Cover Image: The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina

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Member Reviews

I had no idea what I was in for with this book, and sometimes that's the best thing that could happen. It's a story about family and fate, one that I feel you should go into with as little knowledge as possible to truly get gripped into the story.

>Orquídea Montoya is dying, at least that's what she tells her family when she sends them all letters saying to come and collect their inheritance. The Montoyas are used to things being a little weird, but when they get to Orquídea's house in Four Rivers to find it overtaken with roots and decay, they are understandably a little worried. They hope to get the answers Orquídea has kept from them all these years, but instead she leaves them with more questions than answers. What follows is a tale of magic, romance and family alternating between past and present that allows the Montoyas to learn the truth about Orquídea, where her magic came from and what exactly their inheritance is.

The story is told from both past and present POV's. The past focuses solely on Orquídea as we find out how she came to hold her special branch of magic, while the future is split between multiple members of the Montoya clan. Though we get insights from a multitude of characters the main focus is on Marimar, Raymundo, Tantinelly & Rhiannon. These all get something a little extra in regards to the Inheritance, something I wont mention for fear of spoilers, but it ensures they stay in the spotlight.

"When she'd met Orquídea Montoya, she saw a whisper of a girl who wanted to become a scream."

Orquídea was by far my favourite character, both in the past and present tense. Growing up a bastard, unloved by the mother who blamed her for her lot in life, she had to become resilient, strong, reliant on herself because no one else was going to save her. She could be witty and charming, but underneath it all was a strength, she knew the world owed her nothing, but she was determined to take something from it, carve out a life and family of her own, and she would do whatever it took to ensure that happened.

As for the present characters, Marimar and Rey were hopeless millennials that I would do anything for, the both revered and resented their grandmother in equal measure and saw Orquídea as half person, half legend, something they could never quite grab though she was always within reach. They carry their own hurt, though it manifests in different ways. Tantinelly was seemingly the most like her grandmother, she wanted something in life and went out and got it, a husband and eventually Rhiannon, her child. Rhiannon never met her grandmother but has a strange bond with her the others can't seem to understand. Along side the other Montoyas these make for a family filled with love, loss and just a little mistrust.

"There were hundreds of things Marimar wanted to know. Why is this happening? Why can't we stop it? Why didn't you try to tell me sooner? Who are you? Why do this? What broke your heart so completely that it's splinters found their way through generations?"

The book flows brilliantly, the flits between past and present happen at the perfect moments to ensure you stay engrossed in the story, and I really struggled to put it down, desperate to know how it would end. It is a fantasy, with a wish based magic system I can't really talk too much about without giving away spoilers, but it's also has mystery elements, not just with how Orquídea got her magic, but who is the hidden figure that haunts the Montoyas and what does it want with them. There are plenty of clues thrown in and I was SO CLOSE in guessing the how it would end, but she still managed to shock me and give us an emotional and hilarious ending.

Cordova's prose is incredibly lush, I have so many sections highlighted because it was so beautifully written. It seriously adds to the atmosphere of the novel, creepy, romantic and wishful when needed and I just found myself re-reading passages because of how much they impacted me. I know this is a novel about magic, but Cordova's writing is a kind of magic of it's own, and it's certainly a book I will find myself re-reading. This is undoubtedly one of those unique reads, a book that I can think of nothing to compare it to, but one that will enchant readers, making anyone who reads the pages an unofficial member of the Montoya clan, claiming readers who can't help but get emotionally invested in their stories and the characters who inhabit them.

I can't say much more without giving away spoilers so instead I'm just going to say READ THIS BOOK! You will not be disappointed. It's a story that, once you put down, you will want to pick up again almost instantly. A story filled with generational curses, a wish based magic, characters I would die for and a rooster with nine lives, and honestly if that doesn't sell it to you I don't know what will. All the stars for this one.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy in exchange for an honest review!

Do you ever have a book that you borrow from the library, listen to, or read on your phone or e-reader and you say to yourself "wow. I really wish I had a physical copy"? Well I was saying that to myself every time I picked up this book.

This story is magical, surreal, escapist, brilliant and so beautifully written. I audibly gasped several times throughout this book. Córdova is an insanely talented author, and now I want to pick up her other work. The characters of Orquídea Divina, Marimar, Rey and others are so lifelike that I felt that I could reach through the pages and find myself in Four Rivers with them. 

I think that the blurb of this book did not do it justice. There is just so much more for the reader to learn and experience beyond what is advertised, and I think that makes this book all the more enticing. I appreciated the alternating timelines and the pacing of the story. 

I can guarantee that this will be one of my favorite books of 2021.
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The dual timeline in The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina unfolds an inter-generational story of dreams and family. There's a whimsy, a sense of charm and intrigue that propels you through the story. It all has a reflective quality as the events are narrated to us. The ways that hindsight gives wisdom and issues warnings. A story about family, bargains, and siblings is sure to get my attention. In The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina, Córdova slowly unfolds the branches of the family tree.

It's at times a reflection on experiences from our childhood that lose their shine. All while also being a story about the wonder of stories that seem to hide more than they speak. Of magic that destroys and creates. I found myself being unable to stop reading because of the dual timeline construction. I'd want to continue the story in the present day, or the intrigue from the past. It's a story which honors the ways the past impacts the present even while we're living it.
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“The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina” is thus far my favourite release of 2021.

This multi-generational story of family and fate was absolutely enchanting, on par with the greatest works of magic-realism masters like Sarah Addison Allen, Isabelle Allende, and Alice Hoffman.

Of course, the distinct South American flair made the story unique in its own right, and the beautiful description leant a breathtaking backdrop for Zoraida Cordova’s epic tale.

At times, the writing was so beautiful that I had to read it aloud, much to the chagrin of my patient partner, also attempting to read nearby.

This is the kind of story so intricate and rich that you want to revisit it again and again. And with each crack of the spine, I imagine that Orquidea Divina will feel more and more like an old friend.

If magic-realism is your cup of tea, this is the masterpiece you’ve been waiting for. It simply is not to be missed.
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The book cover read like my kind of thing. In fact, it read so much like my kind of thing, that a part of me was wary. Sometimes the books you feel are written for you, the ones you are sure you will love, can be the ones who disappoint you the most. This is most assuredly not the case with Zoraida Córdova‘s The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina, one of the few books I’ve ever gotten an advanced copy for that I read not once, but twice, but three full times before sitting down to write this review.

And yet, I find there’s very little I want to give away from this beautiful tale. Very little you should know going in, except, maybe, that this is the kind of book that will stay with you. In a way, it reminded me a lot of being a teenager reading Isabel Allende or Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But The Interitance of Orquídea Divina isn’t trying to be those books, even if there’s a lot of magical realism to it, if anything, it’s the worthy successor to a style of writing I fell in love with when I was young, and that I’ve had a harder time finding these days.

FEELS CLICHÉ TO SAY IT, BUT THERE’S A MAGIC TO THIS BOOK. THERE’S MAGIC IN THE BOOK TOO, BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT I MEAN.

It’s just …a way of living the story, a way of feeling it. Córdoba’s adult debut feels wholly different from her other books, and yet, at the same time, it feels strangely familiar. Like we know this writer, we understand her. Even if we hadn’t had a chance to read this particular version of her writing before.

We all have books that shaped us. When I read the blurb for The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina my eyes first strayed to the “perfect for fans of …Isabel Allende” part. That part expected this book to be similar in vein to Allende’s most well-know novel, The House of the Spirits, a novel I personally adore. Instead, it reminded me more of Allende’s Portrait in Sepia. For some, this might seem like a step down. For me, however, it was the opposite way around. Portrait in Sepia just happens to be my favorite Allende book, and one of my favorite books all-around.

It’s not just about the family, not in that book, and not in The Interitance of Orquídea Divina, even though in many ways, it is. It’s not just about one person, either – the book follows the Montoya family throughout generations and very different settings, from Ecuador to New York City to Four Rivers. And it’s not even about the magic that surrounds the family, or it’s titular character.

