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The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina

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Member Reviews

I wanted to love this book, I really really did. That being said, the writing was just impossible for me to get into. The first 40 pages I was intrigued by the story enough to overlook the disconnect I was feeling with the writing, but then it felt like the plot slowed down, making it a lot harder to get through. Overall this was just not the book for me and I don’t think this is the right author for me.
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To be honest I was a little weary in requesting this title because I was not a fan of the author's YA work. However, the premise seemed too good to pass up

I am so glad I went with my gut! What an amazing trip this story turned out to be. Cordova's writing was phenomenal. From the dark humor to the straight out witty, the dramatic to the fantastical! It was all about flawless. 👏👏👏👏
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Included as a top pick in bimonthly September New Releases post, which highlights and promotes upcoming releases of the month (link attached)
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I have been a HUGE fan of Zoraida Córdova since reading The Hollow Crown series, and The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina did NOT disappoint. 

This was such a quick and easy read, I did not want to put it down. It has multiple points of view, switching between Orquídea’s past and her families present, the story follows what family really means and what family will do to protect each other.

The magic in this book sucks you in from the first page from the beautiful story of power, secrets and love.
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Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.

Within paragraphs of starting the fantasy The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova, with its references to a magical home and a family in a “magic-adjacent” town almost everyone loses memory of, I knew I would love it.

The Montoyas are notorious in Four Rivers & Orquídea, the matriarch and a witch, is the most notorious of all. She built her home there decades before, she’s buried four husbands there, & she’s raised a brood of children & grandchildren, most of whom are alienated from her & have complicated associations of the woman who was so hard to reach emotionally.

Then, cousins Marimar & Rey & others receive a summons from Orquídea—she is dying. They return home & learn of their inheritance, which includes a mystery & a threat they don’t explore until 7 years later, when it becomes too pressing & dangerous to ignore.

Who was Orquídea, really, this amazing woman/figure who left Ecuador so long ago? What was her life? & who did she run from? Who should they be scared of?

Told gorgeously, at times luminous & dark & hopeful & filled with the emotional inheritances of family—the joy & burden of claiming others & being claimed by family, to use the language of the book--The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina is a special read & one that shines with magic.

5 ⭐️. Release date: 09/07.


CW: murder; imprisonment; infidelity.

[ID: a white hand holding an ecopy of the book in front of a front of a Mountain view & low-hanging clouds.]
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The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina has everything I want in a magical realism- whimsical storytelling, complex family dynamics, and intriguing characters! 

It spans the life of Orquídea Divina Montoya, as her family discovers the mystery of her life along with the reader. The magic woven throughout was unique; at some point, the characters sprout flowers from their bodies.

The characters were distinct and were fully developed, and even side characters had some sort of arc throughout the book; they were flawed, but that is what makes the reader grow attached to them. The author also shows different types of strength, not just physical strength. The story's villain creeps up on the reader, and it takes a while to realize who it is and why. 

The writing was beautiful, but I did have to reread some passages to fully grasp what had happened.

The story is moving and tells the story of an imperfect family but shows the love that exists there.
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Thank you NetGalley and Atria Books for the ARC!

This story was simply magical. I don’t remember the last time I read such an original book.

I loved that we got to follow so many point of views of the Montoya family and past and present so flawlessly. 

Magic, curses, circus, family, death, art, travel, nature….I could go on and on, but I have no desire to spoiler anyone. 

Highly recommended, 5 stars!
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The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina is the latest novel by Zoraida Córdova, the prolific Ecuadorian-American fantasy writer, whose YA works (for example, Brooklyn Brujas) I've been enjoying a lot this year (having now read 4 of them this year alone).  This is however, not a YA novel, it's a fantasy/magical-realism novel featuring mostly a family of mostly adult characters, with the family headed by an Ecuadorian matriarch and potential witch who came to live in a small town in America decades ago.  

It's a fascinating novel filled with themes of family and bonds, and the pain of both not knowing where you came from.....and worse not actually being wanted and cared for by those who should be family.  For all those themes, the novel sometimes verges into horror territory (do not expect everyone to survive), but this works fairly well, as the novel tells essentially two narratives: the past story of how the family matriarch, bastard and unwanted daughter, became who she is, and the present story of how her sprawling descendants must now deal with the consequences of her actions.  It's a really well done novel with some strong characters, and well worth the advance hype that I've seen online. 

 -------------------------------------------------Plot Summary-------------------------------------------------------
Decades ago, Orquídea Divina Montoya, a woman from Ecuador, arrived at the fertile valley outside the small town of Four Rivers.  And somehow, perhaps magically, a beautiful house and fertile land sprang up where she put down roots, causing whispers the town to whisper of witchcraft.  But Orquídea Divina never bothered anybody, and years past, and her family grew and spread outwards across the nation, leaving her and Four Rivers behind.  

