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The Spanish Daughter

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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 estate in Vinces, Ecuador, a town nicknamed “París Chiquito.” Eager to claim her birthright and filled with hope for a new life after the devastation of World War I, she and her husband Cristób 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 estate in Vinces, Ecuador, a town nicknamed “París Chiquito.” Eager to claim her birthright and filled with hope for a new life after the devastation of World War I, 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 estate… 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 estate—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… Perfect for fans of Julia Alvarez and Silvia Moreno-Garcia, this exhilarating novel transports you to the lush tropical landscape of 1920s Ecuador, blending family drama, dangerous mystery, and the real-life history of the coastal town known as the “birthplace of cacao.”


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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 estate in Vinces, Ecuador, a town nicknamed “París Chiquito.” Eager to claim her birthright and filled with hope for a new life after the devastation of World War I, she and her husband Cristób 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 estate in Vinces, Ecuador, a town nicknamed “París Chiquito.” Eager to claim her birthright and filled with hope for a new life after the devastation of World War I, 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 estate… 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 estate—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… Perfect for fans of Julia Alvarez and Silvia Moreno-Garcia, this exhilarating novel transports you to the lush tropical landscape of 1920s Ecuador, blending family drama, dangerous mystery, and the real-life history of the coastal town known as the “birthplace of cacao.”

30 review for The Spanish Daughter

  1. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    For some reason, 2021 has been the year I’ve read several stories about women posing as men in the past. Here, Puri has learned of her father’s death and is traveling with her husband to Ecuador, where her father lived since she was two. But during the crossing, someone kills her husband in an attempt on her life. For her own safety, she begins to pass as her husband, because someone is obviously upset about her inheriting a portion of her father’s cocoa estate. When she arrives in Vinces, she d For some reason, 2021 has been the year I’ve read several stories about women posing as men in the past. Here, Puri has learned of her father’s death and is traveling with her husband to Ecuador, where her father lived since she was two. But during the crossing, someone kills her husband in an attempt on her life. For her own safety, she begins to pass as her husband, because someone is obviously upset about her inheriting a portion of her father’s cocoa estate. When she arrives in Vinces, she discovers her father had a second family, with three additional children. I was drawn to this novel based on a comparison to Julia Alvarez. And there is a similarity in style - a lush style of writing, well developed characters. This story blends the mystery of who is behind the murder of Cristobal with a well researched historical story of the cocoa industry. Told primarily from Puri’s point of view, we also get glimpses into the thoughts and backgrounds of her half sisters. The story is a slow build family drama, with the first half entirely taking up with setting the scene and introducing a wide range of characters. Despite Hughes’ detailed descriptions on how Puri passed as a man, I was having trouble buying into it. It took a suspension of belief to think a fake beard was enough to fool people. I also think part of the problem was the narrator’s voice. Frankie Corzo narrates and she has a lovely feminine voice. Puri’s voice is supposedly naturally deep, but Corzo’s attempts to talk in a low, husky voice failed to convince. I did appreciate the way that Puri passing as a man provided her (and us) an eye into the contrast between men’s and women's lives in the day. In scene after scene, she sees first hand the freedoms her sex is denied. In addition to spelling out the differences between the sexes in the 1920s, the book also explores the differences between the classes. While the mystery is very low key, there are plenty of suspects as everyone is hiding secrets. Overall, an enjoyable historical fiction that will provide 10 hours of entertainment. My thanks to Netgalley and RB Media for an advance copy of this audiobook.

