The Hacienda - book cover
  • Publisher : Berkley
  • Published : 03 May 2022
  • Pages : 352
  • ISBN-10 : 0593436695
  • ISBN-13 : 9780593436691
  • Language : English

The Hacienda

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...

During the overthrow of the Mexican government, Beatriz's father was 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 that 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 the 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 save 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 fight off the malevolent presence haunting the hacienda and protect the woman for whom he feels a powerful, forbidden attraction. But even he might not be enough to battle the darkness.

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

Editorial Reviews

"Hacienda San Isidro is the house of your worst nightmares."
-The New York Times

"A tale of romance, dread, and supernatural menace."
-Harper's Bazaar

"[A] gothic tale of doomed love and vengeful spirits."
-The Washington Post

"Looking for supernatural suspense, forbidden love and a history lesson set in the aftermath of the Mexican War of Independence? Pick up The Hacienda."

"Don't read this gothic horror right before bedtime, especially if you're prone to nightmares."
-Good Housekeeping

"Pretty much the perfect Gothic novel… meaning it reads like a brilliant piece of historical fiction and a, ‘Okay, I'm gonna need to sleep with the lights on now,' horror novel."

"The scary, atmospheric, gorgeous Gothic of my dreams."
-Rachel Hawkins, New York Times bestselling author of The Wife Upstairs

"Gothic terror at its best, layered with tension: class, religious, and sexual. You will be so immersed in its skillful storytelling that the hours will vanish."
-Simone St. James, New York Times bestselling author of The Sun Down Motel

"A haunted history, a gory gothic, a forbidden romance. This book kept me up at night, and it was worth every second of lost sleep."
-Alix E. Harrow, New York Times bestselling author of The Once and Future Witches

"A hypnotic, sinister tale that is equal parts terrifying and luxurious. Cañas's debut is a nightmare lined with velvet."
-Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Gilded Wolves

"The Hacienda is a perfect gothic and Cañas is not afraid to pull in the horror element. An impressive debu...

Readers Top Reviews

Jill NBristol Boo
Beatriz' father has been executed for his politics, and she and her mother find themselves in a very difficult situation. Enter handsome, rich, widowed Rodolfo, and Beatriz sees an opportunity to escape and make a new home; in his hacienda. Unfortunately, the hacienda isn't welcoming and an evil spirit isn't greeting her with open arms. This isn't a creepy house, it is a terrifying house that you will come to believe is capable of killing people. Don't read this book at night in the dark. If you do, I hope you have an Andres nearby to help you, or is he really helping at all .... Beatriz is young but she isn't naïve, and my favorite parts of the book is when she remembers she is a general's daughter and hoists herself up. You can't help but root for her to survive. This is a wonderful debut novel by Isabel Canas, and despite the horror, it is also historical fiction where you find out more about colonialism in Mexico and the caste system that defined many lives. An excellent read for many, but especially for those who are underrepresented in this type of literature.
ReneeReneeJill NB
Beatriz decides to change her life and hopefully her mother’s when she marries Don Rodolfo. Since her father was called a traitor and killed, Beatriz and her mother have had to rely on the charity grudgingly given by relatives. Honestly, the servants are treated better (not by much though), and Beatriz seizes this opportunity to marry as her only way out. Her mother is appalled since Rodolfo was on the side of the men who killed her husband. She will not go to her daughter’s wedding, and Beatriz lives will the belief that in time, her mother will change her mind. She will be the mistress of San Isidro and who knows maybe even grow to love her husband. But the hacienda is dark, and rundown, and Beatriz has an almost insurmountable job ahead of her. Her husband's sister Juana is openly hostile, and no one will stay in the house after dark. Once her husband returns to the city Beatriz is truly alone in the house. But every room holds menacing secrets and if she isn't driven mad first, something that lives within the walls won't let her leave alive. No spoilers but the things that went on in the hacienda made my blood curdle, and I don't know how Beatriz didn't run out screaming into the night. It's a slow-burn gothic horror story that builds in intensity one page at a time. When Beatriz has almost given up, she reaches out to the church hoping the priest will perform an exorcism on the hacienda. She is considered mad except for one priest Andres who knows what she says is true and vows to help her. Did I almost fall off my treadmill while reading this book multiple times when I thought I heard a noise behind me? Yes, I did. One of the scariest places I can recall reading about it. The background of the Mexican civil war combined with truly despicable people and this unbelievably dark house made this an unputdownable book. I loved it! 4.5 stars. I received a DRC from Berkley Publishing Group through NetGalleY.
Paris D. ReneeRen
This is the first Amazon review I've ever given and its because I loved this book so, so much. Cañas' description of the hacienda and the character's relationships to the spiritual and material world are transportive; they fill the reader's senses without becoming tedious and the plot is fast paced enough to keep you wanting more. While this isn't meant to be a source of information about Mexico at this time, it gives insight into the race/ class dynamics and exploitation perpetuated in the hacienda system, and the vilification of indigenous religious practices at the time. I can't wait for Cañas' next novel!!
BJohnsonParis D.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The author encourages your imagination to visualize the area, the hacienda and the characters. The writing is beautiful. I could not set this book down.
I know this is a cliche, but "I couldn't put It down". A wonderful mix of history, relationships, relentless spirits, religion, family, loyalty and love.

