The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina is a family saga that travels back and forth across space and time to paint a vivid picture of the family descended from defiant, enigmatic, independent Orquídea Divina and how they all cope with her unique legacy. You first meet Orquídea when she and her second husband move into their house – which may have appeared overnight, though surely that’s not possible. The people in town are suspicious, but nothing can ever be proven and the sheriff is charmed, so Orquídea and her family are here to stay. We next see her years later as she prepares to die, and we are introduced to her heirs, variously troubled and estranged from her home. This includes accountant Rey, his cousin Marimar, and pregnant Tatinelly. They’ll all have to grapple with legacy, family, and magic if they want to make their peace with Orquídea and claim their inheritance. Meanwhile, flashbacks tell the story of how Orquídea grew up and came into her power, giving hints to the gifts, lessons, and dangers that her heirs have come to claim.

Magical realism is a major part of this book; while Marimar, Rey, and Tatinelly live in communities where magic isn’t real, their return to their grandmother’s home of Four Rivers immediately shows that magic is real and has consequences. As a reader this hooked me immediately, but magic also was an effective metaphor for cultural and community knowledge: Tatinelly’s white husband is afraid at the evidence of magic, while for Tatinelly it’s a joyful return to what’s familiar. The subtle knowledge of women is also a strong theme as first Orquídea, then Marimar, Tatinelly, and the other female descendants show intuitive connections to nature, the house at Four Rivers, and the languages spoken (and feelings expressed) by different locations.

Engaging and rich with details, this is recommended for fans of Encanto, Knives Out, and the Umbrella Academy.

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