From warmth to coldness, from green trees to crunchy leaves and from life to death, the fall season is a time that embodies change. At the heart of the season, you can feel this palpable change in the air, and at times it can even feel like magic.
If you are fond of this magic, then you will likely be enchanted by the novel “The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina” by Zoraida Córdova.
The novel follows the life and family of Orquídea Divina, a mysterious and odd woman with seemingly endless powers and luck. She’s lived many lives and had many adventures — and husbands. When her life force begins to fade and she is knocking on death’s door, she reunites the members of her scattered family to collect their inheritances.
Her family hopes to inherit some answers from their enigmatic matriarch, but they are out of luck on that front. Just before she dies, her family learns that Orquídea made a deal for all of her magic, and that it's time to collect in the form of her life. Her family and their inherited gifts soon become entrenched in the consequences of this deal, and they must unite to survive this threat.
The book draws you in from the first page with lyrical prose and a fascinating premise. The character of Orquídea herself presents a fascinating mystery that you want to solve. She has experienced so much in her lifetime, and the stylistic decision to include alternating flashback chapters exploring the past pays off.
Orquídea’s large family also contributes to the story’s mystery. These fascinating characters are diverse and all walk different paths in life. The primary characters in the extended family are Rey, Marimar, Tatinelly and her daughter Rhiannon.
However, the sheer multitude of extended family members presents an unfortunate downside to the novel. Keeping up with all of these characters can become overwhelming.
Including so many characters allows for exploration of many different archetypes, but they cannot all be as layered as the four primary characters are. This means that when one of the non-primary characters is in a dangerous situation, the reader feels uninvested in the outcome because they have not learned enough about this character to be particularly worried about their fate.
Despite these minor critiques, “The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina” has magic infused in every one of its pages. The way this book presents magic demonstrates how it is connected to the bonds between people, more specifically families.
Orquídea’s magic is connected to the home she makes for her family. This house never runs out of food, and the land it rests on is made fertile once again by this same magic. It is used within the context of this novel to represent stability and security as the best gifts that anyone can receive.
If you choose to pick up “The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina” this fall, you are in for a mysterious and poetic experience of magic and family that I cannot recommend enough.