  2. 4 out of 5

    RoshReviews

    In a Nutshell: It was good, not great. I have pretty much mixed feelings about every aspect of this book. So you may or may not read it depending on your reading preferences. Read on to know more. Story: Ecuador, 1920. Puri--short for Maria Purificacion deLafont--and her husband Cristóbal are on their way by ship from their native Spain to Ecuador, in response to a letter received from her lately-deceased father's lawyer, asking her to come and claim her inheritance. (Oh my! What a complex sentenc In a Nutshell: It was good, not great. I have pretty much mixed feelings about every aspect of this book. So you may or may not read it depending on your reading preferences. Read on to know more. Story: Ecuador, 1920. Puri--short for Maria Purificacion deLafont--and her husband Cristóbal are on their way by ship from their native Spain to Ecuador, in response to a letter received from her lately-deceased father's lawyer, asking her to come and claim her inheritance. (Oh my! What a complex sentence!) But aboard the ship, someone attempts to murder her. When Cristóbal comes to her rescue, both the assailant and he end up dead and Puri is unexpectedly left a widow in the middle of nowhere. To safeguard herself from future attacks and from being a woman travelling alone in a new country, she takes over her husband's identity and disembarks the ship as Cristóbal. Can she find out the truth of who wants her dead? The story is narrated in the first person perspectives of Puri, and her step sisters Anjelica and Catalina. The latter two perspectives begin a few years in the past, slowly making their way to the present timeline of 1920. Pro: The book is a combination of multiple genres - historical fiction, mystery and family drama Con: It works very well as a family drama, partially as a historical fiction, and not at all as a mystery. Pro: The female mc dressed as a man for most of the story provides an entertaining historical insight. Some of her experiences are quite well written. Con: There are way too many lines dedicated to comparisons between men and woman. Puri has constant refrains on things that men have easy, things that they have tough, and the same comparisons for women. It starts off well but soon becomes repetitive and irksome. Pro: Puri seems like a strong and intelligent woman who wants to be independent in a day and age where women were expected to be puppets at the hands of their husbands. She makes an impactful mc in this regard. Con: Her character isn’t sketched in a way that makes you connect with her realistically. For instance, her father is supposed to have abandoned her mother when she was just two. He settled in a new country and had a new family. Thereafter his correspondence with her was through sporadic letters. Yet, she feels only loyalty towards him rather than anger. Her feelings for Cristóbal keep shifting throughout the story. Pro: A great part of the story deals with finding out who the mysterious assailant is. There are enough characters on whom the author throws a shadow of doubt, thereby attempting to give your brain cells a lot to chew upon. Con: I could easily guess who the culprit was, once they appeared in the storyline. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ There were a few surprise twists but nothing quite astounding. Pro: Having been written in first person voices of three female characters, the story has a lot of emotional pondering and secretive actions. To a certain extent, this enhances the mystery. Con: A tiny part of me feels that the book might have worked better in third person narrative because none of the leading ladies were likeable (at least for me). They sounded really whiny at times. And none of the characters, main or secondary, were captivating enough to hold my interest beyond a certain level. Pro: The biggest appeal of this book lies in the fact that a woman in 1920 Ecuador dressed up as a man to detect her potential killer. So it doesn’t fall into your typical historical fiction mould. Con: The whole idea seems unrealistic on many levels. How did Puri disembark without the captain or any passenger even realising that she was dressed as the dead passenger? There’s a line saying that she gave away her gowns to other passengers. Didn’t anyone question why? Wherever there is doubt of how she passed off as a man, there’s content to show you that she was exceptionally tall for her gender or that she had a deep voice. But towards the latter half when she reveals her identity, her face is said to be delicate. She is said to have stolen the beard from a performing troupe on board and wears Cristóbal’s glasses to further add a layer of camouflage. How the heck did she see properly with those glasses? It was just farfetched and too convenient. Even beyond Puri’s disguise, there are many elements that don’t make sense. For instance, why would a woman of the 1920s tell her dead stepsister’s husband (whom she knows for just a few days) of how she lost her virginity? Didn’t she have any other shoulders to cry upon? Pro: The historical aspects of a cacao plantation and chocolate making are excellently written. Con: No con here. This is the best part of the book, though it makes just a brief appearance in the story. Overall, I think I expected a lot, especially considering that this is an #OwnVoices book. So if you reduce your expectations and proceed without using your inner logical detective too much, you might just enjoy it more than I did. Just focus more on the history than on the mystery, and you ought to like it reasonably well. I heard the audiobook, clocking at 9 hrs 45 minutes and narrated by Frankie Corzo. The narration was quite nice and her rendering of the Spanish words made me feel like she really knew her Spanish. (I have no idea if she was pronouncing them right because I don’t know Spanish. 😂) At the same time, keep in mind that there are multiple timelines and multiple perspectives. If you are a newbie audiobook listener, this audio production will befuddle you. Stick to reading instead. 3.25 stars from me. My thanks to RB Media, Recorded Books, and NetGalley for the ALC of “The Spanish Daughter”. This review is voluntary and contains my honest opinion about the audiobook. *********************** Join me on the Facebook group, Readers Forever! , for more reviews, book-related discussions and fun.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    For the rest of us, there's chocolate...... Lorena Hughes introduces us to Maria Purificacion de Lafont, a twenty-eight year old chocolatier who is an artisan in creating confections made with chocolate. Her little shop is located in her native Sevilla, Spain where she is the hostess. It is here where she and her writer husband, Cristobal de Balboa live and work in 1920. But word is received that Puri's father has passed away where he ran a cacao plantation in Ecuador. Puri's parents were estrange For the rest of us, there's chocolate...... Lorena Hughes introduces us to Maria Purificacion de Lafont, a twenty-eight year old chocolatier who is an artisan in creating confections made with chocolate. Her little shop is located in her native Sevilla, Spain where she is the hostess. It is here where she and her writer husband, Cristobal de Balboa live and work in 1920. But word is received that Puri's father has passed away where he ran a cacao plantation in Ecuador. Puri's parents were estranged and she has not seen her father since childhood. Though still married to Puri's mother, Don Armand had since had another family there. Puri and Cristobal were beckoned to Ecuador for the reading of the will. Little did Puri and Cristobal realize that danger would be boarding that ship together with them. Just outside the waters of Cuba, an attempt would be made on their lives. Only Puri would be continuing on the voyage. She dresses as her husband Cristobal in order to protect herself from further danger. But once she does this, Puri must continue the charade even in front of her new family. Who is behind the plot to kill her? Puri is "dead" and Cristobal lives. The Spanish Daughter is an entertaining read. It crosses back and forth from historical fiction with a bit of mystery inside. But there is not an absolute heightening of mystery or danger to carry the plot even towards the wrap-up in the ending. I settled on 3.5 Stars kicked up to 4 Stars because of the author's well researched view of Ecuador in 1920. Might I mention that cover is gorgeous as well. Check out the Author's Notes that explain the spark that created this storyline. There was an actual Maria Purificacion Garcia who developed a cacao bean roaster in 1847. Women inventors were happening only to put the patent in their husband's name. Interesting...... I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Kensington Publishers and to Lorena Hughes for the opportunity.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Annette

