on September 7, 2021
Genres: Magical Realism
Published by Atria Books
Setting: United States and Ecuador
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 backed.
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.
I picked this book up because I enjoyed Labyrinth Lost by this author. That was a YA book and this is her first adult novel.
I’m a huge fan of stories with magical houses and gardens. I was hooked as soon as I read the description. Orquidea has had many husbands and children. Now she is gathering all of her descendants in time for her to die. She does this by writing letters that are magical delivered – sometimes by birds. (Life goals)
A major theme in this story is the things that go unsaid in families. Orquidea’s background is almost entirely unknown to her grandchildren. They ask questions but she says that she physically is unable to answer. The stranger things get in this gathering the more the family just looks away rather than forcing the truth out into the open. And things do get strange. Magical gifts are passed out. Ghosts visit. Then Orquidea transforms instead of dying. The family really doesn’t know what to do with any of this so most of them go about their business.
The story picks up seven years later when some of the family have used their gifts well and others haven’t figured them out yet. They are forced back together by a dark force that is hunting them. Now finding out about Orquidea’s past may be necessary to save them all.
I like the absurdity and suspension of disbelief that is required to read magical realism. You suddenly have a flower growing out of your head? Cool. There is a rooster running around who is at least 50 years old, has died a few times (but got better), and occasionally lays eggs? Nothing to see here.
I feel like magical realism always leaves me with a few more questions than answers. That’s not a bad thing. If you like magical realism, you’ll probably love this book.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: