I picked this one recently because it was compared to Alice Hoffman (the author of Practical Magic) and I needed a little bit of magic in my life. But what I received was something way more and way better than the magical books I’ve been reading. Thanks to Atria Books for the gifted book.
Perfect for fans of Alice Hoffman, Isabel Allende, and Sarah Addison Allen, this is a gorgeously written novel about a family searching for the truth hidden in their past and the power they’ve inherited, from the author of the acclaimed and “giddily exciting” (The New York Times Book Review) Brooklyn Brujas series.
The Montoyas are used to a life without explanations. They know better than to ask why the pantry never seems to run low or empty, or why their matriarch won’t ever leave their home in Four Rivers—even for graduations, weddings, or baptisms. But when Orquídea Divina invites them to her funeral and to collect their inheritance, they hope to learn the secrets that she has held onto so tightly their whole lives. Instead, Orquídea is transformed, leaving them with more questions than answers.
Seven years later, her gifts have manifested in different ways for Marimar, Rey, and Tatinelly’s daughter, Rhiannon, granting them unexpected blessings. But soon, a hidden figure begins to tear through their family tree, picking them off one by one as it seeks to destroy Orquídea’s line. Determined to save what’s left of their family and uncover the truth behind their inheritance, the four descendants travel to Ecuador—to the place where Orquídea buried her secrets and broken promises and never looked back.
Alternating between Orquídea’s past and her descendants’ present, The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina is an enchanting novel about what we knowingly and unknowingly inherit from our ancestors, the ties that bind, and reclaiming your power.
This story was definitely a stunner and I had so much fun reading it and getting to know The Montoyas. I’m so blown away by the writing, the story, and the characters. I’ve read Zoraida Cordova before, but this felt like nothing I’ve read from her in the past. Well, mostly that’s also because I was reading her YA fantasy fiction and not her adult novels.
And this delivered! The writing is gorgeous, the pacing is beautiful (up until the end where it got rushed), the mystery was mysterious (albeit a bit predictable), and all together such a great read. It was not necessarily a fantasy book, but I wouldn’t call it magical realism either. There was magic, for sure, but it definitely felt more like a fantasy. I would go as far as say science fiction, even! But this genre blending book definitely gave me all the feels.
I loved Marimar, Rey, and Rhiannon as they journey from their grandmother’s small home in Four Rivers to Ecuador and find out more about what happened to her. From the flowers growing out of their bodies to the ultimate power they release at the end, it truly blew my mind to read their whole story. Reading about Marimar and Rey, especially, and the lives they lived through their family traumas and dramas made the story so much more relatable to me. I felt so much for both of these characters and the middle ground they found themselves stuck in. And as they were searching for their grandmother’s past, they were learning so much about themselves in the process. It was really beautiful.
The family dynamics between them all plus all of Orquidea’s other children and grandchildren reminded me so much of my own family. While I came from a patriarchy rather than a matriarchy, the close-knit bond I have with my aunts and uncles and cousins is a stronger relationship than I’ve had with any friend in my life. And I loved that Marimar and Rey were cousins, but were best friends as well. It really brought home the family bits that really pulled at my heartstrings.
Written in a dual timeline, you read both Orquidea’s origin story and the story of her grandchildren as they try to uncover their grandmother’s mysterious past. But you get first-hand experience on the life Orquidea lived and while it felt like such an adventure, there were some pitfalls she found herself in. It was sad and a little cringey (I could feel my toes curl when the villain finally showed itself), I still rooted for her to find her path, find love, and find a life where she’s wanted and cared for.
The mystery component was a little bit disappointing, but I still loved it. This is where it felt more like a magical story. There was an ominous quality to the mysterious stranger who stalked Marimar, Rey, Rhiannon and her parents, and it was really interesting to see how that turned out.
Overall, I highly recommend this book if you’re a fan of magic, mystery, a little bit of history, and sweeping family stories. I hope this becomes a movie because I can already see all of this playing so perfectly in my head.