Now, that same family, some cast out bitterly from Four Rivers, and others still with fond feelings, find a surprise at their doors: an invitation back to Four Rivers to claim their inheritance from the dying Orquídea.  For Marimar Montoya, that means a return to the house she fled in anger after her mother's drowning; for her best friend and cousin Rey Montoya Restrepo, it means a return to the woman who lied to him; for the pregnant Tatinelly Sullivan, it means a return to the fierce grandmother she always admired just in time for her to know her newest great grandchild.  

But what the three of them, and the rest of the large family of Montoyas, could never expect is how the magical gifts Orquídea will bestow upon them all will transform them forever....if the Divina's past deeds don't catch up to them first.  For Orquídea Divina was cursed with bad luck as a child, a bastard girl unwanted by her mother, and she changed that luck and her destiny through acts and bargains, whose cost has yet to be truly paid......
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The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina is a novel set within multiple time periods, with the story jumping back between them as the novel goes on.  You have the present timeline, told from the third person perspectives of Rey, Marimar, and less frequently Tatinelly and then you have the timeline of Orquídea's childhood and early life, told from the perspective of a seemingly omniscient narrator (with it jumping at time between various point of views.).  Naturally the past storyline affects the present, as Orquídea's acts back then eventually come back to haunt her and her descendants, and the past storyline slows down to reveal exactly what happened just in time for those reveals to occur to the present characters - a structure that should be familiar, but works really well.  

And it works really well again, because this book's characters and themes are excellent.  In the present timeline you have Marimar, the young woman who is sort of lost in her current life (as a failed novelist in New York), who only wanted to know who her father is, and how her mother - a extremely good swimmer - could actually die by drowning.  Marimar longs to know her past and the truth, and wants more from her family and its magic.  Rey is bitter about the magic, and gave up art to be an accountant, but really did want to be an artist and to find a guy to settle down with, so his grandmother's interference, reminding him of the father he lost, is not appreciated.  And Tatinelly is actually happy, having wanted to settle down and have a child from a young age, and having done exactly that, and wants to show her grandmother and her family what she has done.  They're all people with memories and distinct feelings about family, and even the side family members all have their own opinions on the grandmother who seemingly kicked them out the moment they decided to move away - it's a family that feels real as fantastic events keep happening and start to threaten their lives.

And then there's Orquídea herself, who was a child born out of wedlock in Ecuador and always treated like a burden by her mother, and then her stepdad and stepsiblings.  Orquídea was bright, capable, and good hearted, helping the fisherman and people in the village, but she could not find the love she craved, and she went on in search of it forever.  And this neglect carried on through her own life, such that the older Orquídea did do some of it to her own grandkids, even though she tried to be better, especially once she got her hands on magical abilities.  You desperately feel for Orquídea as you learn more about her past, even as you see how much her actions and words hurt some of her grandchildren - she deserved far better, and her acts here are an attempt to make amends and change her descendants' future.  

And this leads to a plot that, warning does verge on Horror at quite a few times, resulting in the deaths of multiple relevant characters in the story.  But it does in the service of a story about the importance of family, of caring about each other, and about the power of such bonds, as contrasted to the pain of being forced to grow up and live without people to care for you and to care about.  For Orquídea growing up, she didn't have anyone, and as she ran away and became an adult, the person she thought would care for her, who she grew to love first, failed to honor that responsibility.  And Orquídea's mother's neglect stemmed in part from her own mother's neglect, and it is something that despite her best efforts Orquídea passed on to a much smaller extent to her kids and grandchildren.  But unlike her, those grandchildren are able to come together and find something in one another, despite their very differences.  And that leads them to a new and better path.  

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina is a novel that has some flaws, and the less you think about the reality of some of the plot events the better (one example: where is the money the characters would need to live/travel like this coming from?  I have no idea).  But the themes and characters are strong, the world is great, and the conclusion surprises and works rather well.  Definitely a book worthy of the hype.
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I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley and am voluntarily posting a review. All opinions are my own. 

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina is a beautifully written adult debut from Zoraida Córdova, and objectively, I have no complaints. It’s atmospheric and hypnotic, sweeping the reader  into the Ecuadorian riverside setting. 

But this is very much a slow-burn, and it really takes time to get invested. I really enjoyed the overall themes and plot points with the family bonds and digging into the mysteries of Orquídea’s life, but more on a broad, basic level, especially with the story frequently going back and forth in time. I found reading about Orquídea’s past a bit more interesting than the present, as the latter involved parsing out the multiple family members who I wasn’t attached to, while I found myself more easily invested in a younger Orquídea. The final part of the book leaning more in favor of her memories definitely helped me feel more engaged by that point. 

I also felt like it was a bit dense to the point of some of it going over my head style wise…but that could just as easily be a feature, not a bug, for the book, as “true” magical realism isn’t something I pick up often. 

