Cover Image: The Hacienda

The Hacienda

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Member Reviews

I'm so glad horror and gothic fiction has made a comeback.  The Hacienda is also historically interesting.  I appreciate books set in locations, time periods and cultures that haven't been extensively written about, such as the aftermath of The Mexican War of Independence.  A character being a male witch and a priest is also unique.  
The Hacienda is one of my favorite reads this year.
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In the blurb it was being compared to Rebecca and Mexican Gothic. I had enjoyed both of those books and couldn’t wait to dive into another atmospheric setting involving a house. And besides, how can you say no to that cover?

The book is told from two point-of-views, Beatriz and Andrés. I didn’t feel like I connected to either one which is a shame. They are both trying to find out what is going on at the hacienda and they won’t stop at nothing, especially Andrés who has been a frequent visitor before Beatriz’s arrival. I do think that it was good to have both point-of-views since one had more history there than the other. It added more context which I liked.

The side characters felt like just that, side characters. They were kind of one dimensional and from the beginning I had my suspicion which ended up being right.

The author does a great job at creating a new setting and making it her own. There are similarities to the other books it is compared to but she adds her own spin to the ghostly tale. I personally didn’t find it as appealing as the others but I liked the originality.

For me, the mystery felt a bit flat and I’m not sure if it was the writing or me.

Overall, even though I had some issues with it I still liked what I read.
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HOLY WOW, what a book! Lush and atmospheric with tons of historic details, a hot priest, and so much spookiness.

In the aftermath of the Mexican War of Independence, newly-wed Beatriz travels to her husband's hacienda. After her husband returns to Mexico City, she begins to realize something is very wrong about the house. Strange noises escalate to stranger sights and supernatural occurrences, and soon Beatriz finds herself at the center of a full-blown and dangerous haunting. Her sister-in-law and the servants in the hacienda are no help, so she turns to the local priest (who's secretly a witch) for help. Together, they seek to banish the ghost from the house... while a simmering, forbidden attraction grows between them.

You know that feeling you get alone in your apartment when you mistakenly chose to watch a horror movie at midnight with the lights off? That's what I felt reading this at noon on a sunny Tuesday. I jumped when the phone rang.

Beatriz is a tough, intelligent heroine willing to fight for what's hers. Padre Andrés is the witchy priest hero I never knew I needed. The tension! The longing! The really, really creepy bumps in the night! And the writing, oh, the writing! I could see, hear, and smell everything on the page. It was poetic, vivid, and a pure delight to read. This story is going to stick with me for a long time.
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I'm not much of a horror reader these days, but this book - it was just impossible to put down. A haunted house story set in the aftermath of the Mexican War of Independence, the setting is just incredibly described. Cañas makes you smell the air and feel the creepy chill settling over your skin. Add in all the gothic elements - a poor but determined heroine, a former wife who died mysteriously, a handsome but unknowable husband, and a priest who is more than he appears - and I couldn't stop turning the pages. But The Hacienda is also a story of racism and classism, corrupt religious institutions, and the wounds war leaves behind. All told with gorgeous skill!
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This was a very satisfying gothic novel, and although it took me a little while to become invested in the story I found it hard to put down once I did. I see that it is being marketed as "Mexican Gothic meets Rebecca" - and while I don't necessarily disagree with this as far as the most basic outline of the story goes, this book is truly an original story that stands alone in its own right. In full disclosure, I'd felt disappointed with Mexican Gothic because to me it wasn't really a gothic novel (I'd say it is a science fiction novel that happens to take place in a creepy old mansion). So, while reading The Hacienda I couldn't help but keep thinking "THIS is what I had wanted Mexican Gothic to be!" - and then some. Canas, who is also a historian, has also done an outstanding job in creating her setting, her atmosphere, her plot, and some truly unique, original characters. 

Thanks to Netgalley and to the publisher for allowing me an advance copy in exchange for review.
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A beautifully written gothic ghost story, The Hacienda is a dark historic romance with a murder mystery all wrapped up in one. Felt very Crimson Peak meets Rebecca. There are human and supernatural monsters in this book and some you may figure out pretty quickly but it doesn't take away from the suspense. 
This is an impressive debut and if you're a fan of the haunted house story you'll definitely want to pick this one up.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the review copy.
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The Haunting of Hill House meets Rebecca in the debut novel from Isabel Cañas – The Hacienda was a wonderfully gothic horror, and genuinely historically interesting as well. It’s an incredibly impressive debut – taut and suspenseful, but with a real meatiness to the story that gives it depth.

