THE ENCHANTED HACIENDA rating: three stars ⭐⭐⭐.
THE ENCHANTED HACIENDA will be released May 16, 2023 by HarperCollins. It’s described as Hispanic and Latino fiction, but it’s also fantasy, and obviously women’s fiction. Recommended for fans of Hispanic and Latino fantasy and magical realism fiction and for those who like THE ENCHANTED APRIL by Elizabeth Armin (free to download at Project Gutenberg) and/or LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE by Laura Esquivel (Doubleday, 1992) and are looking for a light, early summer escape to an enchanted place.
Disclaimer: Thanks to Edelweiss/Above the Treeline and HarperCollins for sending a copy of this book to me for review consideration. All opinions are my own.
Main character Harlow Estrada is from a magical clan in Mexico whose women, blessed by a goddess named Mayahuel, grow enchanted flowers and have different kids of magic. Except for Harlow, who has no magic. Their flower shop is named “Encanto” and there are obvious parallels to the Disney film of that name. Harlow goes home to the magical farm after a firing and breakup in NYC and begins to rebuild her life among the flowers and within the magically enhanced connection of her extended family.
Lush floral imagery and wonderful female familial ties make this novel charming with plenty of sweetness, but I felt worn out by the vicissitudes of the (completely predictable) romance, and the novel would have been tighter, in my opinion, with fewer plot distractions, if Harlow were not a writer and just worked toward settling with the family on their beautiful enchanted farm and being reborn.
If Harlow were going to write, it could be a book of flower spells to remain within the family, passed down to a niece or her own daughter to carry on the magical matriarchy, which would make for a much more interesting ending.
What I’m reading right now:
The works of S. A. Cosby in publication order for a future blog.