INSTEAD THE BOOK IS ABOUT ALL THOSE THINGS, ABOUT THE TIES THAT BIND US TOGETHER, AND ALSO ABOUT THE THINGS THAT MAKE EVERYONE SPECIAL, ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

However, I want to make one thing clear. If I’ve frightened you with my comparison with some of the pillars of Latin American literature, this book turns out to be the best of both worlds. I will fight anyone who has anything bad to say about Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, but I fully understand that book isn’t for everyone. The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina, however, is a much easier, and in many ways, just as enchanting read.

The mystery will captivate some. The magic will draw in others. The bonds between people will probably be enough to draw in whoever is left. And if, for some reason, those things don’t make you want to open the book, give it a try just for this: the writing is the kind that makes the things you’re reading come to life in front of you. The kind that breathes life into stories, into characters.

And if you do perhaps, like me, you will close the last page and realize the Montoyas haven’t left you. If so, all I can say is …take a moment and open the book again. I did, and I don’t regret it one bit.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Rating: 5 out of 5.
The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina is available today, wherever books are sold.
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This was a family saga I loved and I enjoyed the characters in this and how imperfect and how the history unraveled! And the writing was gorgeous!
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I can count on the fingers of one hand the amount of times a book has made me slow down because I simply didn't want it to end, and The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina was most definitely one of those books.⁠
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I knew before I even started it that this was my kind of read: there's dark, stunning magical realism, a big complicated family, and a mysterious matriarch with a life full of secrets.⁠
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But it takes an insane amount of talent to turn an abstract concept into a beautifully executed story, and that's exactly what Zoraida Córdova did. She breathed life into these women, into Four Rivers, into the big old house where Orquídea lived. I felt like I was there, and boy, did I want to be a part of the family!⁠
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I don't want to say too much because the less you know going into it, the better, but I can say this is one of my favorite books of 2021, and if you enjoy the works of writers like Alice Hoffman and Isabel Allende, then it might become a favorite of yours, too.⁠
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The one thing that I wish I could change was the length of the book; I just wish it had been longer. Not due to pacing issues or anything of the sort, but because I would've loved to read more about Orquídea's other husbands and her life after her first marriage. I felt like that was a missing piece. ⁠
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But all in all, this book was an absolute delight, and I highly, highly recommend it if you're into magical realism.
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This was a delight. And by delight I mean heart wrenching. I couldn't put it down because I just had to know how this would end. I loved the family element in this and how that is explored.

The reason I shaved off a few points is because I really wanted certain aspects to have been explored just a bit more. Like if we had just a few more scenes with a certain character.

I highly recommend this if you're sitting on the fence because this is a trip.
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Zoraida Córdova’s The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina is lyrical, magical, storytelling. Orquídea is dying, and summons her family to her home for their inheritance. Some are wary, some are greedy, some are curious; none know what exactly that inheritance entails. Nobody can explain how she wound up at the Kansas valley that seemingly sprouted house and garden overnight, nor the magical gifts that show up on some of her progeny.

Born to a single mother, Orquídea has always felt unmoored and unwanted, but never more so than when her mother marries a man who ignores Orquídea’s existence. So much so that she runs away and joins the circus. She falls in love, is betrayed, and exacts revenge.

And now her past has caught up to her, and her children (and grandchildren) may have to pay for her actions.

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina is a story about love. Of a child for her mother. Of a woman for a man. It is the story of wrongs and regrets, of sorrow and redemption. And it is a story of hope.

I enjoyed Córdova’s weaving the improbable and the mythical into this tale of a young girl’s courage to change what she couldn’t abide, and live with the consequences (although she did avoid it as long as she could).

drey’s rating: Excellent!
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This story is beautiful, full stop. It's such a rich family tapestry, woven in past and present, through generations, and I positively adored it. It's magical realism done right, and incredibly full of culture. Not only are the characters complex on their own, but their entire family unit is so well developed that it's a main element of the story in itself. 