Set in a Mexico still firmly overshadowed by the War for Independence, The Hacienda introduces us to Beatriz, who lost her father in the aftermath and sets out to find a husband able to save herself and her mother from an existence dependent on the meagre kindness of what family she has left. She meets Don Rodolfo Eligio Solórzano Ibarra at a ball, falls in love with the stories of his family’s hacienda and the freedom his status offers her, marries – and begins her own version of a classic Gothic Horror.

Fans of the genre will be used to certain tropes, and Isabel Cañas does an excellent job of writing within it, but allowing herself the freedom to make it her own. There’s no swooning heroines to be found here – Beatriz is willing to meet society’s expectations up to a point, and this woman is a survivor to the core. Rather than submitting to a slow descent into madness, or peril, she acknowledges and refuses to accept the first stages of a home that seems determinedly out to get her. Laughter and whispers in the night? Cold patches of the home and visions of nightmare apparitions? Unacceptable! Beatriz takes action – and it’s so engaging to see a heroine with that kind of backbone.

That doesn’t lessen the scares, you’ll be pleased to hear. Beatriz may be willing to face down the supernatural head on, but this is a hacienda with an axe to grind, and it’s just as ready for a fight as she is. Matters escalate, and quickly – and it’s not just the supernatural entities you have to watch out for, because more than one of the perfectly mundane humans have dark agendas of their own.

If you love the Gothic Horror genre but are keen to see a heroine with more agency and a story with plenty of bite, The Hacienda just might be what you’ve been looking for.

This review first appeared at mysteryandsuspense.com.
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If you are in the mood for a good ghost story with a murder mystery thrown in, sprinkled with romance and an unusual leading man (think a priest who is also a witch), then this is the book for you. A gothic overtone with a good dose of the supernatural and a chilling killer?  Go for it!
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The Hacienda was such an unexpected read. I picked it up on a whim and it ended up being everything I didn't know I needed in a good, delightfully dark read that kept me on my toes and turning the pages with its dark atmosphere and hauntingly good characters. I couldn't get enough and felt like I had been transported back in time to a place that was just as rich in detail as it was in secrets. 

A wonderful story that was every bit as good as the synopsis promised and one I'm lad I took a chance on.
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A dark and romantic thrill ride from start to finish, you won't believe this book is a debut. The pacing of the plot leaves readers breathless, and the imagery pays homage to gothic greats while appealing to a modern audience.
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As soon as I read the blurb, I knew this was a novel I had to add to my TBR. Gothic novels are my absolute favorite and a gothic horror novel that is reminiscent of two books I've enjoyed, piqued my interest. I wasn't as frightened as I expected to be while reading The Hacienda but I could see how some readers may be spooked; Therefore, I recommend to proceed with caution. I actually ended up having a nightmare the first night I read it, I but I'm going with coincidence on that one. 😉

Aside from a few of the scares it provides, it's also a historical fiction novel. While it takes place in Mexico, there were experiences that were felt throughout all of Latin America during the era, namely colonialism but a few others. One that was featured prominently was the casta (caste) system that viewed anyone with Indío (Indigenous) features, whether full-blooded or Mestizo, as less desirable than those with pure Spanish blood. A viewpoint that's still prominent today. It also touches on the lengths people went to hide any religious views that deviated from Catholicism, which the Spanish Inquisition, supposedly served to expose.

Overall, this was an impressive debut novel. If you have a love of haunted house stories, mixed with historical fiction, definitely put this one on your TBR. I have a feeling this will be a favorite of many readers in 2022.
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A naïve young woman marries a man she barely knows to finally secure a home of her own. Her new husband drops her off at his isolated family home and then promptly departs, leaving her at the mercy of the estate’s unwelcoming inhabitants – both living and dead. Haunted by frightening visions, our heroine turns to the the local hot priest (who happens to have a background in witchcraft) to help her exorcise the evil lurking in her new home.

