Thank you to Goodreads and the publisher for selecting me as a winner for this book! I was drawn in by the cover alone and the description just sealed the deal for me, so I was so happy when I won a copy! I went into this story semi-blind, open to what was going to happen, and I absolutely loved it. I can’t even articulate how much I loved this book and how hard it was for me to finish it, I did not want this story to end.
This is a spoiler free, honest review and all thoughts and feelings are my own.
The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova
Published: September 7, 2021
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
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.
We follow two storylines: that of Orquídea herself and her grandchildren. From the get go, I was invested in Orquídea’s story and couldn’t wait to find out more about her life and how she got to where she was. I loved how this story switches back and forth, giving us the perception of Orquídea and how her grandchildren see her and her life.
When I first started this book, I thought it was YA, solely because Marimar, Orquídea’s granddaughter, was 17 or so at the time. As I continued reading though, it’s clear that this book is definitely not YA and is adult fiction. While it’s adult fiction, it doesn’t mean that it’s alienating teen readers – in fact, this story is great for older teens and young adults looking for a great story with some more mature themes, but not one too convoluted or feels like it’s trying too hard.
For instance, there a few sexually explicit and graphic scenes in the book, but not to the point where it would be considered smut and it’s in small segments. The more mature themes of this book, like childhood abandonment and trauma, are harder hitting, but still easy to take in and digest. This book is adult fiction for a reason, but is more approachable than most other novels I’ve read.
Marimar and Rey are such relatable characters even if their experiences may not be. Growing up with magic or the possibility of magic sounds amazing, but while I can’t imagine magic in my home, I can imagine the opportunity of growing up with a grandparent in the house. Watching them grow older and eventually passing on from this world. The fear of seeing your loved ones grow older and more frail. It’s hard hitting and it made me appreciate the grandparents I have remaining. In addition, their struggles with their past is something I really connected with. Marimar and Rey see their grandmother almost fictionally – this woman is more legend than person and they can’t accept the things she’s done in the past or the future that lies ahead of her passing. It highlights their feelings of growth and how they want to live their lives.
Honestly, same. Thinking about who we are and who we want to be is hard. Sometimes, those ideas match up. Other times, they couldn’t be farther apart. And the fact that this story takes that idea and brings in the love of family to help us find ourselves, and bring those dreams to fruition, is beautiful. I don’t have a big family, but I could feel the love of this family seeping through the pages, and it makes me think of my family and my in-laws with such fondness.
This story is heavy hitting. The events of the book are heavy, the lessons and tone of the novel is heavy, and the struggles these characters go through weighs heavy. It isn’t until the end of this book that I felt like I could take a lighter breath as our characters find some resolution and I found myself in tears. Not to go too deep, but this book brought me on an emotional journey I wasn’t sure I was ready to handle. But after making it through, I just want to give my family a big hug, and I wish I could give myself a hug. It made me think hard about the type of person I wanted to be and how I wanted to live my life, whether that was the intention or not. At the end of the book, I learned some life lessons and had a much needed self reflection.
Overall, to put things simply, this book makes you feel and feel deeply. I loved everything about this story and was tearing up at the end. The journey Orquídea goes through is heartbreaking and it proves a point that no one truly knows a person, until you’ve heard their entire story. Marimar and Rey are fabulous characters and continue Orquídea’s legacy in such a beautiful way. This book is so, so good and I couldn’t recommend it enough! Pick up this book and read it – you’ll thank me later!
If this book sounds interesting, check out The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab! You can check out my spoiler free review here if you’re interested!