top of page
The Spanish Daughter_TRD_Lorena Hughes_FINAL.jpg


Set against the lush backdrop of early twentieth century Ecuador and inspired by the real-life history of the coastal town known as the birthplace of cacao, this captivating novel from the award-winning author of The Sisters of Alameda Street tells the story of a resourceful young chocolatier who must impersonate a man in order to claim her birthright.


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 cacao plantation 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 WWI, 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 plantation.
When a mercenary sent to murder her aboard the ship 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 plantation—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 Publishers Marketplace Buzz Books Selection | Fall-Winter 2021 

Amazon Editors’ Pick: Best of the Month, Literature & Fiction (December 2021)

Amazon's Unforgettable Reads Book Club January Pick

The Washington Post Books to Read Now

Target's January Feature (2022)
PopSugar Best Books of December
BiblioLifestyle Most Anticipated Historical Fiction
Book Riot December Book Recommendations

Ms. Magazine Reads for the Rest of Us

Bustle Most Anticipated Books Of December 2021

The Christian Science Monitor 10 Best Books of December

Once Upon A Book Club Pick of the Month (December 2021)

“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

"This historical fiction is as rich as dark chocolate, featuring intrigue, romance, and a plethora of historical nods that will delight any history buff." BuzzFeed (SEE MORE)

“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.” Publishers Weekly (FULL REVIEW)

“Passionate and suspenseful, The Spanish Daughter is a satisfying historical mystery set in a lush tropical land.” –Foreword Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

"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. " Stacey Hayman, BOOKLIST

“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


“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.” —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.”

—Shana Abé, New York Times bestselling author of The Second Mrs. Astor

bottom of page