    Ecuador, 1920. Maria Purificacion arrives in Vinces to claim her inheritance. While on the ship, her husband Cristobal perishes when trying to protect Maria. Now, she is disguising as her late husband since there was an attempt on her life. Once on the cocoa plantation, she learns that there is one caveat of the will she wasn’t expecting. She is to be in charge of her late father’s cacao plantation, holding 50% of assets. But since she is supposedly dead, she can’t claim it. As Maria tries to unr Ecuador, 1920. Maria Purificacion arrives in Vinces to claim her inheritance. While on the ship, her husband Cristobal perishes when trying to protect Maria. Now, she is disguising as her late husband since there was an attempt on her life. Once on the cocoa plantation, she learns that there is one caveat of the will she wasn’t expecting. She is to be in charge of her late father’s cacao plantation, holding 50% of assets. But since she is supposedly dead, she can’t claim it. As Maria tries to unravel who is behind the attempt on her life, we get to know her half-siblings in flashbacks, which add to the constantly building suspense. The characters are interestingly developed; the story is engrossingly woven, making it a quick read. I constantly kept guessing who was behind the attempt. However, when it comes to historical background, I wished it depicted vibrantly the town of Vinces known as Little Paris and the life on cocoa plantation and what it entails. Source: ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Karren Sandercock

    Maria Purificacion de Lafont lives in Sevilla Spain, she’s married to Christobal de Balboa, and she owns a chocolate shop. In 1920, times are still tough in Spain after the end of the First World War, when Puri receives a letter from a lawyer in Vinces, Ecuador, a town known as “little Paris” and she’s inherited a share of her estranged father’s cocoa plantation. Don Armand Lafront, abandoned his wife and Puri when she was two and moved to Ecuador. Puri’s closes her shop, with her husband Christo Maria Purificacion de Lafont lives in Sevilla Spain, she’s married to Christobal de Balboa, and she owns a chocolate shop. In 1920, times are still tough in Spain after the end of the First World War, when Puri receives a letter from a lawyer in Vinces, Ecuador, a town known as “little Paris” and she’s inherited a share of her estranged father’s cocoa plantation. Don Armand Lafront, abandoned his wife and Puri when she was two and moved to Ecuador. Puri’s closes her shop, with her husband Christobal they embark on the sea voyage to Ecuador and he plans to write his novel. They have no idea that Puri’s life’s in danger, when Christabal comes to her aid, he’s killed, and Puri’s left in shock and terrified. She decides to dress in her husband’s clothes, take on his identity until she finds out who wanted to kill her and why? Arriving in Ecuador, she discovers her father was a rich man, she has three half siblings and she continues to maintain her disguise. Marin Sabater runs the plantation, he takes Puri on a tour, as a chocolate maker she finds, the process of growing, harvesting, fermenting and drying of the cocoa beans fascinating. The house is full of tension and she uncovers her father had other affairs, he kept secrets and his eldest daughter by his “second wife” resented Puri for being his only legitimate child. Puri doesn’t feel safe at all, she’s cant confess who she really is, until she works out who’s wants kill her, and is it one of her father’s children, their spouse, a disgruntled employee and has someone been forging her father’s signature? The Spanish Daughter is a story full of intrigue, secrets, deception, and of course deceit. It was based on author Lorena Hughes discovering a cacao bean roasting machine was patented by a woman in 1847, and she created her story around that vital piece of information. It’s really interesting that cacao growers in 1920’s Ecuador, had never tried the final product and despite making a fortune from harvesting cacao beans. I received a copy of this book from Edelweiss and Kensington Publishing in exchange for an honest review, a light historical mystery, four stars from me, and I look forward to reading The Sister of Alameda Street, I didn’t realize it was by Lorena Hughes and I purchased it a few weeks ago! https://karrenreadsbooks.blogspot.com/ https://www.facebook.com/KarrenReadsH...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sarah-Hope

    Lorena Hughes' The Spanish Daughter offers an engaging read. Not too demanding, but also fluff-free, the kind of story a reader can lose herself in for several hours. The central character Puri been running a chocolate shop in Spain in the years leading up to 1920, inspired by both her grandmother, who was a fine chocolate-maker and the inventor of a roaster for cacao, and her father, who left for Ecuador determined to build a cacao plantation and never returned. When her father dies, leaving a Lorena Hughes' The Spanish Daughter offers an engaging read. Not too demanding, but also fluff-free, the kind of story a reader can lose herself in for several hours. The central character Puri been running a chocolate shop in Spain in the years leading up to 1920, inspired by both her grandmother, who was a fine chocolate-maker and the inventor of a roaster for cacao, and her father, who left for Ecuador determined to build a cacao plantation and never returned. When her father dies, leaving a substantial chunk of that plantation to Puri, she convinces her husband Cristóbal that they should travel to Ecuador to make a living via this inheritance. On the boat to Ecuador, an assassin attempts to kill Puri, but it's Cristóbal who dies. Knowing her life is under threat, Puri continues on her journey, dressing as Cristóbal for self-protection. When she arrives in Ecuador, Puri finds she has relatives she never knew of: two half-sisters and a half-brother. Before her disguise is uncovered, Puri needs to determine who tried to have her killed. The remainder of the novel follows Puri's investigations and explores the lessons about gender that cross-dressing provides her. This balance between mystery and self-discovery works well—Puri, as her husband Cristóbal, is herself a mystery for those she investigates. Her new relatives and Martín, the manager of the plantation, all have things to hide, but do they include attempted murder? If you like historical fiction, mysteries, novels with strong women, adventure fiction—you'll enjoy The Spanish Daughter. It would also make a great gift book for the holidays, offering an escape into a very different world for the recipient. I received a free electronic review copy of this title from the publisher.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sujoya

