Review: The Hacienda by Isabel Canas

Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Best Horror (2022), Nominee for Best Debut Novel (2022)

Mexican Gothic meets Rebecca in this debut supernatural suspense novel, set in the aftermath of the Mexican War of Independence, about a remote house, a sinister haunting, and the woman pulled into their clutches…

In the overthrow of the Mexican government, Beatriz’s father is executed and her home destroyed. When handsome Don Rodolfo Solórzano proposes, Beatriz ignores the rumors surrounding his first wife’s sudden demise, choosing instead to seize the security his estate in the countryside provides. She will have her own home again, no matter the cost.

But Hacienda San Isidro is not the sanctuary she imagined.

When Rodolfo returns to work in the capital, visions and voices invade Beatriz’s sleep. The weight of invisible eyes follows her every move. Rodolfo’s sister, Juana, scoffs at Beatriz’s fears—but why does she refuse to enter the house at night? Why does the cook burn copal incense at the edge of the kitchen and mark its doorway with strange symbols? What really happened to the first Doña Solórzano?

Beatriz only knows two things for certain: Something is wrong with the hacienda. And no one there will help her.

Desperate for help, she clings to the young priest, Padre Andrés, as an ally. No ordinary priest, Andrés will have to rely on his skills as a witch to battle the malevolent presence haunting the hacienda.

Far from a refuge, San Isidro may be Beatriz’s doom.

The Hacienda by Isabel Cansa. Narrated by Victoria Villarreal and Lee Osouo. Published by Penguin House, May 2022. Total run time of 11 hours and 7 mins.

*Trigger warning: talk of rape

I was super excited when this book came out! It sounded so good, I just couldn’t wait to read The Hacienda. Haunted house? Check. Gothic vibe? Check. Ghosts? Check! 😀 Yes please.

This is a fine story. 🙂 I was worried about not being able to follow the plot because I was unfamiliar with that time period of Mexico and what all was going on with the civil unrest there. Even though the story does touch on the political mood of the time, the story is very easy to follow. The time period is just the background window dressing, and the writing gives you plenty of details and context clues so you still understand what is going on. The author does a great job of explaining the gist of the era without drowning you in too much details of it. The era never takes over the plot, you know?

Normally a gothic story is a very slow burn, but The Hacienda has a uber quick pace. The author also does a great job of keeping the flow moving relatively fast, without ever really losing the feel of being gothic. It never really felt like there is a slow moment because the tension always has your heart racing. Would you stay in this house??

The only thing that bothered me is how the killer’s identity is spelled out right away, yet our leading lady couldn’t figure it out until the very end?? WTF. :/ I think the author was trying to say she was just overwhelmed and was in her own head over things, but instead it just made her look kinda dumb. D: Please don’t have the ghost tell everyone the name of the killer, yet SOMEHOW the ghost is shocked when the reveal of the killer is told to her at the end. Huuuuuh?? If the ghost didn’t know…… then why did she keep calling that name over and over and over? :/ I didn’t get it….

I’m so glad I finally read this one. 🙂 I loved the house and how it was haunted by so many ancestors. It was also very interesting to see the priest be a powerful witch. The land, the ancestors, and old magic felt so important to the people of the villa. So much respect and emotion in this community, it felt like you were actually there too.

Both narrators do a fine job. It felt like they were both perfectly cast. I did not have any complaints. 🙂

The Hacienda is a great gothic ghost story. I loved the plot and the setting. The house is so cool! I think….. I’d like to visit the house, but not sure I’d want to live there!! 😮


One thought on “Review: The Hacienda by Isabel Canas

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s