I’ve read a few of Zoraida Córdova’s YA books, so I’m glad to see her branching out into new styles and subgenres for an older audience, even if it doesn’t entirely work for me. But fans of magical realism will definitely enjoy this a lot more!
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Within an iron cage stood the figure made of light that she’d seen at every show, every night from a distance. A trick, she’d thought at first. But now she wondered at him. Beneath the light, she could see his eyes. Incandescent, the like the swirls of a galaxy trapped within his irises.”

The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina by Zoraida Cordova tells the story of a family.  As Orquidea Montoya is dying she calls her relatives, her descendants back to her home, a place she has not left since she was established there, to get their inheritance.  They all have known that Orquidea is magic, that things with her are not the same as with everyone else.  They have heard stories back to her childhood of how she made her way through the world differently.  And her death only confirms all of this about her.  This book tells her story and the story of those that come after her as they try to piece together what led Orquidea to this place and the roots of her magic.

This book is truly enchanting.  I don’t think I can say enough about how much this story draws you in and lives with you.  I would read a thousand books about this family if it was possible, they are so fascinating and complicated.  The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina book is definitely on my list of favorite reads of this year and I recommend it for everyone.  It gets a million zillion stars from me.

This review has already been shared on Goodreads and will be shared on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and my Instagram page after its release.
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I had so much trouble getting into this book. I made it about half way but I don't think its for me.
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The writing was exquisite and descriptive, flowing just like the scenery in Four Rivers! I think the writing and the characterization were the strongest elements of this book, and I am excited for it's publication date - and especially excited that it is a BOTM pick! Fitting. 

Full review on Goodreads
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When Orquidea Divina dies, she leaves behind questions, mysteries and a fractured, resentful family. She leaves behind magic, silence, solitude, debts and an enemy.

"The Montoyas are used to a life without explanations. They know better than to ask why the pantry never seems to run low or empty, or why their matriarch won’t ever leave their home in Four Rivers—even for graduations, weddings, or baptisms. But when Orquídea Divina invites them to her funeral and to collect their inheritance, they hope to learn the secrets that she has held onto so tightly their whole lives. Instead, Orquídea is transformed, leaving them with more questions than answers."

The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina is a lush read. The shifts through time and points of view gave me a feeling that everything was happening at once, but also slowly unfolding petal by petal. Time winds and rewinds through the story, through the lives of the Montoyas. It adds layers to the story, but no illumination, until the pieces are in place.

For all it’s fluidity, time is important, if only because Orquidea is born at a moment of cosmic convergence granting her the worst of luck – an unwanted bastard child. Place is important, too. Orquidea raises herself on the banks of the river running through Guayaquil, Ecuador and then raises her family in the dying valley she brings back to life in the middle of the American Midwest. The house in Four Rivers is the place she could never leave and the heart of the family, though most of her children and grand children leave in frustration.

I’m sure other people will have very smart things to say about symbolism and generational trauma. I got caught up in the story. Zoraida Cordova winds the tension so slowly around your throat that you don’t realize your caught until you are. She moves so effortlessly from the magical to the commonplace that some magical elements seem perfectly normal, while others are shocking. This one is going to end up on a lot of best of 2021 lists.
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⭐MINI SPOILER FREE REVIEW⭐

The Montoyas are an odd family with an even odder matron: Orquidea. When Orquidea gives them their inheritance, Marimar, Rey, Tatinelly, and Rhiannon all manifest their gifts differently. But something dark begins to loom taking the family one by one unless they uncover the secret of Orquidea's past.
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Switching between the past and present, we see Orquidea's story in past chapters while the present gives us Marimar, Rey, and Tatinelly's POV. The more I read, the more I found myself immersed in the magic of this family and the intrigue on unmasking Orquidea's secretive past.
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The narrative was beautifully done. There was so much culture and history effortlessly intertwined in the plot of the book. It was a taste of not only Zoraida's power with the words but also her heritage and her people. There was beauty in the characters as well as beauty in the story.
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I have no words to properly describe how masterful this book was to me. Its everything an adult magic-realism story should be.  Zoraida's years of writing her other books were training for this one. Please do yourselves a favor and add this to your TBR. You want to read it.

5 ⭐ STARS8
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Marimar has never felt like she’s known her grandmother, Orquídea. Not really. She’s just a mysterious figure who tells fairy stories and won’t leave the valley Marimar grew up in. But when Marimar and the rest of her family receive a letter telling them to return to the valley, to witness Orquídea’s death and to receive their inheritance, suddenly Marimar finds herself heading back home. In addition to a gift, however, the family receives a warning, to protect what’s theirs. But from whom?

I received an advanced reading copy of The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina in exchange for an honest review.

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina is a novel by Zoraida Córdova. It’s an adult novel, and is magical realism. It also dives deep into Latinx roots and family, so as soon as I saw this book announced, I knew I had to read it.

