants to live at her husband’s countryside estate instead of the capital city. She hears rumors about what happened to Don Rodolfo’s first wife at the estate and ignores the scuttlebutt. This is Beatriz’s opportunity to live in a hacienda and become a homeowner.

Don Rodolfo leaves for the capital city for an extended period and Beatriz beings seeing visions and hearing voices in her sleep at the estate. Her husband’s sister, Juana, dismisses Beatriz’s concerns and is disdainful of her presence. Witnessing one of the cooks performing an unusual ritual at the edge of the kitchen, Beatriz becomes even more alarmed. Also, the spirit of Don Rodolfo’s first wife has an eerie presence throughout the hacienda. 

Beatriz realizes there is something amiss at the hacienda and she is in grave danger.  However, Juana and the servants of the estate provide no assistance, and Beatriz is all alone. Fortunately, help comes from a young priest named Padre Andres, who has a special gift. Andres feels instantly connected to Beatriz and is determined to help her in any way he can.

Will Beatriz and Andres be able to overcome the dark forces of the hacienda and save themselves from peril? Canas writes an excellent, thought-provoking historical gothic novel that cuts across race, class, religion, and family relations. Her vivid prose and descriptive storytelling made me feel like I was in 1820s Mexico. The Hacienda will be one of my favorite reads of 2024 and a story I have thought about a lot after closing the pages of the book. 


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