Cover Image: The Hacienda

The Hacienda

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Member Reviews

Intense and creepy.
Once in a great while, you come across a book that blows your mind. Sometimes it is hard to say what it is exactly. But you know this is going to be special.

This book is one of those.

The Hacienda is a mixture of so many nuances it completely sucks you in and blows your mind with the amazing skills the author displays.

It is a lesson in history. A Gothic suspense of paranormal eeriness that causes you to hold your breath. It is a richly told, all-consuming story of sinister acts, dark secrets, forbidden love, power, and hate. It is a book you will not be able to stop reading and cannot wait to read again.

This author has made her mark in the literary scene with this work of art that captures your soul on so many levels.

Awesome story for lovers of scary stuff, ghosts stories, secret romance, and bumps in the night. I bet the audio version will be a winner too!!!!
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I love this book. I gravitated toward this story because of its premise and because of two books that it was compared to: Mexican Gothic and Rebecca, the latter of which is one of my favorite books of all time. Anything that gets compared to that piece of (to me) perfection, is going to need to be tried. Its also going to be held to a very high standard.

Cañas succeeds in spades. Besides being a fan of the gothic novel, of the mysterious new husband, and the first wife that dies under circumstances that causes people to quietly speculate when they probably shouldn't, I love houses that have a memory. In drawing inspiration from both Shirley Jackson and Daphne du Maurier, Cañas has stitched together the perfect amalgamation of the two authors greatest strengths. 

The house at the center of The Hacienda, San Isidro, is terrifying. During its periods of activity, whether it be the way Beatriz feels about the house when she first arrives, or when it is in full blown rebellion and at the height of its hatred, the house makes the reader uneasy. And that unease is deliciously described with whispers and visceral, tangible episodes of cold and darkness. I thoroughly enjoyed how far Cañas took the haunting of her house, how it wasn't just disembodied voices or bad feelings. I loved that there was a physical aspect to the house's anger. Because there is something so utterly terrifying about the idea that your house, the place that is supposed to give you shelter, keep you safe, can have its own feelings and, quite literally, want to kill you.

The house was probably my favorite character in the story, because the house is definitely a character. There is no getting around that. All the others, especially Beatriz and Andrés were also strong characters, and the supporting cast of Ana Luisa, Paloma, etc., were also well written and well-rounded. But the main three (the house, Beatriz, and Andrés) truly shined. Beatriz reminded me a lot of Mrs. de Winter, but I also like that, because of the time period in which the book is set, her reasons for being at San Isidro, for staying, for trying to make it work, were so grounded in a reality that is unlike many other second wife tropes. She was a fighter and wanted to make a better life for herself and for her mother. She made choices that were not popular, but were for her own survival, something that the modern reader can tend to forget was actually important to women of over 200 years ago. But she still feels modern, not like a damsel in distress. She reaches out for help because the house is something well beyond her understanding or her ability to tackle.

Overall, the book is a delight to read. It is gothic enough to satisfy those who crave the gothic, and setting the story in Mexico at the time after the war was a nice touch; as the author says in her note, we don't see a lot of literature set in those places at those times and I think the representation here works well with the story, rather than forcing the point. I do have a bone to pick with whomever likened this book to Mexican Gothic... because Mexican Gothic WISHES it was as good as The Hacienda. Between the two I will always and forever recommend this book. Mexican Gothic crawled so The Hacienda could soar.

My only complaint with the narrative arc, and I use the term complaint loosely (perhaps I mean critique) is that some of the Andrés chapters felt like filler chapters and often greatly arrested the flow of the narrative. In some cases they did provide the reader with information that was important for us to understand, but in others, in particular the chapter explaining the reasons for his banishment which was followed by a Beatriz chapter in which Paloma gives us the exact same information, they feel unnecessary. Andrés is a good character, but structurally his POVs often felt a little superfluous.
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Classic gothic story meets historic fiction in this incredible story set in the aftermath of the Mexican War of Independence.  It tells the story of Beatriz, a general's daughter fallen on hard times as the war comes to a close.  She has to marry in haste and finds herself in charge of a large Hacienda that has deep dark secrets and has to rely on a most peculiar priest as her only ally.   I loved this book.  It paints a very vivid and real world that captures you and takes you on a gothic adventure.  The mystery kept me guessing right up to the end.  This book explores women's issues and racial issues in a newly independent country, as well as the treatment of indigenous culture
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WHEEWWW, Isabel Cañas really took me on a whole journey with this one. I'm still absorbing everything that unfolded. Even as someone who doesn't read a ton of horror (I'm a scaredy cat to the MAX), I appreciated those elements and also loved the vivid world that Beatriz found herself in.