    The Spanish Daughter by Lorena Hughes revolves around twenty-eight year old chocolatier Maria Purificacion de Lafont y Toledo (Puri) ,daughter of a French father and Spanish mother, who runs her own chocolate shop in Seville, Spain with her aspiring writer husband, Cristobal. After the demise of her estranged father who abandoned her and her mother twenty-five years ago she inherits a large share of his cacau plantation in Vinces, Ecuador. En route to Ecuador, an attempt on her life results in th The Spanish Daughter by Lorena Hughes revolves around twenty-eight year old chocolatier Maria Purificacion de Lafont y Toledo (Puri) ,daughter of a French father and Spanish mother, who runs her own chocolate shop in Seville, Spain with her aspiring writer husband, Cristobal. After the demise of her estranged father who abandoned her and her mother twenty-five years ago she inherits a large share of his cacau plantation in Vinces, Ecuador. En route to Ecuador, an attempt on her life results in the death of her husband whose body goes overboard along with their assailant. Sensing that her attack is linked to her inheritance she impersonates her late husband and informs her half-siblings, whose existence she was unaware of before reaching Ecuador that “Puri” passed away on the journey due to illness, while she tries to unmask the identity of the person who plotted the attempt on her life and murdered her husband. As the story progresses and we get to know more about the siblings-their pasts, their complicated personal relationships and their true feelings towards each other, long buried family secrets and deceptions are exposed . For Puri , keeping her true identity a secret becomes increasingly difficult as she tries to determine who she can actually trust and what she needs to do stay safe. For the most part, the narrative is carried by Puri with some segments in the voices of her half-sisters Angelica and Catalina. In Puri the author creates an intelligent and brave woman who is i ahead of her times. While impersonating her husband she experiences first-hand how societal norms and expectations set for men and women are tilted largely in favor of men. Her experiences and interpretations of the same make for some very interesting and entertaining reading With the vivid backdrop of the cacao boom in the Guayas Basin of Ecuador, The Spanish Daughter is a very engaging work of historical fiction with an element of suspense that keeps you hooked till the very end. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel and finished it in a day. Thanks to Goodreads, the author and Kensington Books for the Advance Reader’s Edition.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This was an audiobook for me and it was really, really good. I can’t believe how much I liked it. I mean I knew it was going to be an interesting read but this was great! The narrator, Frankie Corzo was excellent and I loved the writing. It was rich in cultural narrative and history. With compelling, vibrant characters that only created more mystery and wonder. I’m really glad I found this author and look forward to reading her next novel. I highly recommend listening to this. Thanks Recorded Bo This was an audiobook for me and it was really, really good. I can’t believe how much I liked it. I mean I knew it was going to be an interesting read but this was great! The narrator, Frankie Corzo was excellent and I loved the writing. It was rich in cultural narrative and history. With compelling, vibrant characters that only created more mystery and wonder. I’m really glad I found this author and look forward to reading her next novel. I highly recommend listening to this. Thanks Recorded Books via NetGalley. #TheSpanishDaughter #NetGalley

  9. 4 out of 5

    Anna Lee Huber

    A lyrical and nuanced study of family and belonging. Readers will fall in love with The Spanish Daughter’s unique setting amidst the cacao plantations of Ecuador in 1920, its lush and vivid prose, and compelling and audacious heroine. I’m already looking forward to the sequel.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Laura Snider

    This is a period piece, based on a family who has made their money by growing the plant that is used to make chocolate. It is the first book I've ever read that takes place on a chocolate plantation. While I would have liked to know more about the life of those who worked on the plantation, this book focuses on the family who live in the main house. The family relationships are strained from he start. The owner of the plantation is the father of one "legitimate" daughter, three illegitimate chil This is a period piece, based on a family who has made their money by growing the plant that is used to make chocolate. It is the first book I've ever read that takes place on a chocolate plantation. While I would have liked to know more about the life of those who worked on the plantation, this book focuses on the family who live in the main house. The family relationships are strained from he start. The owner of the plantation is the father of one "legitimate" daughter, three illegitimate children (two girls and one boy), and one daughter that he doesn't acknowledge as his child. The bulk of the plantation is left to the "legitimate" daughter, who has to travel from Spain to collect her inheritance. An assassination attempt on the crossing leads to her decision to dress has her recently discussed husband, and pretend to be him as she investigates who tried to have her killed. The whole premise of the book is unique, the story was well paced, and the characters were well-rounded. They all had their own little secrets that added depth, especially to the more traditional characters. I also felt like the discovery of the main character's gender (that she was a woman posing as her husband) would have had a bit more backlash in that time period. After all, they are still wearing corsets and dresses and are supposed to be a proper, upper class family. I also felt like the ending was odd. I won't give away what happened, but the event occurs abruptly with little to no warning, and it left me feeling a bit unsatisfied. Despite the few shortcomings, I enjoyed the book. My biggest issues came near the very end, which was disappointing, but it didn't ruin the appreciation I had for the earlier parts of the book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Crystal