When they learn that polarizing matriarch Orquídea is dying, and requests their attendance at her homestead one last time, there are understandably mixed feelings. Orquídea's personal history is long and complex, and she wasn't always the most comforting figure, though it is certainly clear that she loved for and cared for her family. Some family members can see the good in her, and some can't look past their own feelings that she wronged them with her unorthodox life. 

But as family reunites to say goodbye, they are in for far more than they'd bargained for. It leads them down roads of magic, and all the way to Ecuador, to learn the history of prior generations. Not everything is as cut and dry as they may have thought, and both Orquídea and her descendants find themselves making some truly rough decisions, both in the name of family and survival. 

Bottom Line: This story includes phenomenal writing, complex and well-developed characters who I fell in love with, and just such a beautiful and moving story of generations of women struggling to save themselves and their loved ones.
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There is so much I did love about this book, but I felt it needed a stronger edit. 

The characters are wonderful and fun of personality, and the names are awesome. The magic is delightful, and I am always excited to travel somewhere new in a book.

A lot of the writing was clunky, which was my main issue with the book. The material is amazing, but I think it needed more direction and clarity.

Last (small) note- the cover is lovely, but it seemed to veer YA- which this book doesn't seem to be marketed as.  A little confusing.

I am excited to see what comes next from this author, as this is definitely my kind of book!

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the review copy!
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Thank you to Atria Books for my NetGalley ARC and Libro.fm for my ALC of The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina! This gorgeous cover and the comparison to Isabel Allende made me read this book, and I was not disappointed.

Pub date: Sept 7, BOTM pick for August

In one sentence: Orquídea Divina, the secretive and magical matriarch of the Montoya family, invites her family to her house and then transforms, leaving them with lots of questions...and a bit of their own magic.

Reading and listening to this book was such a pleasure. The magical realist elements drew me in, and I was eager to learn more about the world of Orquídea. I loved the multiple timelines in the book - present day, covering Orquídea's descendants, and the past timeline showing how she became "Divina". Narrator Frankie Corzo's voice perfectly matched Córdova's musical prose and felt very fitting given the strong oral traditions of Latin America. I could imagine Orquídea telling me her story as I listened. I think you can't go wrong with text or audio, whichever you choose.

This book is like a puzzle - I was a little confused at the beginning as I tried to sort out all the characters and how they were related. Looking back, this mirrored how Orquídea's descendants felt dealing with her sudden transformation. Slowly but surely, more elements were revealed and the puzzle began to take shape as the book built to a satisfying conclusion. This would be a great book club read - there's so much to discuss!

Readers who love magical realism will love this book, but I hope other readers who love family sagas/multigenerational novels and fantasy will take a chance on it to learn what inheritance Orquídea left behind.
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This was such a great book! It's about Orquidea who invites the Montoyas to her funeral to collect their inheritance where later gifts are manifested to the children and now there is a person who is trying to kill Orquidea's bloodline. Now they travel to find secrets she has kept. When I heard about this book and read the summary, I knew I had to read it! It sounds so good, am I right? I enjoyed the author's writing in this book and how she included diverse characters. The setting was amazing and I loved learning about the world. I do have to say that at some points the family line did get confusing for me but the map that was provided, which did help me out. Also, I enjoyed how this book gave off dark family vibes as there are so many secrets that need to be discovered. It gave me vibes of a recent book I have read, We Are the Brennans.

This book is written in multiples povs and the main characters are Marimas, Rey, Tatinelly, and Rhiannon. I enjoyed each character in this book and also their character development. I enjoyed the multigenerational pov and story as you can see what has happened in the past that has now conflicted with the future. This is the part where the family line got a little confusing but once you understand then you are very interested in the story. There were also some great side characters in this book but I felt they weren't majorly involved in the story. Also, there is some romance in this book that isn't super detailed but for romance lovers, I want to let you know that there is some in it. Also, I want to say that I very enjoyed the family theme in this book!

