When Beatriz meets Don Rodolfo Solorzano she thinks that he is the solution to all of her problems. The two marry and he takes her to his remote country estate, Hacienda San Isidro. As Beatriz makes plans to improve the home, she finds a sinister presence in the estate that seems to be unhappy about her arrival. Strange and dangerous things begin happening and Beatriz, desperate and scared for her life, enlists the help of a local priest and witch named Andres. Will they both survive the evil that is lurking in the home?
This is a richly detailed gothic suspense novel set in 1820s Mexico. It reminds me very much of Rebecca and Mexican Gothic, and I have to say it didn’t add too much to those stories to really make it stand out. I enjoyed reading it, but I wasn’t blown away.
I thought the characters were interesting, but most were not very well developed. Beatriz had a rich backstory and a believable reason for wanting to stay in the haunted estate and with her neglectful husband. Andres was also a compelling character, with a fascinating history and connection to the home as well as a dark magic passed down through his family. The rest of the characters, particularly Don Rodolfo and his sister Juana, were much more surface level and could have been more fully explored.
The story is intricately plotted and I found that it moved a little slowly as the characters and their stories were woven together into a connection with the house. There were a good amount of moments that read quickly, though, due to the creeping, suspenseful tone. And I loved that there was a constant question of whether Beatriz was hallucinating the frightening things happening to her or whether they were really happening. The plot builds slowly but steadily towards an end where the ghost is finally revealed.
Overall, this was a creepy read that had a lot of promise but fumbled a little on the execution. I still enjoyed reading it, though, and think it is perfect for fans of gothic novels and supernatural horror.
CW: death, murder, graphic injuries, hallucinations