Mexican Gothic meets Crimson Peak is the way I would describe this novel, although some reviews have compared it to Rebecca, a book I have not read.
Set during the years following the Mexican War of Independence, the story follows Beatriz, a young woman who has recently married into the wealthy Solórzano family after a whirlwind courtship from the heir patron of San Isidro, Rodolfo. Although she barely knows him, Beatriz agreed to marry him as a way to raise her status as a mixed race woman in Mexico, the daughter of a General who was murdered by his peers after being labeled a traitor. Her cards are stacked against her and so desperate is she to rid herself and her mother of their current circumstances, she ignores the murmurs surrounding the death of Rodolfo’s first wife, Maria Catalina.
As the story progresses we are also introduced to Andres, a young mestizo man who has returned to San Isidro as a priest after many years away, although the cloth can only do so much to hide his real, magical gifts.
As Beatriz adjusts to life on the Hacienda where the Solórzano home stands, she begins to take stock of her current situation. Her sister in law is less than enthused by her arrival, the servants on the property approach her barely at an arms distance and the house itself feels unwelcoming and almost apprehensive of Beatriz. Can a house have emotions? Oh it can and it does in this book. Once she is left alone to tend to the house after Rodolfo returns to the main city, Beatriz realizes that something insidious hides in the shadows of the Hacienda. She hears distant voices and doors slamming throughout the home. Her nights are restless and she cannot sleep as invisible eyes watch her every move. The icy cold hands that try their hardest to force her to fall to her death send her into sheer terror. She runs to the church in town to beg for help, and it is because of this that she crosses paths with Andres, the only person who will truly be able to help her.
I burned through this book in 3 nights. I thoroughly enjoyed it, even if some moments were predictable, it falls comfortably in the magical-realism horror genre I have come to love.