Book Review: The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas

Hola! 🥰

For today’s post, we have a review of The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas — a debut historical, Gothic novel.

I’ve wanted to pick up this book since the moment I set my sights on it. As a lover of Latin American and Gothic literature, this was right up my alley! 💕

The Hacienda is set during the aftermath of the Mexican War of Independence. When her father is executed and their home destroyed, Beatriz and her mother are left on their own.

Seeking a home and security, Beatriz marries Don Rodolfo Solórzano, the wealthy patrón of Hacienda San Isidro. However, she quickly begins to notice some unsettling truths about the Hacienda.

After a frightening encounter, Beatriz seeks the help of a priest but is quickly shut down. Enter Padre Andrés, a young priest willing to help her solve the mystery of Hacienda San Isidro.

One thing about me is I love a good haunted house story. When I think back on some of my favorites, The Haunting of Hill House and AHS: Murder House come to mind. Therefore, I’m no stranger to this specific genre. And yet, this novel had me spooked to my core! 🫣 Cañas’s exceptional writing truly makes the Hacienda feel like a frightening, living entity, and the descriptions delivered all the full body chills.

I immediately adored the protagonist, Beatriz — a mestiza woman who has suffered so much yet still finds the strength to fight for the life she desires. Beatriz faces the challenges of the Hacienda head-on and looks out for herself and those she loves and I admired her greatly for it.

On top of having Beatriz’s perspective, we also have the ever-so-charming priest, Andrés. *swoon* The author makes you fall in love with Andrés almost instantly and slowly reveals his mysterious backstory throughout.

Most importantly, the dynamic between Beatriz and Andrés is one of the book’s strongest points. Their chemistry leaps off the page and the progression of their relationship was so well done. I was rooting for them every step of the way. 🥹 Usually with split narratives, I sometimes find myself favoring one over the other but thankfully, that didn’t happen with this book as both perspectives kept me hooked.

And although I did feel the beginning dragged on a bit, everything that comes after is worth the slow burn. The chilling atmosphere, forbidden romance, and compelling mystery all made this book an instant favorite.

Moreover, there’s something about seeing parts of your culture and language in a piece of literature that is indescribable. Reading about Beatriz’s stay in the Hacienda took me back to when I was a little kid watching Mexican telenovelas with my mom. Minus, all the hauntings of course. 😅 I also greatly appreciated learning more about the Mexican War of Independence, a subject I’m now very interested in.

If you love gothic fiction or spooky ghost stories, I definitely recommend The Hacienda. It was a delightful read and I’m excited to see more from Isabel Cañas! 🫶

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.