    4.5 stars! The Spanish Daughter is a book that will have you travelling back in time to 1920 in Ecuador like you were there. Could you imagine just learning you just inherited a cocoa plantation and you have a family? You sail off to meet your family and someone tries to kill you, but they kill your husband instead? I loved the concept of Puri taking on the identity of her recently murdered husband to find out who killed her husband all the while meeting her newfound siblings. I will have to admit 4.5 stars! The Spanish Daughter is a book that will have you travelling back in time to 1920 in Ecuador like you were there. Could you imagine just learning you just inherited a cocoa plantation and you have a family? You sail off to meet your family and someone tries to kill you, but they kill your husband instead? I loved the concept of Puri taking on the identity of her recently murdered husband to find out who killed her husband all the while meeting her newfound siblings. I will have to admit the book was masterfully written to keep you turning pages to find out who killed Puri's husband. I couldn't put it down! Such a wonderful read!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Pooja

    Puri and her husband Cristóbal are on their way to Ecuador, where Puri is to claim a chocolate plantation that has been left to her, when her husband is murdered by the assassin sent for her. Determined to avenge him, Puri assumes Cristóbal's identity and goes to the plantation, where a trio of secret siblings is but the first of the surprises... I was immediately intrigued by this book, because I'd never read anything with such a plot. Yet despite the intricacy of the premise, it is written in a Puri and her husband Cristóbal are on their way to Ecuador, where Puri is to claim a chocolate plantation that has been left to her, when her husband is murdered by the assassin sent for her. Determined to avenge him, Puri assumes Cristóbal's identity and goes to the plantation, where a trio of secret siblings is but the first of the surprises... I was immediately intrigued by this book, because I'd never read anything with such a plot. Yet despite the intricacy of the premise, it is written in a straightforward manner that was easy to follow despite all the things going on. The various storylines and backgrounds of the characters are woven together in a cohesive fashion, and there were even points in the book where I gasped out loud, I was so shocked by the twists. The linchpin of this novel is Puri, who is a quite endearingly ordinary person. She is a chocolatier who drops everything in Spain and rushes to Ecuador at her father's behest, even though he abandoned her and her mother when she was a child. Though I am not sold on the logistics of her cross-dressing, her plan did not seem hare-brained at all to me which is a first when it comes to ludicrous plans in mysteries. I also found the various supporting characters intriguing, especially Puri's sisters who are given their chance to narrate the novel. I was especially interested in Catalina's experience of seeing the Virgin Mary and how it tied into the main plot. I did wish however that we saw more of Puri-as-Cristóbal bonding with the pair. The relationship between Martin and Puri, on the other hand, was well-developed, and I liked its resolution because it made sense considering Puri's circumstances when they met. The mystery I found intriguing, but the reveals surrounding the burned-faced assassin were a little underwhelming, maybe because of the way Puri went about investigating it. I would have liked to see the ultimate revealing of the plot better developed, maybe more of an explanation of logistics. But I liked that the resolution to the mystery was not the resolution to the book as whole, as in the end this is as much a family drama as a mystery. Overall, an engaging read with a unique premise and setting.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Charlie

    Like a mystery? I mean a really dang good mystery??? Well, in my opinion, this is one of them. AND, do you know a little about Ecuador And chocolate? You've come to the right place to find out - throw in a murder, inheritance, troubled siblings, and a woman dressed as a man who is trying to find out who killed her husband on the ship coming over to Ecuador to inquire about her inheritance. After arriving in Ecuador, Puri, the woman dressed as her husband is trying to sort out the answers to thes Like a mystery? I mean a really dang good mystery??? Well, in my opinion, this is one of them. AND, do you know a little about Ecuador And chocolate? You've come to the right place to find out - throw in a murder, inheritance, troubled siblings, and a woman dressed as a man who is trying to find out who killed her husband on the ship coming over to Ecuador to inquire about her inheritance. After arriving in Ecuador, Puri, the woman dressed as her husband is trying to sort out the answers to these mysteries. Good luck. For more insight into the story read the other really good reviews. Excuse my grammar - that ole Grammar site seems at odds with my writing skills. LOL

  14. 5 out of 5

    Marina J. Humphrey ♡

    "The truth was that this perfection, these beautiful objects surrounding me, held no meaning for me.” — Lorena Hughes, The Spanish Daughter I was quite pleased with ‘The Spanish Daughter’, especially because it encompasses a variety of things that I love in a novel: historical fiction, strong female lead, and mystery. I loved the concept and the glimpse into gender roles* made for such a good plot. The author, Lorena Hughes, wonderfully developed each character, which made me love this story that "The truth was that this perfection, these beautiful objects surrounding me, held no meaning for me.” — Lorena Hughes, The Spanish Daughter I was quite pleased with ‘The Spanish Daughter’, especially because it encompasses a variety of things that I love in a novel: historical fiction, strong female lead, and mystery. I loved the concept and the glimpse into gender roles* made for such a good plot. The author, Lorena Hughes, wonderfully developed each character, which made me love this story that much more. There were also so many plot twists that I didn’t see coming which had me guessing the entire time. *mostly the opportunities she was afforded because of disguising herself as her late husband. Book Rating: ★★★★☆

  15. 4 out of 5

    Joanne

    Historical Fiction, a mystery and some romance. All done rather well by this new to me author. Set in 1920, Maria Purificacion deLafont (known as Puri) is traveling from Spain to Ecuador with her husband. She is going to claim an inheritance left by the father who deserted her mother years ago. While traveling Puri's husband Cristobal is murdered. Puri is sure the attack was meant for her and she disguises herself as a man, posing as Cristobel when she lands in Ecuador. Faced with a family she wa Historical Fiction, a mystery and some romance. All done rather well by this new to me author. Set in 1920, Maria Purificacion deLafont (known as Puri) is traveling from Spain to Ecuador with her husband. She is going to claim an inheritance left by the father who deserted her mother years ago. While traveling Puri's husband Cristobal is murdered. Puri is sure the attack was meant for her and she disguises herself as a man, posing as Cristobel when she lands in Ecuador. Faced with a family she was always jealous of, Puri sets out to find the murderer and claim the land her father left for her. The writing is smart and the story well told. It just felt rushed at the end and I have to round down. I will try this author again, her research is notable and I think she has what it takes to become someone great.

