The Inheritance of Orquìdea Divina

Zoraida Córdova

Atria Book 2021


Zoraida Córdova’s tropes are as magical as her fantasy novel, “The Inheritance of Orquìdea Divina,” where bargains are made with the unknown and kept secret until ill-fortune spreads like vines, ultimately choking the family tree to death.

The story begins to unfold when Great-grandmother Orquìdea Divina Montoya summons her Ecuadorian-American family to her home in Four Rivers, USA, a desolate place where she married several times and raised her children. She was a young woman when, under unexplained circumstances, she had departed her birthplace, Guayaquil, Ecuador, and never returned.

Her family receive written invitations from Orquìdea: “The earth has turned. The time is here. I am dying.” She asks them to arrive at her home at a specific time where they can claim their inheritance. When the family arrives, they are shocked to see her beautiful home on lush property they remembered in ruins, and Orquìdea trapped in a chair: “Roots from a tree tore through the floorboards and wrapped around her. Tree branches grew out of her wrist like extensions of her veins.”

Marimar, a granddaughter, inherits the property — but also a body anomaly — a living rose growing out her throat. The other Montoya clan, Rey, which includes Tatinelly and her daughter, are likewise bedeviled.  When Tatinelly mysteriously dies, the family realizes they are being hunted and are in danger.

The narrative revolves around the Montoyas, who travel to Ecuador to discover who is trying to destroy the family, and to learn why Orquidea left the country. What, or who, was she afraid of?  What were her secrets? What promises had Orquìdea made, and to whom?

This suspenseful story is about love of family, myths, and culture differences, all interwoven into a fantasy tale. Cordova’s descriptions of the family’s affection for each other and their environment are poetically bewitching.

It’s a captivating read, an artistically written novel that can be treasured for its gorgeous language, along with delightful characters whose adventure into the unknown and mystical is fascinating.

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