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Against the backdrop of Colombia’s lush, yet wounded beauty in the wake of the 1925 Cali earthquake, this riveting sequel to The Spanish Daughter plunges three strangers—an early 20th century photographer, a young Spanish chocolatier in disguise, and a nun with a bitter past—into a perilous search for the missing owner of a coveted hacienda during an emerging cholera epidemic.

 

Driven and daring, Martin Sabater follows his lifelong dream of owning a cacao plantation in Valle del Cauca. But on the night of a spectacular gala, he disappears—and is never seen again. Now his hacienda is a budding Catholic hospital saving lives during an emerging epidemic. And novice nun “Sor Puri” is there to uncover the truth behind Martin’s disappearance. But her real identity—and her past with the heartbreakingly-charismatic Martin—will put far more than her perilous search at risk.

 

A professional photographer, Lucas Ferreira is Martin’s best friend since boyhood. He has his own reasons for helping the determined, alluring nun. But what this reserved man won’t reveal about his thwarted dreams and unrequited passion could prove key to the past—or a lethal trap.

 

Martin was head nurse Sor Camila’s only love—until an unfortunate mistake changes the course of her life forever. Now, Martin’s home is an unexpected chance for her, Lucas, and Puri to set the past right. But with their secrets unearthing explosive memories and wrenching lies, can they survive the truth about Martin—and the consequences that will forever alter their destinies?

A tale as rich and complex as the finest chocolate.
—Marisel Vera, author of The Taste of Sugar

The sequel to Hughes' The Spanish Daughter (2022) can be read on its own, but readers will enjoy it more as part of a series. The many story lines connect the past and the present, and all converge to create a satisfying conclusion while cultural and historical facts reflecting this time and place are both clues and red herrings in Puri’s search. But it’s the wide range of engaging characters that will pull in most readers. For fans of historical fiction and works by Christina Baker Kline and Lisa Wingate. — Stacey Hayman, BOOKLIST

Buried secrets, personal tragedies, and natural disasters unfold on a Colombian hacienda... Though Hughes’ floridly written tale is grounded in history, she heightens anticipation by jumbling the narrative timeline and presenting the story in short chapters from the perspectives of three different first-person narrators. Puri, the resourceful heroine of Hughes’ novel The Spanish Daughter (2021), is joined by Sister Camila, a loving and compassionate nun but far from a submissive helpmeet, and Lucas, a womanizing outsider and old friend of Martin’s who reconnected with him shortly before the disappearance....

A juicy potboiler with a palpable sense of history. — KIRKUS REVIEWS

 

Hughes revisits Spanish-born chocolatier Puri in the kinetic sequel to The Spanish Daughter. In 1925, Puri, whose full name is María Purificación de Lafont y Toledo, travels from her adopted Ecuador to Colombia to try to find her cacao supplier and onetime lover, Martin Sabater, after his shipments of cacao beans unaccountably cease. Soon after Puri steps off the train, ruffians rip her dress, and the nun who had been her seatmate lends her a habit to wear. Puri arrives at Martin’s hacienda and learns it has been turned into a hospital by Farid Mansur, a haughty, ambitious doctor and old boarding-school chum of Martin’s, who claims Martin was killed by a jaguar. As a cholera outbreak rages, Puri pitches in to treat the afflicted, despite her lack of medical training. She also keeps up her disguise as a nun, which puts those around her in a confessional mood as she tries to uncover what really happened to Martin. Meanwhile, romance blooms between Puri and one of her patients, who is another close friend of Martin’s, and their forbidden love adds more tension to the suspenseful story. Hughes’s fans will devour this delectable confection.  — PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (see more)

Told in the alternating viewpoints of three protagonists, this novel by Ecuador-born-and-raised Hughes paints a vivid picture of 1920s Ecuador and Colombia. When Spanish chocolatier Puri learns that Martin, her cacao-supplier and father of her son, has disappeared in neighboring Colombia, she decides it is up to her to find him. It is 1925 and dangerous for a woman to be traveling alone, so she dresses as a nun in hopes of protecting herself. When she reaches Martin’s plantation, however, she discovers that it has been turned into a hospital by Martin’s friend Farid. Hoping to investigate without revealing her connection to Martin, Puri maintains her disguise and is subsequently put to work by Sister Camila. Nursing first Martin’s friend Lucas, who was injured in an earthquake, and then the cholera patients who follow, Puri begins to suspect that she is not the only one at the hacienda who is harboring secrets. VERDICT: While familiarity with Hughes’s previous novel, The Spanish Daughter, is not essential, it can offer helpful context to alleviate potential confusion. This book will appeal to readers who enjoy family conflict, historical details, and the exploration of lost love. —Lucinda Ward, LIBRARY JOURNAL (see more)

The sense of place and the dynamics of a small town of that era are convincing and give us a glimpse of the history and culture of that period in South America. Hopefully, Puri will return in another adventure. —Michael Sears, NY JOURNAL OF BOOKS

Readers familiar with the author’s earlier title, The Spanish Daughter, will have an advantage in grasping the intertwined family history and back stories of the main individuals as the drama switches from the 1910s through to 1925. For others, it will take some time to get your head around the intricate family feuds and business deals, furtive disguises, thwarted love affairs, and secret babies. The elaborate plot also features some missing emeralds and other unexplained disappearances.

The writing style is quirky but exuberant and the imaginative or perilous situations this range of eccentric characters find themselves in all contribute to a most enjoyable, escapist melodrama. —Marina Maxwell, HISTORICAL NOVEL SOCIETY (see more)

 

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