This radiant adult debut from Córdova (the Brooklyn Brujas YA series) follows the troubled Montoya family in the magical Midwestern town of Four Rivers. As the book opens, matriarch Orquídea Divina has just sent out wax-sealed, bird-delivered notices for her own funeral, inviting her children and grandchildren to “come and collect your inheritance.” Cousins Rey and Marimar set off from New York City; their cousin, the heavily pregnant Tatinelly, heeds the call from Olympia, Ore. With her family gathered around her, Orquídea enters a kind of magical earthly limbo and exhorts her progeny to “protect your magic.” Her warning remains mysterious until seven years later, when the Montoyas are pursued by a malevolent man who visits death and destruction on their extended family. To save themselves, Rey, Marimar, Tatinelly, and Tatinelly’s magically gifted seven-year-old, Rhiannon, trace Orquídea’s roots to Guayaquil, Ecuador, where she was born. While there’s not much momentum in the first act, this family saga acquires a thrillerlike tempo as the Montoyas draw closer to the mystery at the heart of Orquídea’s curse. The magic is vivid and yet familiar, and adds to the urgency of the plot. It adds up to an inspired and entertaining blend of magical realism and fantasy. (Sept.)
Córdova weaves a spellbinding tale, both timeless and fresh, that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page. Prepare to fall in love.
A bloody and beautiful inheritance, Córdova’s adult debut delves into the dark legacies ancestors leave behind with the living. Intoxicating and unforgettable.
Book Page (starred)
A commandingly propulsive story with a complex writing style that is best enjoyed slowly makes The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina a challenge, but one well worth the time.
Lyric and wry, The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina is an innovative novel full of richly memorable characters and an enchanted atmosphere. There’s a deep comfort to it, a thorough, luminous hope.
It is a remarkable gift to read the story an author was clearly born to write. Searing, lyrical, melancholy . . . beautiful. The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina captures the very essence of the immigrant story.
I fell hard for this book. The dynamic, powerful mixture of secrets, stories, and longing that bind families together is Zoraida Córdova’s narrative engine, but her ability to evoke landscape and the numinous make The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina feel like an invitation into an enchanted garden.
The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina is a magical story with complex characters, masterful plotting, and a sprawling family encompassing a range of Latinx experiences. Readers will be captivated.
Spellbinding! What a pleasure getting to know the Montoyas over generations and landscapes—from Ecuador to New York City to the mythical small town of Four Rivers. Zoraida Córdova’s undeniable storytelling gift feels propelled by the power of ancestors. These larger-than-life characters embrace like family. An immersive and enchanting treat.
An expertly woven tale of family power, threaded with as much mystery as magic. This book is simply exquisite.
Trust us: You will fall in love with The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova. This beautiful, magical book tells a story of ancestors and descendants, and the threads that hold them together across time. The story focuses on the Montoyas, a family who is used to not asking questions about their good fortune and mysterious matriarch until Orquídea’s death leads to a magical transformation that leaves her descendants with a target on their backs.
The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina is a stunning homage to the power of ancestors and the legacy they leave behind. A spellbinding tale of magic that is woven across generations, readers will be captivated by the charismatic and unforgettable Montoya family. An enchanting, transporting read!
A rich, intergenerational novel steeped in magical realism.
Imagine a mash-up (in the best way) of Mexican Gothic and The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue with a touch of The Immoralists by Chloe Benjamin. Now pick up Zoraida Córdova’s very cool story of magic and family secrets.
This novel captivatingly explores heritage and ancestry with Córdova’s signature immersive storytelling.
School Library Journal
One day a house occupied by Orquídea Divina suddenly appears near the town of Four Rivers. Her arrival leads the townspeople to believe she is a witch. Orquídea survives multiple husbands, raises nine children, helps care for some of her grandchildren, but never leaves town. One day, she sends invitations summoning her offspring home for her death. Only Orquíeda doesn't die but instead transforms to the shock of her family, and leaves her granddaughter Marimar the property in Four Rivers. The narrative moves back and forth between Orquídea's childhood in Ecuador, her travels, and the bargain she made for magic, with that of her granddaughter Marirmar as she works to create a new life for herself restoring the family home. A mysterious figure stalks family members and a series of sudden deaths has Marimar, with her cousins Rey and Tatinelly, traveling to Ecuador to unravel Orquídea's past in a race to save the rest of the family. A tale of love, magic, adventure, and the general messiness of families with secrets written with descriptive prose evoking places and emotions vividly. VERDICT An absorbing read, full of lush writing and magical realism, this book will appeal to fans of Alice Hoffman and Isabella Allende. A great first purchase.—Tamara Saarinen, Pierce County Lib., WA