  16. 5 out of 5

    theliterateleprechaun

    After hearing about her father’s death, Puri travels to Ecuador to claim her inheritance. She’s been left a sizeable cocoa plantation – a delight for this young chocolatier from Seville, Spain. Unfortunately, Puri soon learns that someone has been hired to get rid of her, mistakenly murdering her husband instead of her. In an attempt to seek answers, Puri disguises herself as her late husband and arrives in Ecuador under the guise of collecting the inheritance on behalf of his late wife. Discove After hearing about her father’s death, Puri travels to Ecuador to claim her inheritance. She’s been left a sizeable cocoa plantation – a delight for this young chocolatier from Seville, Spain. Unfortunately, Puri soon learns that someone has been hired to get rid of her, mistakenly murdering her husband instead of her. In an attempt to seek answers, Puri disguises herself as her late husband and arrives in Ecuador under the guise of collecting the inheritance on behalf of his late wife. Discovering siblings that she was unaware of is just one of the shocks Puri faces. Set against the lush backdrop of 20th century Ecuador, this own-voices author highlights the destructing force of harboured jealousy and the strengthening and rebuilding that can take place when we look for similarities rather than differences between us and our supposed enemies. Legacy and corruption go hand in hand in this absorbing read. Inspired by history and fleshed out by vivid descriptions, this Latinx historical novel was an informative read with a rushed ending and the potential for mystery and romance undeveloped. Regardless, it was a satisfying family drama laced with historical detail. I was gifted this advance copy by Lorena Hughes, Kensington Books, and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review. Publishes December 28, 2021.

  17. 4 out of 5

    smalltownbookmom

    3.5 - If you're looking for a historical novel that will transport you to a time and place you don't read about often, look no further! I enjoyed this historical family saga set in 1920s Spain and Ecuador based around their cacao plantation. When Puri learns of her estranged father's passing in Ecuador, she takes it as a sign and an opportunity. She convinces her husband to abandon their chocolate shop in Spain and start over in Ecuador. The journey doesn't go as expected though and Puri is forc 3.5 - If you're looking for a historical novel that will transport you to a time and place you don't read about often, look no further! I enjoyed this historical family saga set in 1920s Spain and Ecuador based around their cacao plantation. When Puri learns of her estranged father's passing in Ecuador, she takes it as a sign and an opportunity. She convinces her husband to abandon their chocolate shop in Spain and start over in Ecuador. The journey doesn't go as expected though and Puri is forced to arrive under a false identity. What follows is a compelling mystery, rich with historical detail and complicated family dynamics. Really excellently narrated by Frankie Corzo. Much thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my ALC!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bianca Rogers

    If you like historical fiction, mysteries, novels with strong women, and chocolate - The Spanish Daughter is the perfect book for you! I instantly connected with Puri's fearless personality. Her decision to impersonate her husband gives her the experiences first-hand how men and women are tilted largely in favor of men in the 1920s. The family drama and secrets kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end. For the die heart Historical Fiction fans, the Spanish Daughter will be a nice break If you like historical fiction, mysteries, novels with strong women, and chocolate - The Spanish Daughter is the perfect book for you! I instantly connected with Puri's fearless personality. Her decision to impersonate her husband gives her the experiences first-hand how men and women are tilted largely in favor of men in the 1920s. The family drama and secrets kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end. For the die heart Historical Fiction fans, the Spanish Daughter will be a nice break from the typical WWII novels based during this time period. I will also note that the Author's Note was a nice added touch! Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for an advanced audiobook copy in exchange for a honest review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    KarenK2

    I received this from Netgalley.com. "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." An okay read, but not so compelling as to completely draw me in. 2.75☆ I received this from Netgalley.com. "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." An okay read, but not so compelling as to completely draw me in. 2.75☆

  20. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    A great blend of history and fiction. A woman inherits a cacao plantation from her father who see has not seen in many years. On the trip from Spain to Ecuador Puri's husband is killed by an assassin who was meant to kill her. She decides to take on the role of her husband so she can determine who sent the man to kill her. She keeps up her deception until she finds the truth. This is such a rich and enjoyable story. This is one of my favorite reads of 2021. I think this will be one of the top bo A great blend of history and fiction. A woman inherits a cacao plantation from her father who see has not seen in many years. On the trip from Spain to Ecuador Puri's husband is killed by an assassin who was meant to kill her. She decides to take on the role of her husband so she can determine who sent the man to kill her. She keeps up her deception until she finds the truth. This is such a rich and enjoyable story. This is one of my favorite reads of 2021. I think this will be one of the top books of the year. I won this book in a GoodReads Giveaway.

