Author: Lorena Hughes
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: 2021
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: 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…
My Review: Puri owns a chocolate shop in Spain. She receives news that her father who abandoned her for Ecuador is dead and that she is a claimant to his chocolate plantation. Puri and her husband decide to sell everything and move to Ecuador to claim her inheritance. During her journey to Ecuador, Puri’s husband is murdered. Puri disguises herself to protect herself from her husband’s killer. Once she arrives in Ecuador, Puri finds that she is not the only claimant to her father’s estate. Puri also learns that her father had many dark secrets.
Puri is a very interesting character. She has a passion for chocolate. Because of her passion, she is willing to sell everything and start a new life in another country. However, she learns that it was not as easy as she had hoped. Her husband is murdered on the journey, and she has to contend with her half-siblings who are also claimants. I found it interesting that Puri has to disguise herself as a man and how she is careful to not expose her real gender. I loved her interactions with others in her disguise. I also liked how she never stopped looking to pursue her husband’s killer. She is always searching for the truth. Thus, Puri was a very fun character.
Overall, this novel is about dreams, truth, and chocolate! I found all the characters to be realistic. I did find some of the scenes to be very unrealistic. However, it was a fast-paced and compelling novel! There is plenty of drama, secrets, and mystery that will keep you turning the pages! I also liked how the story describes the history of the cocoa plant. Therefore, this novel is perfect for chocolate lovers! I recommend this novel for fans of The Chocolatier, Like Water Like Chocolate, and Next Year in Havana!
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars