Hello! This year is absolutely flying by, I bought my first Christmas present the other day and I still can’t quite believe how close it is. In September I managed to hit my goodreads reading goal of 75 books, I also had a family holiday to Scotland AND read a book that made it’s way into my all time favourites. Out of the 8 books I read last month, there is one that stands head and shoulders above the rest, a book about family, generational curses and is filled with a cast of unforgettable characters. This was a book that stayed with me long after I’d finished it, and one I will definitely be returning to. I’m going to be linking to my review, as well as sharing some of my favourite quotes from the book. Please note some of the quotes may be slightly spoilery!
The Montoyas are used to a life without explanations. They know better than to ask why the pantry never seems to run low or empty, or why their matriarch won’t ever leave their home in Four Rivers—even for graduations, weddings, or baptism. But when Orquídea Divina invites them to her funeral and to come and collect their inheritance, they hope to learn the secrets that she has held onto so tightly their whole lives. Instead, Orquídea is transformed, leaving them with more questions than answers. Seven years later, her gifts have manifested in different ways for Marimar, Rey, and Tatinelly’s daughter, Rhiannon, granting them unexpected blessings. But soon, a hidden figure begins to tear through their family tree, picking them off one by one as it seeks to destroy Orquídea’s line. Determined to save what’s left of their family and uncover the truth behind their inheritance, the four descendants travel to Ecuador—to the place where Orquídea buried her secrets and broken promises and never looked backed.
“Four Rivers was special for reasons the living population had all but forgotten. It was, in the most general sense, magic-adjacent. There are locations all over the world where power is so concentrated that it becomes the meeting ground for good and evil. Call them nexuses. Call them lay lines. Call them Eden. Over the centuries, as Four Rivers lost it’s water sources, it’s magic faded, too, leaving only a weak pulse beneath it’s dry mountain plains. That pulse was enough.”
“Orquídea’s favourite colour was the blue of twilight – just light enough that the sky no longer appeared black, but before pinks and purples bled into it. She thought that colour captured the moment the world held it’s breath, and she’d been holding hers for a long time.”
“Tantinelly would never be a painter, a writer, a celebrity, a scientist. She didn’t wait to be any of those things, and that was okay. Some people were meant for great, lasting legacies. Others were meant for small moments of goodness, tiny but that rippled and grew in big, wide ways. Tantinelly might have been ordinary, but she was not weak. And she’d been saving the gift Orquídea had given her for a moment that mattered.”
“There were hundreds of things Marimar wanted to know. Why is this happening? Why can’t we stop it? Why didn’t you try to tell me sooner? Who are you? Why do this? What broke your heart so completely that it’s splinters found their way through generations.”
“As they piled into the minivan, Rhiannon said, “I talked to the moon again last night.” She scratched her forehead. Her Rose had turned violet overnight. Rey examined his Rose. “How come I don’t get to be a human mood ring?”
Marimar ginned and said, “because your only mood is dramatic.”
“Okay, think about Mama Orquídea.’ Rey’s lips quirked slightly. They each had a different version of the woman in Four Rivers. For Marimar, she would always be the same. Half real, half legend. She imagined Orquídea Divina Montoya pulling Salmon from a lake that was made for trout. She imagined her making salves and ointments for every scrape and burn that Marimar collected like battle scars. For Rey, she was all a glamour. She was the same grandmother. She was the same grandmother he’d loved and hated in equal measure at different stages of his life. The one who would never be confined and normal. He saw her as the girl she’d been in that photo, hopeful and young, like the world hadn’t quite broken her yet. Rhiannon only new one version of Orquídea – the woman who was a tree. The voice in her dreams that sang pretty songs she was only beginning to understand. Together, they heard a single voice. A man Rhiannon and Rey had already heard before. Find me, he said. And then, Orquídea’s clear voice. Run.
This story and the characters that inherit it wormed their way into my heart, and this story has made my favourite reads of the year as well as earned a place in my all time favourites.