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The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas
Gothic fiction

The Hacienda


We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Isabel Cañas, on your first book!

by Isabel Cañas

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Quick take

What would you do if the house you just moved into turned out to be haunted? We’re talking some properly gothic stuff.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Psychological


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Supernatural


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_ForbiddenLove

    Forbidden love

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Creepy



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.

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Get an early look from the first pages of The Hacienda.
The Hacienda



Hacienda San Isidro

Noviembre 1823

The low sweep of the southern horizon was a perfect line, unmarred by even the smudge of horses tossing their heads in the distance.

The road yawned empty.

The carriage was gone.

I stood with my back to the gates of Hacienda San Isidro. Behind me, high white stucco walls rose like the bones of a long-dead beast jutting from dark, cracked earth. Beyond the walls, beyond the main house and the freshly dug graves behind the capilla, the tlachiqueros took their machetes to the sharp fields of maguey. Wandering the fields as a boy taught me agave flesh does not give like man’s; the tlachiqueros lift their machetes and bring them down again, and again, each dull thud seeking the heart’s sweet sap, each man becoming more intimately acquainted with the give of meat beneath metal, with the harvesting of hearts.

A breeze snaked into the valley from the dark hills, its dry chill stinging my cheeks and the wet in my eyes. It was time to turn back. To return to my life as it was. Yet the idea of turning, of gazing up at San Isidro’s heavy wooden doors alone, slicked my palms with sweat.

There was a reason I had once set my jaw and crossed San Isidro’s threshold, a reason why I passed through its gates like a reckless youth from legends of journeys to the underworlds.

That reason was gone.

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Why I love it

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.

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Member ratings (19,647)

  • Elise M.

    Raleigh, NC

    Fantastic debut- the twists and scares kept me hooked. The characters and settings are well developed and complex, making this novel feel like a roller coaster that leaves you wanting more. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Sylvia G.

    Agawam, MA

    Cañas did such a wonderful job setting tone and mood in this book. Overall, this book had it all: historical context, thought provoking subplot, love, and, above all, magical realism. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Kerry B.

    Grover, MO

    This was fantastic and I’ve told my book club to add it to their lists. Gothic thriller meets hauntings and historical fiction … don’t hesitate to read asap. I can’t wait to see what she writes next.

  • Lisa S.

    Zebulon, NC

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I CANT STOP TALKONG ABOUT THIS BOOK! Love this book SO much. Already have it down for my bookclub to read during October! Everyone needs to experience the beauty of this book!

  • Teresa M.

    Stockton, CA

    I loved this book is my type of book I wasn’t disappointed I love the suspense the horror the characters the time it takes place. The detail was just ???????? I would definitely recommend this book!!!!!!!

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