  21. 4 out of 5

    MaryAnn

    Puri is informed that her long absent father has passed and she is to inherit his cacao plantation in Ecuador. Faced with this golden opportunity, she closes her chocolate shop in her native Spain and convinces her husband Cristóbal to sail across the ocean to claim her fortune. In Ecuador at last, she will be able to truly pursue her passion for chocolate and make her grandmother proud. Aboard the Andes she is stripped of her illusions when an attempt is made on her life. In a struggle, the mys Puri is informed that her long absent father has passed and she is to inherit his cacao plantation in Ecuador. Faced with this golden opportunity, she closes her chocolate shop in her native Spain and convinces her husband Cristóbal to sail across the ocean to claim her fortune. In Ecuador at last, she will be able to truly pursue her passion for chocolate and make her grandmother proud. Aboard the Andes she is stripped of her illusions when an attempt is made on her life. In a struggle, the mysterious assassin and her husband go overboard and plunge to their deaths. Frightened and on her own, Puri dons Cristóbal’s clothes to conceal her true identity. Who could resent her enough to wish her dead? Clearly someone is unhappy that she is coming to fulfill her father’s final wishes. As a man, Puri is able to set aside the cumbersome social expectations of women and is able to explore some of the freedoms allowed to men. But do men really have it any easier? Our protagonist finds adventure, but it is not exactly the adventure she anticipated. Upon arrival she dines with her father’s lawyer and a sparrow-hawk dives at the window. Aquillino laments, “the poor creature must not have seen the glass, it didn’t know what it was getting itself into when it came.” Hughes presents a window into Ecuador in the early 1920’s when cacao’s golden pods beckoned Europeans with their promise of riches. Ecuador’s ‘Little Paris’ provides a lush setting with characters reminiscent of a grand telenovela. I so enjoyed reading The Spanish Daughter and highly recommend it to historical fiction enthusiasts. Many thanks to NetGalley for the gift of this digital arc. Wait for it - Pub Date 28 Dec 2021.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Anita Ramani

    Set in the cacao plantation of Vines, Ecuador, The Spanish Daughter is an enthralling novel about determination and the will to survive. This book tells the story of Puri, a bright, young woman who impersonates her husband in an attempt to rightfully claim her estate. The story follows Puri as she is faced with a multitude of challenges along the way. There is much mystery, suspense and drama to be found here - but also, when it is most needed, love, joy and hope.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    The Spanish Daughter by Lorena Hughes is an excellent historical fiction novel that has history, action, suspense, great character cast, and a fabulous backdrop that kept me enthralled from beginning to end. I loved this gorgeous novel. The author's ability to describe the landscapes, locations, and flora/fauna really evoked vivid and realistic images for me while I read this gripping narrative. I also really enjoyed being exposed to and learning about the process of growing, harvesting, and proc The Spanish Daughter by Lorena Hughes is an excellent historical fiction novel that has history, action, suspense, great character cast, and a fabulous backdrop that kept me enthralled from beginning to end. I loved this gorgeous novel. The author's ability to describe the landscapes, locations, and flora/fauna really evoked vivid and realistic images for me while I read this gripping narrative. I also really enjoyed being exposed to and learning about the process of growing, harvesting, and procuring cacao and all that is entailed into the process towards chocolate. I knew a little bit, but to see the history behind it during this time period was really a job and an education. Puri's unique and harrowing journey was definitely action-packed, entertaining, and was really engaging. She is such a great and complex main character. The twists, turns, and experiences that were part of the narrative were well-developed and I really admired her bravery, passion, and fortitude. The fundamental aspects of love, loss, overcoming obstacles, friendships forged, and perseverance were prevalent throughout. I also really enjoyed the ending. A great HF novel that I recommend. 5/5 stars Thank you NG and Kensington for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Thank you NetGalley and Kensington for an advanced reader copy of The Spanish Daughter. Puri loses what remained of her family before finding her future in Ecuador, in a family that has complicated feelings on the abandoned first daughter. Is it that a good future? Time will tell. I really liked Puri as a character. She had a lot of inner strength and seemed to waffle in non-binary territory at times when assuming a man's identity. Also appreciated that the book was set in a locale and time period Thank you NetGalley and Kensington for an advanced reader copy of The Spanish Daughter. Puri loses what remained of her family before finding her future in Ecuador, in a family that has complicated feelings on the abandoned first daughter. Is it that a good future? Time will tell. I really liked Puri as a character. She had a lot of inner strength and seemed to waffle in non-binary territory at times when assuming a man's identity. Also appreciated that the book was set in a locale and time period a reader doesn't usually get in historical fiction/mystery. It's easy to see the personal connection Hughes has to the region. And the realism of moving, of starting over, and what is left behind is very resonating for anyone starting over in a new place. If a reader likes family drama, I highly recommended this one. There's several perspectives that are shown throughout and it really works to solidify the dynamics. Some parts reminded me of Dynasty, the 1980s soap, when it comes to family interactions between the sisters. And that's a plus for someone who grew up with complicated family interactions. Some parts did seem to drag, and that did ding the points down a bit, but not overly so. This was a pretty solid 4 stars with me. Certain actions and reactions I felt like it didn't track with Puri, nor her siblings. Yet the atmosphere, characterization, and plot work together overall. There were some twists I saw early on, but enjoyed seeing how they played out. This was a great end of year read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    As a reader who enjoys all things historical fiction, a little bit of mystery, strong women characters, and a tropical setting, I knew I would enjoy "The Spanish Daughter" by Lorena Hughes. Puri, abandoned by her father in her childhood, receives a letter notifying her of his passing and travels to Ecuador to claim her inheritance. When her husband is murdered on the way to Ecuador, Puri dons his clothing...and his persona...to protect herself. Upon arrival, Puri sees suspects at every turn, inc As a reader who enjoys all things historical fiction, a little bit of mystery, strong women characters, and a tropical setting, I knew I would enjoy "The Spanish Daughter" by Lorena Hughes. Puri, abandoned by her father in her childhood, receives a letter notifying her of his passing and travels to Ecuador to claim her inheritance. When her husband is murdered on the way to Ecuador, Puri dons his clothing...and his persona...to protect herself. Upon arrival, Puri sees suspects at every turn, including her two half-sisters and half-brother. The author certainly knows how to weave a suspenseful story, and I suspected every character at some point. That said, some portions of the plot felt disjointed to me and the ending wrapped up too quickly and too tidily for my taste. Overall, however, this was a fun book with which to spend a cold winter's afternoon on the couch. Many thanks to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for the opportunity to read an advanced digital copy of this entertaining book in exchange for my honest review.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Katie Bogdan

