Cover Image: The Hacienda

The Hacienda

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Member Reviews

The story of Beatriz and Andres versus the hacienda is full of suspense, unreliable characters, and  paranomal activity. I love a haunted house story and this one did not disappoint. Usually the main character is struggling to convince anyone else in the story of a haunting in haunted house stories. So it was refreshing for Beatriz to have an ally from the beginning. I enjoyed the historic pieces and the portrayal of the community as well. Great read!
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DNF at 59%. I don't read horror almost ever, but I was drawn in by the hype and comparisons to Mexican Gothic (which I haven't actually read). Not at all bad, just not for me!
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The comps to Rebecca and Mexican Gothic feel very accurate, but this book also stands on its own with a really compelling and intriguing story, with high stakes and plenty of terrifying moments that frankly exceed the scariness I ever felt with Mexican Gothic. This excellent debut, alongside a well told paranormal story, also serves as a piece of historical fiction illuminating a piece of history I'm less familiar with.
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At the end of the war for Mexican Independence, Beatriz's family is torn apart by the death of her father and the removal of Beatriz and her mother from their home. So Beatriz must find a way to a semblance of domestic and financial security through her marriage to Don Rodolfo Solórzano whose first wife has mysteriously died (red flag). Despite her mother's disapproval, Beatriz moves to Hacienda San Isidro with her husband, but the Hacienda is not what she expects as she is haunted (or hunted) by secrets hidden in the the walls of her new home. Alone and afraid, she finds refuge in the young priest (and witch) Andrés as she tries to navigate her new homestead. 
Told from the POV of Beatriz and Andrés, this book was a slow burn filled with witchcraft, superstitions, and mystery. The read-a-like of Mexican Gothic is spot-on as we follow our heroine who is just trying to survive her circumstances and a mysterious home trying to devour her. I thoroughly enjoyed this book with the dark mystery, fierce characters, and symbolism of trauma. Though the ending wasn't the pretty "wrapped-in-a-bow" conclusion in some aspects, I think it was fitting for the characters.
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Atmospheric!! One of tmy anticipated reads that did not disappoint.

Gothic genre really needs to be one of my focus this year!!
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This gave me all the gothic Mexican vibes that I'd hoped to get from Mexican Gothic but didn't (i.e. it actually felt Mexican, not just a Mexican main character dropped into a white, Euro setting surrounded by white Anglo people). Loved the atmosphere and history, the author's academic background definitely showed. Giving this 4 instead of 5 stars because it did feel a little thin. Like a padded novella. I felt like it was missing a layer, some complication or twist in the plot which was otherwise very straightforward, or some deeper interiority/character growth to make the read more satisfying. Still, I want this book to do well because I have been praying to the publishing gods for years for more books set in Mexico that aren't about cartels or tragic immigrants.
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What could have been better?
I wish we got more of Andrés POV, we got a fair bit but I wish it was every other chapter that it changed.

I wish there was more background of Juana and some more flashbacks about the history of the other people.

What I really liked?
I liked that the action and supernatural stuff began right away! There wasn’t a bunch of lead up, which I love, it got into the thick of it and gave all the chilling vibes!

I liked how she developed the setting and the mystery and the tension within the house…I could feel what Beatriz was feeling to my bones.

I liked how this book felt fast paced and the short chapters! It made me not want to put it down.

If you’re looking for a gothic and haunting story that’s fast paced and an easy read? I’d check this one out!

💕Favorite Quotes💕
“God knows nothing of loneliness, because God has never tasted companionship as mortals do. Clinging to one another in darkness so complete and sharp it scrapes flesh from bone, trusting one another even as the Devil’s breath bloom hot on their napes.”

3.75 rounded to 4
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The Hacienda was not what I was expecting, but I liked it and all the twists and turns it held. The writing itself was captivating, lyrical and descriptive in a way that made you feel like you were having the story told to you on a dark night. I wanted to learn more about the backgrounds of all the characters (including the house) because I felt like there was still a lot of information that we were not given and it made me feel like the story was slightly unresolved. As a horror story, I enjoyed it and felt like the twists were handled well; I wanted to learn more about everything!
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An atmospheric gothic tale filled with suspense and history. The novel takes place in the aftermath of the Mexican War of Independence. After the overthrow of the Mexican government Beatriz' father gets executed and loses her home. With no option, Beatriz and her mother move in with relatives who mistreat them. Wanting to build a better life for her and her mother she seizes the opportunity when the handsome Don Rodolfo Solorzano proposes. Once Beatriz is taken to his estate Hacienda it's not the dream home she was envisioning. As Rodolfo returns to work in the capital, things go awry. A shroud of darkness begins to envelop the Hacienda. Desperate for help, Beatriz requests help from a local young priest Padre Andres in exorcising this malevolent force residing in Hacienda. 

