The Hacienda

Cover of THE HACIENDA by Isabel Cañas
Isabel Cañas
May 10, 2022

Hello and welcome to #NewTitleTuesday, where we take a look at a new release in the publishing world that will hopefully be a welcome addition to your holds lists.

Today marks the debut of THE HACIENDA by Isabel Cañas, a dark, glittering gem of a debut novel that's already drawing comparisons to Daphne du Maurier's REBECCA by way of Silvia Moreno-Garcia's MEXICAN GOTHIC. This novel, a gothic suspense thriller with hints of the supernatural, is delightfully atmospheric and perfect for those who like thrills and chills that tiptoe up to the line to horror bet never actually crosses that line.

THE HACIENDA is set in the early 1820s in Mexico, just after the Mexican War of Independence, where Beatriz is both emotionally and economically adrift after the death of her father, who died in war after backing the wrong side. Unfashionable and without any prospects, she seemingly catches a break when she catches the eye of Don Rodolfo, a dashing young nobleman from a remote province, and marries and moves into his hacienda. Of course, readers of gothic thrillers know exactly where this is going: Rodolfo is often away on business, and Beatriz feels isolated and helpless in this sprawling complex that's shockingly in need of repair, where the staff and even the walls themselves seem to hate Beatriz and want her out, and where rooms suddenly fall dark and where glowing eyes seems to follow her and dark visions befall her.

However, Beatriz is not the wilting flower who will allow the hacienda to drive her away or drive her mad - she faces the threat head-on, determined to discover the source of the house's dark origins. She finds an ally in a local priest, Padre Andres, who is handsome - and like many handsome priests, harbors a few secrets of his own.

Cañas' debut novel is written with an easy confidence that will make THE HACIENDA a fast yet compelling read - the author encompasses issues of class, religion, and Mexican politics into this historical fiction tale that makes it a bit deeper than a mere thrill ride. Do the hacienda's servants hate Beatriz because she replaced Rodolfo's previous wife or is it because of her father's politics? Or is it because of her overactive imagination? Does Rodolfo know what's going on? And what exactly IS that handsome priest hiding, anyway? Put THE HACIENDA on your hold list and let this atmospheric gothic chiller warm up those spring days.

Reviewed by Gregg W.
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