The ending was well done for this book which I can also see why some readers didn't enjoy it when I heard it on my social media. Overall this book was greatly written with very few minor problems. For an adult book with magic realism and dark vibes, this is probably one of my favorites. I totally recommend reading this book if you love Furyborn and The Once and Future Witches.
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The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina was magical realism at its finest, and I absolutely adored this tale of family, heart-break, and love. I’ve been a huge fan of Zoraida Córdova’s writing for a while (100% recommend the Brooklyn Brujas series) but this book truly takes her writing to the next level. These characters burst off the page, and they were all so distinct. The plot is difficult to describe, but I was completely hooked and couldn’t wait to find out how it ended. 

Definitely would recommend this one! I loved it so much that I bought a physical copy after finishing my eARC.
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Magical realism isn’t usually my thing, but I couldn’t resist that unbelievably gorgeous cover. And I am ever so glad I picked this book up. It’s about generational trauma and making a home and family secrets, about how bringing those secrets into the light can wound and heal.

“Orquídea was so many things: evasive, silent, mean, secretive, loving, and a liar.”


Orquídea Montoya was born unlucky, but early on she decided to change her fate. She arrived in the dry and dusty town of Four Rivers one day, and by the next a house and garden had magically grown on the land. And then she settled down to raise her children and grandchildren, all of whom eventually left home, until they receive a summons to her funeral. They return to find their home in shambles, and Orquídea, well, changed. But even then, she refuses to reveal her secrets, like Marimar’s father’s identity or why she’s stayed in Four Rivers all her life. Haunted by Orquídea’s last words – “protect your magic” – her children and grandchildren return (mostly) to their lives, irrevocably changed. But what – or who – are they supposed to protect their magic from?

“What broke your heart so completely that its splinters found their way through generations?”


The book expertly weaves together multiple POV characters, in the present with her grandchildren Marimar, Rey and Tatinelly, and sequentially through Orquídea’s past. Rather than being abrupt, the changes felt seamless. Each of the characters find resonance in bits of their grandmother’s story, from the feeling of being forced from the only home you’ve known to feeling like an exotic creature on display. Each bit of Orquídea’s past they discover unlocks something inside of them, slowly revealing the reasons – and the love and pain – behind her actions. I adored Marimar, the woman who wished for just a little bit of her grandmother’s magic, and Rey, who wished to be an artist but settled instead for the stability of being an accountant. They’re technically cousins, but are more like siblings as Marimar went to live with Rey’s family after her mother died. The warmth of their relationship, how obvious it was that they loved each other even if years would pass between when they’d last seen each other in person, was a balm in a sometimes thorny book. In contrast, Tatinelly’s biggest wish was to be ordinary, so she married in to a very normal family, content, at first, to be far from the magic of Four Rivers. Drawn together by the mystery of who Orquídea was, and then later hunted by one of the secrets from her past, they’re a patchwork kind of family linked together by love and loss.

“There is nothing brighter than a wish. It comes from true hope. Humanity is so full of that. Desperate hope. Joyous hope. Even those in anguish, especially those in anguish, I should say, have hope. It’s the anticipation that tomorrow will be better than the next day.”


Magical realism doesn’t always work for me. Sometimes books seem to lean into the “oh hey yes, that’s just how it is” without any explanation. But in this book, while many of Orquídea’s actions initially seem inexplicable, the reasons behind them become clear as the book progresses. Orquídea means orchid, and the floral symbolism is overt, from the magical roses that bloom (or don’t) on some of her descendants, to the continued talk about putting down roots, to thorns. A family tree can be a complicated, beautiful thing, and the author displays a deep understanding of that, a lot of it through gorgeous and incisive prose. A young Orquídea is described as “a whisper of a girl who wanted to become a scream.” She yearns to be “rooted so deep into the earth that nothing, no human, no force of nature, save an act of the heavens themselves, could rip her out.” And it definitely would’ve taken an act of the heavens to get me to put this book down once it got going! I found the beginning, with the introduction of all of Orquídea’s descendants, a bit slow, but after only a few chapters I was completely entranced. The differences between Orquídea as a child and Orquídea as Marimar and Rey know her were intriguing, and the tension built slowly but progressively until it culminated in a shocking last few chapters.