I truly enjoyed the gothic horror vibe Isabel Canas created. Filled with a rich and vibrant atmosphere that provided for an immersive experience. The haunting element was greatly detailed perfectly illustrating the terror and chilling experience. The pacing and the writing flowed and measured impeccably. What I most appreciated about this novel was the characteristic aspect Hacienda home represented itself. The home itself looms larger than life. "Hacienda" is also considered a historical fiction. It touches on colonialism and the negative aftermath. The plot in itself was entertaining and enthralling, but metaphorically it represents haunting not only as a supernatural element but the wounds it bleeds in the aftermath of colonialism. As Canas states "a house like Hacienda San Isidro was more than four walls, more than a home." Within the four walls lies the history of all the lives that reside there: heartache, the joy and the tragedy. It absorbs and stains the walls where the home itself breathes life on its own and creates a ghostlike rendition of our painful history that lingers. A captivating debut novel. I will be looking out for more of Canas' work in the near future. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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¡Ay, Dios mío! Being Mexican means being superstitious is part of my DNA. This book gave me all the vibes that I shouldn’t be reading it because my abuelita was going to come in my dreams and get mad at me. Brujería, curanderos, and exorcismo is something you don’t mess with because the espíritus will come after you. This book is a slow burn that heavily depicts the darker side of the Mexican culture.

Cañas did an excellent job in creating the dark atmosphere by using the hacienda as a dark character and blending mystery with cultural beliefs. I don’t think this is a horror book, because I’ve grown with these cultural knowings of espíritus and brujería, so I’ve never seen this as “horror.”
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I love a spooky gothic read and this book has been promoted as Mexican Gothic meets Rebecca so I went in with big expectations. Lucky for me this one lived up to them. 

This book has a lot going on, set against the backdrop of the Mexican Civil War, it can at times read very much like historical fiction. Since this is a period of history that I am not that familiar with, that aspect really intrigued me and I came away feeling like I had learned something, which is always a plus for me. 

One of my favorite aspects of Gothic literature is when the setting becomes a character and the Hacienda San Isidro is my favorite character in this book. The hacienda and it’s landscape are vividly portrayed and the creation of its dark and haunting atmosphere was reminiscent of Manderley in Rebecca. This is a slow burn that takes the time to slowly let the atmosphere develop in a masterful way until the terror of the hacienda reaches is a fever pitch that does not let the reader out of its horrifying grasp until the very end. 

Between the magnificent portrayal of a sense of place and her evocative prose, Canas has done done a wonderful job of evoking the classic gothic horror novel. I really cannot say more about this one as it must be experienced and I don’t want to give anything away. While this book does remind me a lot of Rebecca, it stands on its own. A combination of historical fiction and gothic horror with a dash of Latin style, I found this book to be unique and one that I will remember. I highly recommend this one to lovers of haunted house novels and all things spooky. 
Thank you to @netgalley @berkleypub and for this advanced ebook.
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I had trouble getting into this book, it was just a little too slow moving for me. I think their are reader's for it and it pairs well for people who liked Mexican Gothic.
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Thank you to Netgalley for this review copy. This review will also be posted to my Goodreads page. After the Mexican government is overthrown and her father is killed, Beatriz's options are few. She is offered marriage by Don Rodolfo Solorzano who moves her to his residence: Hacienda San Isidro. When her husband is called back to work, Beatriz is left at the hacienda herself. Her husband's sister, Juana, is an odd character with something to hide. Beatriz becomes more involved in the mysteries of the hacienda and the mysterious death of her husband's first wife. I enjoyed the story- I love a good gothic horror novel- but I feel like I wanted something a little more from this story. I didn't 100% connect with the characters or the story, but I felt is was a solid gothic horror tale.
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A deliciously creepy tale of an ambitious young woman, an unusual priest, and a malevolent force...set against the beauty and injustice of a maguey plantation  in Mexico. The characters are vivid and the pace is exciting. I loved the strong sense of  place and underlying social justice message
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The Mexican government has been overthrown. Beatriz is left homeless and without a father in the aftermath. Beatriz, seeking stability, accepts the proposal of Rodolfo, the Don of Hacienda San Isidro. The stability she seeks begins to falter when Rodolfo leaves for work. Strange occurrences begin to happen around Beatriz, voices, the feeling of being watched, visions, and others in the hacienda performing rituals for reasons unknown. It didn't bother her until now that she is Rodolfo's second wife. The question is, what happened to his first? The only person in the hacienda who will help her is Padre Andrés, but will that be enough to save her from what lurks in the shadows of San Isidro?

Give me more mysterious Latin American tales steeped in history! Beatriz accepts marriage to a wealthy man because she'll do anything to build a home again, but her new home begins to turn against her. It isn't only the structure itself, or sinister forces, but also the people already living in the home, who seek to make Beatriz miserable, and worse. Beatriz isn't going quietly into the night, and I liked how she was ready to fight for what her heart wanted despite the incredible resistance and spookiness she faces.