I also appreciated Cañas' author's note at the end of the novel explaining all the historical elements she weaved into the story, including the complex systems of class and race during the time period.

I can already tell there'll be a lot of comparisons to 2020's Mexican Gothic, and while there are certainly similarities (both are set in Mexico at the scene of a spooky house following a recent union), they're definitely different books and should be treated as such. I'd say The Hacienda moved a tad quicker for me personally and was also a little more graphic in its horror.

I'm super stoked for whatever Isabel Cañas has next up her sleeve.
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This was spooky and atmospheric, like good gothic fiction should be. It definitely gave me Jane Eyre or Rebecca vibes, and I think this would adapt to film beautifully since it painted such vivid (creepy) pictures in my head. I loved it.
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This is a thrilling gothic horror novel that has more bite than most. The author delivers something more terrifying than bumps in the night with real, visceral scares as well as an unflinching look at the horror of corrupt power. The love story adds a nice complexity to the novel that will hook readers who don't usually pick up horror.
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A young women finds herself suddenly alone in the world in the aftermath of the Mexican War of Independence.  A timely proposal seems like the answer to a prayer.  Soon she finds herself questioning her reality at a house that is said to be cursed.  Fans of tales of haunted mansions (and handsome men proposing marriage) will love it.
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Beatriz has suffered in the past. Her father was executed during the government overthrow in Mexico. She married wealthy Don Rodolfo despite the rumors of his past. When she arrives at his hacienda, San Isidro, she realizes it’s not the sanctuary she imagined.

Ready for a creepy, gothic and ambient tale? Here it is! I saw it described as Rebecca meets Mexican Gothic and that is so true. You don’t have wait for the action to start, as I find you do with many gothic tales as they build the ambience. Crazy stuff starts pretty much right away. The ambiance is still there, you just get a side of creepiness as it builds.

“San Isidro was freedom. San Isidro was mine. But San Isidro was also trying to break me, and I did not doubt the force of its will.”

The Hacienda comes out 5/10
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This was absolutely enthralling from beginning to end. We have…
- Beatriz, a young bride recently moved into her husband’s family hacienda. And then he leaves her there…
- A house haunted by an evil spirit, and terrifying things that go bump in the night
- Andres, a young (and attractive!) priest called to exorcize the evil spirit. Oh, and he’s also a WITCH!
- Seamless blending of classic Gothic elements with local cultural traditions
- All of this written with stunningly beautiful prose and set against the aftermath of the Mexican War of Independence.

I highly recommend this for anyone who loves ghost stories mixed with historical fiction and forbidden romance. I predict that you’re going to be seeing this EVERYWHERE.

Huge thanks to @berkleypub @netgalley and @isabelcanas_ for access to this digital ARC.

Out May 10, 2022.
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This book is a supernatural thriller involving Beatriz who marries Rodolfo to escape her virtual enslavement to her relatives following the execution of her father. Rodolfo takes Beatriz to his family home of San Isidro where she plans to become the matriarch of the home. When Rodolfo returns to the capital and leaves Beatriz alone, she hears noises and see apparitions that make her wonder what has happened in this house. With many sleepless nights and heightened fear, she turns to the priest, Padre Andres to exorcise the evil lurking in San Isidro. When all hope is lost, Beatriz begins to fear she will die in that house. She and Andres must use all their strength to fight the evil that is both supernatural and quite real.
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The Hacienda needs to have better pacing--it went too fast and unambivalent in making the sister-in-law antagonistic towards the main character.
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This book was so outside of my comfort zone. I am not usually a spooky things reader or watcher. But the comp to du Maurier's REBECCA (which I love) along with the post-War of Independence rural Mexico setting was enough to make me eager to dive in.