“Some people were meant for great, lasting legacies. Others were meant for small moments of goodness, tiny but that rippled and grew in big, wide ways.”


Overall, I’d be surprised if this book doesn’t make it on multiple top-ten lists for the year. It’s beautiful and gripping and deeply real, and it left me contemplating what, exactly was Orquídea’s inheritance to her family – and what I want my own family inheritance to be.

I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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A mix of magical realism, fantasy, mystery, and family drama, this enchanting novel has a little bit for everyone. After receiving bird-delivered notes from the family matriarch, Orquidea Divina, the Montoya family gathers at her home in Four Rivers, USA, to find out what she will be leaving them when she dies. Orquidea is a five-time married woman who lives in a magical house. When her large family gathers, they're astounded to see that she's started to turn into a tree. Before dying, she warns her family that a shadowy force from her past is coming for them and they need to "take back their power" to defeat him. Through two timelines--Orquidea's childhood and the lives of two cousins from her family--we learn about how Orquidea ended up in Four Rivers and also how a choice she made in the past has serious reverberations for her family in the future, particularly her grandchildren Rey and Marimar.

This story intrigued me from the start, especially with the magic-infused storyline and the mysterious character of Orquidea. It was a bit slow to get started, but once Rey, Marimar and crew were on their way to Ecuador to learn more about Orquidea's family and life, things picked up and I was immersed in the "who is the Big Bad" storyline. The characters are complex, the locales (and descriptions of the food, structures, and magical entities) are vivid, and the magical aspects of the story are engrossing. I really enjoyed how the main characters' personal growth was tied to the discovery and acceptance of their magical family, particularly the grandmother they truly did not know. I'm looking forward to more adult stories from this talented author!
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Zoraida Córdova's The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina begins with a letter. Orquídea Montoya is dying, so she calls her relatives to her home in Four Rivers to claim their inheritance. She’s lost touch with most of them, driven them away with her secret keeping and stubbornness. Still, each has been marked in some way by their relationship.

Orquídea’s home is fueled by magic, a magic she brought with her when she moved to Four Rivers from Ecuador decades ago. And then she never left. When her family—and especially her grandchildren Marimar, Rey, and Tatinelly—arrive, they find that Orquídea is becoming a tree, transforming as she sits, helpless in the center of her home. 

Though the story begins in the present, it’s haunted by the past, by the curse that followed Orquídea and demanded her silence. As her grandchildren (and eventually Tatinelly’s daughter, Rhiannon) investigate the curse that has now been passed on to her family, and we see—in alternating chapters—the path that led Orquídea to a home she never left. There’s a circus and a man made of starlight, abandonment from those she loves, betrayal and discrimination. Driving it all is her determination to find love, to become strong, to protect herself from being hurt, even when that drive comes with painful, permanent sacrifices.

This book is magic. I loved learning Orquídea’s story, loved seeing the way that her strength—even when it made her difficult—also found its way into those she loved. I loved the strange details of the book (for example, Marimar and Rey and Rhiannon have flowers growing from, respectively, their throat, hand, and forehead). I loved the search for identity and the way that’s both entwined with and separate from characters’ ancestors. It’s a beautiful, beautiful book. The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina is my first book by Zoraida Córdova, but I’m now eager to dive into her substantial backlist, to find more of the storytelling that I so appreciated here.
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The Montoya family never expected to have answers in life. The matriarch never left the family home in Four Rivers, and yet the larders were always full, the fields always yielded plenty, and there was always room for family. She invited the family to her home to receive their inheritance, which manifests in different ways seven years later. Someone is picking off the Montoya descendants, so four of them return to Ecuador, where Orquídea had left her secrets behind without ever looking back.

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina is a tale where magic is real, laced throughout Orquídea and her family, the children and grandchildren and great-granddaughter. Most get seeds to plant, which grow in time. It's the magic of talented people, from those able to talk easily with people and twins that are gifted songwriters, to the living flowers that Marimar, Rey, and Rhiannon have. Orquídea tells stories in elliptical ways so that on her transformation her descendants don't truly know her. Collecting the half stories, they try tracking down the past and the fears she left behind.