What I really appreciated in this story is the clear references to historical events and cultural influences around the time of the Mexican War of Independence. The political and religious realities of the time meant that social schisms were common, and if you weren't part of the accepted group, life would be made hard for you on purpose. Both Beatriz and Andrés are outcasts, different than others in the hacienda, which understandably helps to bring them together as allies. I thoroughly enjoyed their camaraderie and their vision for how the hacienda could be different. The Hacienda is a story of a woman who wants her own home, the home that wouldn't accept her, the enigmatic Padre who helps her, and the mystery behind why she is experiencing all of it in the first place. Recommended for readers who appreciate gothic tales set in Latin America, rooted in history, sprinkled with magic, and zested with references to other fine literary works, which I'm sure the keen eye will readily recognize.
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Review goes live on 6/7/22 at 8am EST on LairOBooks 

THE 411...

Isabel Canas’ Gothic Historical Fiction set in the aftermath of the Mexican War of Independence has been compared to the likes of Mexican Gothic & Rebecca. The story starts off with Beatriz whose father has been killed as a rebel and their home destroyed, leaving her and her mother in poverty. Begrudgingly taken in by her mother's Criollo side of the family, Beatriz is constantly reminded of her Mestizo blood and slightly darker complexion. She's delegated to the kitchen in an effort to avoid having to recognize her as being a part of their family up until she gets noticed by wealthy widower/Hacendado Rodolfo. Seeing no way out of her situation, she takes his marriage proposal even though it goes against everything her father fought for. It also means being disowned by her mother as she leaves for San Isidro to live in the Hacienda. A home she believed to make her own, a home that has a soul of it's own and is haunted by the horrors that have taken place there. The Hacienda doesn't accept Beatriz as it's new Dueña and makes sure she knows this. With her husband away from home on business, Beatriz seeks help from the local priest Andres for a home spiritual cleansing. What she didn't expect was to learn her husbands dark secrets or to fall for the mysterious priest with secrets of his own.

WRITING & FINAL THOUGHTS...

Atmospheric and dark, It was easy to get sucked in and get spooked right along with our Main character as she unraveled the mystery at the core of this story. This had exorcist vibes all along, and I'll admit that because of this I was much more interested in our priests POV than Beatriz. There's teasing of a forbidden romance but that's just what it remains all throughout the book. We also don't see much interaction between Beatriz & her new husband. I would say this was more of an exploration of the Casta system and the tension/animosity between Criollos and Mestizos. There's social commentary with regards to the Hacendados vs. the families who've worked the lands, and who then really has rights to the land. As I was reading I kept telling myself this was really well researched which makes sense seeing as Cañas has a doctorate in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. I enjoyed the writing but ultimately felt something was missing and I couldn't pinpoint what that was. I'm a lover of character driven stories and that may very well be where I felt the disconnect. I'm open to reading more from this author seeing as they cover themes I'm very interested in. This debut novel covers themes of racism, religion, war, colonialism, colorism, bodily autonomy, and the Casta system.

CW: mention of rape and murder, colorism, racism
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The immediate comparison I had with this one was obviously Mexican Gothic, and since I liked that one so much I had to know what this one was all about. Give me all the gothic vibes for life!
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I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

This was an easy 5 star for me. 

Cañas is a beautiful writer, and each page was filled with incredible detail. I loved this gothic ghost story that was giving very much “Mexican Gothic” meets “Rebecca” just as advertised. 

I like Beatriz’s character and the priest. Their dynamic drew me in. The world building? Stunning. Internal conflict? Intriguing. There are just enough moving parts to keep us invested in the story but not overwhelmed. And the end is fantastic.

I ate this up and recommend you all do, too.
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With comparisons to Rebecca and Mexican Gothic, how could I not read this? The Hacienda is a slow burning, atmospheric type of horror novel that rewards the reader with deep seated dread the further they push through. I'll  admit that I wondered if I would stick with this one in the first 20%, because the pacing is extremely slow and the writing is very flowery, but I'm so glad I didn't give up, as the pay off by the end is well worth the time and energy it takes to become invested in Beatriz's plight. If you enjoyed Mexican Gothic, just know this is a bit different, but I definitely see where the comparisons are coming from. I cannot wait to experience more from this author!
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The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas definitely has more fall reading vibes than early summer but I had a few rainy days that were the perfect weather for this book. 

This spooky, gothic read is exceptionally good for a first novel. Set in post revolutionary Mexico, the story follows a new bride, Beatriz, who thinks she's escaping the hardships of her old life when her husband brings her to his family estate. Beatriz quickly discovers that not only does the house not want her there, it doesn't want her to leave alive. One of my favorite classic novels is Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier and The Hacienda absolutely has the same feel.. If you enjoy suspenseful, atmospheric stories this will be right up your alley. 

Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.
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