The Spanish Daughter by Lorena Hughes
Two of my favorite genres are historical fiction and mystery. And when a book manages to weave those two together in an equally satisfying way, it makes for a particularly enjoyable read!
About The Spanish Daughter:
As a child in Spain, Puri always knew her passion for chocolate was inherited from her father. But it’s not until his death that she learns of something else she’s inherited—a cocoa plantation in Vinces, Ecuador, a town nicknamed “Paris Chiquito.” Eager to claim her birthright and filled with hope for a new life after the devastation of WWI, she and her husband Cristóbal set out across the Atlantic Ocean. But it soon becomes clear, someone is angered by Puri’s claim to the plantation…
When a mercenary sent to murder her aboard the ship accidentally kills Cristóbal instead, Puri dons her husband’s clothes and assumes his identity, hoping to stay safe while she searches for the truth of her father’s legacy in Ecuador. Though freed from the rules that women are expected to follow, Puri confronts other challenges at the plantation—newfound siblings, hidden affairs, and her father’s dark secrets. Then there are the dangers awakened by her attraction to an enigmatic man as she tries to learn the identity of an enemy who is still at large, threatening the future she is determined to claim.
This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This advanced reader’s copy was received courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley. As always, all opinions are entirely my own!
First of all, I thought the concept of this novel was fantastic. Puri disguises herself as her husband to try and uncover which of her half-siblings want her dead. Set in the historical context of the 1920s, this was a really intriguing storyline as it gives us a glimpse into the gender roles of the time period.
Puri was also a really great character. She’s spunky, clever, and industrious. But in addition to all this determination, she’s also still just wants her newfound family to love her. I also really appreciated the author’s note at the back of the novel about women who had to register patents under their husband’s names, and who cross-dressed as men in order to achieve their own goals. This was a fascinating bit of history and I think that drive really came through with the character of Puri.
While I enjoyed the story, I do wish that there was a bit more description in regards to the city of Vince and the cacao plantation. This is such a lush and rich setting and I didn’t get as much of a feel for it as I would have liked. This made for a slower start and I struggled to connect at first. Once I got into the novel, however, I was completely hooked and sped my way through the second half of the book.
The mystery aspect of this story was also very well done. There were multiple twists that I didn’t see coming and the final reveal kept me guessing until the very end. The book was full of family drama and secrets that had multiple layers!
Also, in terms of overall reader satisfaction, the cover of this novel is absolutely gorgeous! It deserves its share of stars too! If you enjoy historical novels set in unique places, with a little bit of romance and a little bit of suspense, then I recommend checking out The Spanish Daughter!