Short Excerpt Teaser



Hacienda San Isidro

Noviembre 1823

The low sweep of the southern horizon was a perfect line, unmarred by even the smudge of horses tossing their heads in the distance. The road yawned empty.

The carriage was gone.

I stood with my back to the gates of Hacienda San Isidro. Behind me, high white stucco walls rose like the bones of a long-dead beast jutting from dark, cracked earth. Beyond the walls, beyond the main house and the freshly dug graves behind the capilla, the tlachiqueros took their machetes to the sharp fields of maguey. Wandering the fields as a boy taught me agave flesh does not give like man's; the tlachiqueros lift their machetes and bring them down again, and again, each dull thud seeking the heart's sweet sap, each man becoming more intimately acquainted with the give of meat beneath metal, with the harvesting of hearts.

A breeze snaked into the valley from the dark hills, its dry chill stinging my cheeks and the wet in my eyes. It was time to turn back. To return to my life as it was. Yet the idea of turning, of gazing up at San Isidro's heavy wooden doors alone, slicked my palms with sweat.

There was a reason I had once set my jaw and crossed San Isidro's threshold, a reason why I passed through its gates like a reckless youth from legends of journeys to the underworlds.

That reason was gone.

And still I stood in the center of the dirt road that led away from San Isidro, away from Apan, my eyes fixed on the horizon with the fervor of a sinner before their saint. As if the force of my grief alone could transcend the will of God and return that carriage. Return the woman who had been taken from me. The echo of retreating hoofbeats and the clouds of dust they left curled in the air like copal incense, mocking me.

It is said that mortal life is empty without the love of God. That the ache of loneliness's wounds is assuaged by obedience to Him, for in serving God we encounter perfect love and are made whole.

But if God is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, if He is three in one in the Trinity, then God knows nothing of loneliness.

God knows nothing of standing with his back to a gray morning, of dropping to his knees in the dust. Of his shoulders slumping beneath the new weight of knowing what it meant not to be alone, and an acute awareness of his chest's own emptiness.

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 blooms hot on their napes.

Sharp pebbles dug into my kneecaps through my worn trousers as I knelt, my breathing labored, too exhausted to sob. I knew what the maguey felt. I knew the whine of the machete. I knew how my chest gave beneath the weight of its fall. I knew how it felt to have my heart harvested, sweet aguamiel carving winding wet tracks down my hollowed chest. My wounds sinful stigmata, flinching and festering in the sun.

God knows nothing of being alone.

Alone is kneeling in dust, gazing at an empty horizon.

In the end, it was not the ink-slick shadows and echoing, dissonant laughter of San Isidro that broke me. It was not fear that carved my chest open.

It was losing her.



Septiembre 1823

Two months earlier

The carriage door creaked as Rodolfo opened it. I blinked, adjusting to the light that spilled across my skirts and face, and took the hand Rodolfo offered me as gracefully as I could. Hours of imprisonment in the carriage over rough country roads left me wanting to claw my way out of that stuffy box and suck in a lungful of fresh air, but I restrained myself. I knew my role as delicate, docile wife. Playing that role had already swept me away from the ...