In looking for the past and who Orquídea used to be, Marimar comes into her own. Rey isn't afraid of himself, and Rhiannon shines. They discover what their grandmother had been running from, and finally learn the truth behind her silence. It's only in the family coming together that allows them to survive and learn the truth, a poetic way to conclude this tale. 

Zoraida Córdova paints a magical place for this book, weaving Orquídea's past through to the present as well as her descendants. The pages flow, and the characters really grab hold of you to make you love them. While reading this book they're your family, too, and maybe some of their magic can bleed out through the pages into your life.
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I picked this one recently because it was compared to Alice Hoffman (the author of Practical Magic) and I needed a little bit of magic in my life. But what I received was something way more and way better than the magical books I've been reading.

This story was definitely a stunner and I had so much fun reading it and getting to know The Montoyas. I'm so blown away by the writing, the story, and the characters. I've read Zoraida Cordova before, but this felt like nothing I've read from her in the past. Well, mostly that's also because I was reading her YA fantasy fiction and not her adult novels.

And this delivered! The writing is gorgeous, the pacing is beautiful (up until the end where it got rushed), the mystery was mysterious (albeit a bit predictable), and all together such a great read. It was not necessarily a fantasy book, but I wouldn't call it magical realism either. There was magic, for sure, but it definitely felt more like a fantasy. I would go as far as say science fiction, even! But this genre blending book definitely gave me all the feels.

I loved Marimar, Rey, and Rhiannon as they journey from their grandmother's small home in Four Rivers to Ecuador and find out more about what happened to her. From the flowers growing out of their bodies to the ultimate power they release at the end, it truly blew my mind to read their whole story. Reading about Marimar and Rey, especially, and the lives they lived through their family traumas and dramas made the story so much more relatable to me. I felt so much for both of these characters and the middle ground they found themselves stuck in. And as they were searching for their grandmother's past, they were learning so much about themselves in the process. It was really beautiful.

The family dynamics between them all plus all of Orquidea's other children and grandchildren reminded me so much of my own family. While I came from a patriarchy rather than a matriarchy, the close-knit bond I have with my aunts and uncles and cousins is a stronger relationship than I've had with any friend in my life. And I loved that Marimar and Rey were cousins, but were best friends as well. It really brought home the family bits that really pulled at my heartstrings.

Written in a dual timeline, you read both Orquidea's origin story and the story of her grandchildren as they try to uncover their grandmother's mysterious past. But you get first-hand experience on the life Orquidea lived and while it felt like such an adventure, there were some pitfalls she found herself in. It was sad and a little cringey (I could feel my toes curl when the villain finally showed itself), I still rooted for her to find her path, find love, and find a life where she's wanted and cared for.

The mystery component was a little bit disappointing, but I still loved it. This is where it felt more like a magical story. There was an ominous quality to the mysterious stranger who stalked Marimar, Rey, Rhiannon and her parents, and it was really interesting to see how that turned out.

Overall, I highly recommend this book if you're a fan of magic, mystery, a little bit of history, and sweeping family stories. I hope this becomes a movie because I can already see all of this playing so perfectly in my head.
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I got a box from Simon and Schuster with 6 ARC’s in it. This one I had already had in my cart for my September book order for the library. I have never read anything by this author and thought I would read this first. It was a little slow in the beginning but then it started to get where I couldn’t put it down. The premise of it was like nothing I’ve ever had read. I mostly stick to thrillers, mystery, historical fiction. I loved the back story of Orquidea, what she went through as a child. Her wanting to escape from her mom and stepfather. All the secrets that the cousins had to uncover in order to save their family. Miramar wanting so bad to find out anything about her her father. It was a great read. I loved how it took place in different countries and the background scenes that the author describes makes you visualize it perfectly.I’m am trying to get more diverse authors into our library. The one would be great on display for Hispanic Heritage Month, which is right around the corner.
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