The Spanish Daughter
A Gripping Historical Novel Perfect for Book Clubs
Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (12/27/2021)
“With an equal mix of historical fiction, dramatic family conflict, and mystery, this tale should please fans of Christina Baker Kline, Lisa Wingate, and Kate Quinn.” —Booklist
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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.”
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…
“A lush Ecuadoran cacao plantation is the setting for this imaginative historical drama filled with sibling rivalry and betrayals. Threaded throughout this dramatic family saga are descriptions of cocoa-making that will leave your mouth watering for chocolate.” – The Washington Post
“A sweepingly elegant historical novel.” – Ms. Magazine
“A lushly written story of bittersweet family secrets and betrayals.” —Andrea Penrose, author of Murder at the Royal Botanic Gardens
“Passionate and suspenseful, The Spanish Daughter is a satisfying historical mystery set in a lush tropical land.” —Foreword Reviews STARRED REVIEW
“Engrossing…As addictive as chocolate.” —Publishers Weekly
“Richly captivating.” —Woman’s World
“A fascinating historical.”—PopSugar
Praise For The Spanish Daughter: A Gripping Historical Novel Perfect for Book Clubs…
“A lush Ecuadoran cacao plantation is the setting for this imaginative historical drama filled with sibling rivalry and betrayals. Threaded throughout this dramatic family saga are descriptions of cocoa-making that will leave your mouth watering for chocolate.”
—The Washington Post
“A sweepingly elegant historical novel.”
“Hughes portrays a small cast of characters while providing whodunit suspense and lots of background information on cacao plantations and insights into the way social classes are embodied in the production of chocolate. With an equal mix of historical fiction, dramatic family conflict, and mystery, this tale should please fans of Christina Baker Kline, Lisa Wingate, and Kate Quinn. Beginning with a map and ending with a reader’s group guide, Hughes' tale of secrets, treachery, and chocolate will be appreciated by fiction readers looking for an extra level of engagement.”
“Passionate and suspenseful, The Spanish Daughter is a satisfying historical mystery set in a lush tropical land.”
—Foreword Reviews STARRED REVIEW
“An engrossing mystery/romance set in early 20th-century Ecuador and Spain… Fans of historicals will appreciate the descriptions of dress, local foods and customs, social stratification, and the cacao industry, a source of an economic boom and bust in early 20th-century Ecuador… As addictive as chocolate, this ends on a modern and satisfying note.”
“A lushly written story of bittersweet family secrets and betrayals that ultimately celebrates the healing power of hope, resilience, love—and chocolate!”
—Andrea Penrose, author of Murder at the Royal Botanic Gardens
“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.”
—Anna Lee Huber, USA Today bestselling author of Murder Most Fair
“A deftly written story entangling family, identity, chocolate and murder, set in the lush golden days of Ecuador’s cacao boom in the early twentieth century. Hughes gradually weaves the separate tales of her narrators into a single strong thread, drawing you into the world of three very different sisters united by deception and loss. An exciting debut from this fresh voice!”
—Shana Abé, New York Times bestselling author of The Second Mrs. Astor
“An atmospheric and captivating mystery set against the backdrop of 1920s Ecuador, The Spanish Daughter is an engrossing, suspenseful family saga filled with unpredictable twists and turns.”
—Chanel Cleeton, New York Times bestselling author of Next Year in Havana
Kensington, 9781496736246, 304pp.
Publication Date: December 28, 2021
About the Author
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
- Was Puri justified in deceiving her family? Why or why not?
- Have you heard of real-life women cross-dressing to protect themselves or to perform activities that were reserved only for men? What are some examples? Do you think those women excelled in their fields?
- Just like cacao beans transform into chocolate, Puri goes through a personal transformation after her experience of posing as a man. What are some of the things she discovers about herself and the opposite sex? How do her preconceptions regarding men and women change by the end of the novel?
- How do you think Angélica, Catalina, Alberto, and Elisa would have reacted if Puri had presented herself as their sister when she first arrived? How about Martin?
- Do you think Catalina was in love with Franco? What linked them together? How do you think her lie shaped the course of her life? Should she have told the truth at some point?
- Martin tells Puri that his relationship with Angélica is complicated. Do you think they loved each other or just accustomed to one another? Do you think Puri is better suited for Martin? Why or why not? Do you see a future for them together?
- Do you think Alberto had a true religious vocation despite his transgression? What are your thoughts regarding the Catholic Church’s expectations for young men who enter priesthood?
- Which of the sisters did you relate to the most? Was there a storyline or perspective that interested you the most?
- Did you know anything about Ecuador before reading this novel? How has your perception of this country changed since you read it?
- What were some of the cultural and historical details that surprised or interested you?
- Family and jealousy are important themes in the novel. Puri longed for an intimate relationship with her father and later, with her siblings. Yet, she envies their closeness to her father. Similarly, her sisters experienced a desire to meet her, but were also jealous of her. Were you satisfied with the way their stories ended or would you prefer a different outcome for them?