What would you do if the house you just moved into turned out to be haunted? We’re talking some properly gothic stuff.
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Why I love it
BOTM Editorial Team
In her author’s note to The Hacienda, Isabel Cañas writes: “It began because I am afraid of the dark.” And, I mean, same. As a child I used to cower at the ways a pitch-black room could transform an armchair into the silhouette of an intruder, or convince me that howling wind was in fact knuckles rapping on the window. Who among us hasn’t at least once heard a creaky floorboard above us and thought, for at least a moment, that our house might be haunted?
Well, The Hacienda’s Beatriz can relate.
After the violent loss of her father and home, Beatriz marries the wealthy Don Rodolfo Solórzano in an attempt to right her family’s fortune and secure a home of her own. But when she moves onto her husband’s estate, things go sideways: visions of bloody clothes, unexplainable noises, and rumors of what might really have happened to her husband’s first wife. Unsure who to trust, Beatriz turns to Andrés, a young priest whose magical lineage might make him the only person who can save Beatriz from the dangers that lurk in her house.
Cañas really does capture what it’s like to be afraid of the dark—the dread, the wary curiosity, the sense of being watched. I was drawn in by Cañas’s luscious prose and subsequently rooted to the edge of my seat as I feared for the fate of Beatriz and Andrés. At once a supernatural mystery, transporting historical novel, and rich examination of family and class dynamics, this is a spectacular debut for anyone who’s ever wondered about the things that go bump in the night.
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.