‘The Hacienda’ is already one of my favourite books of the year. I love a gothic romance, and this is as spooky and compulsively readable as they come. Not only does Cañas render brilliantly the setting of 1820s Mexico, she also nails the creepy, insidious atmosphere of the title hacienda. Highly recommended for fans of historical fiction who don't mind fiction-induced nightmares.
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HOO BOY WHAT A RIDE. 

This is the kind of Gothic horror that I EAT UP. Creepy old houses, mysterious husband, HOT PRIEST, and a suspicious sister-in-law? Sign me the hell up!! 

The beginning was a bit slow for my taste - I like to jump into the terror - but when it picked up, it definitely picked up. This is marketed as having a forbidden romance, but that's a subplot for those going in! The author's note on the history of the Mexican War of Independence and how the scars of colonialism are haunting all on their own really tied this book together for me. 

I know it's compared to Mexican Gothic and there ARE similarities, but this shines on its own. 

CW: violence, mentions of rape and abuse, murder, colonialism, classism
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It’s only January, but I feel like I just read the best book of the year. I’m not sure I even have words to explain how amazing this book is. 

Beatriz is newly married to Rodolfo in 1823 Mexico. Against her mother’s wishes to marry for love, she marries out of necessity. Rodolfo has an estate that she claims as her own. But her new home is no home at all. There is evil in this house and Beatriz seeks help from Padre Andrés. Beatriz will uncover dark secrets as she tries to survive in the Hacienda.

“The Hacienda” is a Mexican gothic (forbidden) romance. I love all the classic gothic tropes such as the untrustworthy husband, spooky house, and horror elements. I thought Cañas did an amazing job creating a creepy atmosphere. I found myself getting so engrossed in the novel that shadows were making me jump. I really enjoyed the fast pace and the tension that was built throughout. 

Cañas is an excellent storyteller. I can’t wait to get a hardcover and annotate my favorite quotes. She also touches upon other topics such as religion, colonialism, and the caste system, which I think will make people want to learn more about. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Berkley for an ARC of this amazing book!
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Isabel Cañas' The Hacienda is a beautiful work of historical fiction set in the aftermath of the Mexican War of Independence. After experiencing a traumatic event involving the death of her father, Beatriz is ready to take hold of her future and decides to marry a handsome and mysterious man called Rodolfo Solórzano. With the marriage comes an old estate in the countryside where his family has made pulque for generations while retaining its wealth. But sometimes a house is more than just a status symbol, something Beatriz soon realizes as the temperatures drop, the voices begin to whisper, and shadows creep over her empty home. 
This wonderful spin on the classic gothic novel will remind readers of Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca and Silvia Moreno-Garcia's Mexican Gothic. Isabel Cañas has created a wonderful historical snapshot that's scary, mysterious, and romantic, giving readers a historical piece that deviates from the norm and puts a spotlight on 1800's Latin America.
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Rebecca meets Mexican Gothic: a great combination of gothic house theme, historical fiction takes place after Mexican War of Independence, an impossible love story, powerful characters including terrifying horror house itself. 

There are so many qualities in this book prevent you put it down, deserving your entire focus and energy!

Definitely one of the most brilliant, interesting, capturing reads I’ve recently had! 

Beatriz: daughter of disgraced general, loses everything including father’s property, family’s reputation, rejecting to be reliant on her uncle’s charity and sour aunty’s goodwill, accepting her only choice that may give a proper wealthy life for herself and her mother: she accepts to be second wife of Don Rodolfo despite the rumors about suspicious death of his first wife. Because marrying with Don Rodolfo means she will have her own hacienda: San Isidro even though she has to live with eccentric and hostile sister in law.

But as soon as she moves to the hacienda, she realizes she’s trapped in a haunted place controlled by evil spirits. She has to take action before the house breaks her completely.

 Beatriz’s path crosses with our other POV belongs to priest Andres, who has truly mysterious past, coming to the hacienda to perform exorcism. But we shockingly realize this mysterious priest is not we thought who he was. 

I have to admit the haunted hacienda is the most interesting character of this book scared the living daylights out of me! 

Overall: well written, perfectly blended: historical fiction- horror- Latin culture-Daphne Du Maurier’s classic earned my scary, jaw dropping, eccentric, spine tingling, one of the best 2022 reads stars!

Special thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for sharing this amazing digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest thoughts.
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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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