    4.5 stars While I decided to take a break from historical fiction and mystery this year, The Spanish Daughter has reignited my love for both genres. With prose that is compulsively readable and a plot that unfolds deliciously, Hughes does a marvelous job of balancing between both genres. She incorporates just the right amount of historical context to give you a taste of the setting and adds just enough mystery to keep you engaged throughout. Throughout the book, she even manages to mitigate my big 4.5 stars While I decided to take a break from historical fiction and mystery this year, The Spanish Daughter has reignited my love for both genres. With prose that is compulsively readable and a plot that unfolds deliciously, Hughes does a marvelous job of balancing between both genres. She incorporates just the right amount of historical context to give you a taste of the setting and adds just enough mystery to keep you engaged throughout. Throughout the book, she even manages to mitigate my biggest pet peeve of the mystery genre: the blatantly foreshadowed twist. The only complaint that I had was that for once, I actually wished that the book had been longer so that the ending could have been a bit more fleshed out. After having a string of disappointing reads lately, this book came along at just the right time. I'm so glad that I am wrapping up my reading year on a high! Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington for an ARC of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Renee

    This story has adventure, romance, history, mystery, fascinating characters, an exotic location & almost the ending that I wanted! 😉 It's so good! I really enjoyed it. A perfect choice for my first read of 2022. This story has adventure, romance, history, mystery, fascinating characters, an exotic location & almost the ending that I wanted! 😉 It's so good! I really enjoyed it. A perfect choice for my first read of 2022.

  28. 4 out of 5

    ShanKL (ShopCoffeeKids - Instagram)

    The Spanish Daughter is historical fiction set in the rich landscape of Ecuador during 1920. The countryside in known as the birthplace of cacao. Hughes has created a mysterious story of one women’s choice to impersonate a man so she can learn her father’s secret in order to survive. The Spanish Daughter is a confection of suspense, jealously and days of old. The story is told through multiple characters with flashes of the past to better understand their motivations today. I throughly enjoyed t The Spanish Daughter is historical fiction set in the rich landscape of Ecuador during 1920. The countryside in known as the birthplace of cacao. Hughes has created a mysterious story of one women’s choice to impersonate a man so she can learn her father’s secret in order to survive. The Spanish Daughter is a confection of suspense, jealously and days of old. The story is told through multiple characters with flashes of the past to better understand their motivations today. I throughly enjoyed this book and the author’s level of research on a country I know where little about. Chocolate and books - my two favorite things! Highly recommend for lovers of historical fiction and those who enjoy learning about new places. Thank you Lorena Hughes and Kensington Books for the Advance Reader Copy.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Laura

    Historical Fiction lovers get this one on your radar! A story revolving around a strong female lead and CHOCOLATE!? Yes, please! This was an intriguing story that hooked me from the first page. I literally put down another popular thriller to finish this one first. I loved that the MC wore her husband's clothes and facial hair to blend into the role to discover who was out to get her. Her realizations of how free she felt as a man, nodding instead of answering, using her fingers to eat, drinking Historical Fiction lovers get this one on your radar! A story revolving around a strong female lead and CHOCOLATE!? Yes, please! This was an intriguing story that hooked me from the first page. I literally put down another popular thriller to finish this one first. I loved that the MC wore her husband's clothes and facial hair to blend into the role to discover who was out to get her. Her realizations of how free she felt as a man, nodding instead of answering, using her fingers to eat, drinking at all times of the day. This was such a fun look at gender roles in the 20s. Part family drama, part mystery this one is sure to pull you in!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    3.75 stars. Interesting story of Puri, a young Spanish woman who goes to Equador in 1920 to claim her inheritance (a cocoa plantation) from her recently deceased estranged father. During her to trip to Equador, Puri is forced to assume the identity of her husband, Cristobel. novel has many things I liked - a Southern American setting, a young strong female protagonist, family drama and secrets, and, of course, chocolate! There is an easy charm to this novel and I was swept away with the characte 3.75 stars. Interesting story of Puri, a young Spanish woman who goes to Equador in 1920 to claim her inheritance (a cocoa plantation) from her recently deceased estranged father. During her to trip to Equador, Puri is forced to assume the identity of her husband, Cristobel. novel has many things I liked - a Southern American setting, a young strong female protagonist, family drama and secrets, and, of course, chocolate! There is an easy charm to this novel and I was swept away with the characters into the story. Although I read in the author’s afterword that there were cases of women dressing like men to succeed in the business world, it did take a bit of suspension of belief, at least on my part, that no-one saw through the disguise. With this aside, this was a good read with a satisfying and realistic ending. The Spanish Daughter is out on December 28. Thanks to Kensingt0n Books, Penguin Random House Canada and Netgalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

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