I’ve read one other of Córdova’s books before, and really enjoyed it. So when I picked up The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina, I was expecting something similar. It turned out to be completely different, but also one of those books that I finished but it left me with a warm and happy feeling, longing to be able to write as Córdova does.

It’s so hard to think about what to mention first. Should I talk about the narrative structure? The setting? The characters? The themes? There’s just so much in this book that I enjoyed that I really want to discuss!

I guess it would be easiest to start with the narrative structure. The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina tells two stories: that of how Orquídea became who she was, and that of her grandkids trying to solve the mystery of who she was. It was great to have these both going on at the same time, actually. It almost put the reader into the characters’ shoes, where I slowly learned more and more about Orquídea as the others did.

Then we have the setting. We have here both Ecuador and a small town called Four Rivers in the United States. Two completely different places, but both came alive as I read. And both had a very healthy dose of magic in them, which certainly helped them come to life for me! I loved how Córdova wound these two places together. They are, after all, quite distinct locations with little to show in terms of similarities. But the Montoya family were connected to both, and had roots in both locations. The book honestly made me feel homesick for the places where I have my own roots, for my own family.

Because, in the end, so much of this story is about family. We have Orquídea, who constantly seeks a place to belong, where she’ll be loved. We have Marimar, searching for answers about her roots, about where she comes from. We have all the others, wondering about their mother and grandmother, about their lives. Every character in this book might have had a very different path from the others, but blood always drew them together, made them one.

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina surprised me with its story, by bringing so much magic into this family and having it fit perfectly. It’s a book I’d definitely recommend to anybody looking for a good read.

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina will be released on September 7. You can preorder your copy from Atria Books here.
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Orquidea has fantastical elements and eccentric characters. It's a story about family, heritage, magic, finding oneself, and healing. It's about fixing mistakes and undoing heartache. It's about transformation. 
It's a book we creatives yearn for; storytelling at its finest. 
We can overcome the hurt and heartache of our past. 
It is my first read by author Zoraida Cordova but will not be my last. There's always a book that will make you feel seen and valid, and this is what Orquidea did for me.
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Wow. This was a great book with magic, mystery, and just a little bit of family drama thrown in for good measure! So many secrets, so many hidden things to find! Not super scary or bloody, I guess some people enjoy that. I, personally, prefer my mysteries with a little more danger thrown, but this book more than made up for it.
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Calling alll Alice Hoffman fans! This book is for you! Everything about this book screamed the Practical Magic series by Alice Hoffman. I believe The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina would be a fantastic fall book to choose to read. It’s not scary by any means, but instead full of magic and mystery. I enjoyed parts of this book and others I got so lost and couldn’t follow the writing. It’s a very wordy book which made parts of the story exhausting. However, the overall plot and ending made it all worth it to me.
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Reading The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina was a truly magical experience. From the very beginning of this book I was drawn in by the multigenerational story line, the hint of magic, and the threat of a family curse. I tried to read this book slowly to savor all of the magical moments,  but it was hard because I kept getting sucked back in. Hands down one of my favorite reads this year. 

I loved how Orquídea‘s story is explained to us. It’s nonlinear, but not at all confusing. Just when we think we are getting the full story another secret is revealed and suddenly there is another mystery to unravel. The Montoya clan are all easy to root for and I was cheering for them all to overcome the curse. Marimar, Rey and Rhiannon were  easy favorites. I celebrated and mourned alongside them the whole way through. 

The magical elements were some of my favorites and I loved the Latinx representations. If you love magical realism, stories of families overcoming obstacles (and curses) this is the book for you. I do wish we had a bigger “battle” at the end. That was the only thing that was really lacking. 

Thank you so much to NetGalley & the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this beautiful book. I can’t wait to check out more of this author’s work.
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I was kindly sent a digital ARC from the Publisher via Netgalley though all thoughts are my own.

This was quite the wild adventure of a book. I found myself caught up in the story from beginning to end and it was hard to put down because Zoraida has a way with words that kept me hooked.

I loved how Orquidea had a secret life that was slowly revealed to her family after her transformation and though each had mostly gone their own way once reading adulthood and then after the transformation, they came together as a family to try to protect each other.

I adore Marimar, Rhiannon and Tatinelly who are such strong ladies in their own ways and have unique magic that shows up throughout the book. My heart when out to Rhiannon when she lost her mom (Tatinelly) who died protecting her family from a terrible person.

Full of magic, mystery, the power of family, adventure, surprises and the power of love, it was quite the wild book and I highly recommend reading it. I really hope that there will be a sequel because there's so much more I'd love to learn about this family and this particular world of magic!

Trigger warnings: death, drowning, murder, curses, some violence, cheating, torture, car accident, suicide, death due to a plague, death of a child
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