Our main protagonist is Beatriz, who has married a wealthy pulque lord, Don Rodolfo Eligio Solórzano, out of desperation to have a home of her own after her father's execution. When she arrives at his country estate, Hacienda San Isidro, Beatriz is filled with ideas on making the house fit for her and her mother, who she hopes will join her there. However, Beatriz soon realizes the house is far from the peaceful haven she desired. She turns to Padre Andrés, who is both a hot priest and, it turns out, a hot witch, for help cleansing the house of its evil. Together they face horrors beyond what either expects, but find surprising solace in each other.

The first thing I noticed while reading THE HACIENDA is that, at the sentence level, it's gorgeous. And it's that same quality that makes the spooky parts extremely effective when the reader gets to them. There is a thing having to do with teeth in one scene and it's basically ripped straight out of my worst anxiety nightmares, so I found that scarier than anything else that happened, to be honest. But it was all very gothic and atmospheric and perfect, and the relationship between Beatriz and Andrés was extremely satisfying even though this isn't a capital-R romance.

I was not at all surprised to learn that the author trained as a historian. The historical aspects of this book are extremely well researched and written. I really appreciated how seamlessly she wove so much information about early 19th century Mexico into the narrative.

I'll definitely be first in line to read anything Isabel Cañas writes, even if it does keep me up at night.
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Beautifully crafted gothic horror. Will delight fans of Shirley Jackson, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and William Peter Blatty. If you are looking for creepy and spooky, you’ll find it here!

The author artfully weaves together mysticism, traditional beliefs, superstition and religion with a good old fashioned haunting to create a delicious moodiness and sense of impending doom. 

Enjoyed this title and would recommend. 
Thanks to NetGalley and Berkeley for the ARC.
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Since the panini started, I've consumed more horror stories than I did my entire life before. So when I say this takes a place among the classics, I MEAN IT.

And those comps? Mexican Gothic meets Rebecca are so incredibly spot on. Isabel has crafted a story so reminiscent of old gothic horrors dressed in a sharp critique of colonialism, it was a DELIGHT to add this book to my absolute favorites.

The doors slamming shut, foggy nights, writing on the walls in blood--it has all those comfort horror (sorry) tropes, and more. THE HACIENDA is bittersweet, it's horrifying, it's soft, it's scathing. And I'm so excited to see more from Isabel.
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Isabel Canas describes the plight of of post war Mexico and the limited opportunities for women-- especially daughters of generals on the wrong side of the revolution.  Her descriptions of the landscape, the hacienda, the weather, and the people of the village paint a vivid portrait of the time and place which make you feel that you are there.  The Hacienda is possessed or Beatriz is mad.  She should trust no one, but she must.  She chooses to enlist the help of the priest/witch who is the savior/devil.  The house is alive and is a character in the novel.  Will Beatriz survive in this remote Hacienda?  Will the place she chose as her salvation lead to her doom?
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Equal parts Mexican Gothic and Crimson Peak, this supernatural thriller comes with all the trappings of Gothic horror: a remote house, forbidden rooms and wings, and a haunting presence that follows our heroine surreptitiously. Set against the backdrop of the overthrow of the Mexican government in the early 19th century, The Hacienda brings new life to old tropes. Beatriz is a classic Gothic heroine: newly married, willful, and blessed/cursed with an active imagination. Isabel Cañas writes with an easy eloquence, crafting suspenseful scenes and intriguing character dynamics.  It was a joy to watch Beatriz investigate her threatening new home, as well as the mystery of her predecessor’s death. What happened to the first Doña Solórzano? I think a broad array of readers will enjoy finding out.
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This was the perfect spooky read for October. Not only did it have me terrified to go to sleep, but the writing was absolutely stunning, woven with complex themes. What a truly spectacular read!
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I absolutely loved this one! I would love to see it as a movie, if it could be done without the standard 'haunted house movie' jump scares. Highly recommended!!
Thank you so much to Berkley Publishing Group and NetGalley for the ARC!
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Lush, thrilling, and deliciously creepy. I loved the glimpse into a history I didn't know much about. I would absolutely recommend this book!
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Really excited about this title. Wonderful mash up of historical/gothic/horror and romance that is likely to appeal to a wide swath of readers. Finally, a book that is being marketed as scary that is actually delivering some terrifying moments! The writing is elegant and poetic and the historical elements are fascinating. Looking forward to sharing the word of this book closer to release date.
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