If you search for this book online the first sentence you will read from nearly every review is “Mexican Gothic meets Rebecca” (and now this review maintains that pattern). Truthfully this is the best summary that one can give. Now, I didn’t like Mexican Gothic all that much, but I enjoyed the film version of Rebecca immensely, so I was a little wary of this going in. However, The Hacienda Isabel Cañas is enjoyable. I listened to this book as an audiobook, and the voice cast did a great job.
Beatriz has very few prospects in life at the conclusion of the Mexican War of Independence. Her father has died, and she and her mother must live with family members that don’t really want them around. Beatriz thinks she has finally secured her way out when Rodolfo, a wealthy man with powerful social and political connections, asks Beatriz to marry him. She says yes and she is whisked away to Rodolfo’s family home only to find that something strange and horrible is afoot there. At first, Beatriz chalks up her weird feelings about the house to being in a new place with new people who harbor prejudices against Beatriz for not being of the same social class as Rodolfo. But Beatriz is convinced something far more sinister is going on.
To get to the bottom of what is happening in her new home, Beatriz enlists the help of a local priest named Andrés. With Andrés’ help, Beatriz confirms that there might be something more supernatural and insidious going on at her new home than just a deep dislike from her new family. Together, Beatriz and Andrés fight to secure Beatriz safety and oust the evil that has taken root. One of the most compelling aspects of this novel is the romance that blooms between Beatriz and Andrés. It is a slow and organic development that is tempered by both social and religious expectations.
Read Harder Challenge #7 – Listen to an audiobook performed by a person of color of a book written by an author of color
CBR Passport Challenge #2 – Different country