Source: Borrowed from the Pasco County Library System
Pub. Date: May 3, 2022
Why did I choose to read this book?
I originally asked for this as a DRC via NetGalley but got soundly denied. It was at the top of many “most anticipated” lists and since I’m getting into horror and thrillers more I wanted to get my hands on it. So I waited until it was available at my local library, then waited on a long holds line, and then finally it was mine. Historical fiction with a mix of religion and mysticism, a haunted house, and the presentation of a challenge to societal structures are all enough to make this book one that I wanted to read however I could.
What is this book about?
There is a lot going on here, so it’s difficult to say what it’s about. Beatriz comes from a family where her father was a leader in the Mexican revolution, but he was killed as part of the takeover and conversion, so she and her mother have to escape to a distant relative, where they are treated very poorly. So there’s this deeply ingrained loyalty to family as well as a need for Beatriz to live up to her father’s example.
She’s single until she catches the eye of the Don of a nearby Hacienda, and when he proposes she jumps at the opportunity to be a lady of means. She’s deterined to make the hacienda her home, and to bring her mother there to live one day away from their crappy relatives.
It’s too good to be true though, and then Beatriz has to deal with our old friend racism since her skin is darker due to her father’s side of the family, but at the same time the workers at the property must afford her the respect of a dona. Several conflicts arise due to this snarl.
I guess this book is about how you find your place in the world, demand that the road rise to meet you, and do whatever you need to do to hold on to what you have. And if you can help people along the way (as Beatriz does), all the better.
What is notable about the story?
I loved the idea that the house was a living, breathing entity. When Beatriz asks the local Catholic church for help when the spirit actually becomes violent with her, we meet Padre Andres, who used to live on the property and was able to feel and interact with the spirit of the house (he’s a witch hiding in plain sight). He says that it was a welcome place until the current Don and the prior Dona (who was “fair with corn silk for hair”) arrived, and when the Dona suddenly “passed away” *WINK* everything changed. The idea that how you live affects everyone and everything around you added so much suspense and spookiness to this tale.
Was anything not so great?
Honestly I don’t think I have any quibbles with this one. I was on the edge of my seat wondering how this was all going to turn out the entire time, and a few times I actually gasped because I was so into the story that it was like I was there.
What’s the verdict?
5 stars on Goodreads. This is a fantastic novel that you should make the effort to read. It’s a spooky thrill ride from start to finish.
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