The Enchanted Hacienda
Grade : B

The Enchanted Hacienda is Encanto with more romance and whole lot more spice. The end result is a fun, likable brew that entrances the reader. Unfortunately the romance here really holds up the fun.

Harlow Estrada is in pain. A wannabe writer who dreams of writing a novel of some import, she’s just been cut loose from her dream job as an editor at an elite publishing house. Even worse, her boyfriend Chad is a racist jerk who makes a comment about her “latina temperament” behind her back at a rooftop party where they’re both present. She flings a drink in his face and breaks up with him, then chooses to cut ties with her life in New York City. What can she do but head home to the family hacienda and the comfort of her mother’s arms in Mexico?

Soon after she arrives, she meet-cutes with the handsome Benjamin in a coffee bar. He grabs her journal out of her hand and uses it as a shield to hide himself from a random blonde woman, then skims through Harlow’s half-written novel and proclaims it good, which leads to a trade of information.

Hacienda Estrada is no ordinary house – it is the place where the Estrada women conjure magic though the flowers they cultivate on their flower farm thanks to a gift from the Aztec goddess Mayahuel. Harlow’s younger sister Lil, her Tia, her mother – every female member of the Estrada family can grow blossoms that solve problems both physical and spiritual, and do their own kind of individualized magic with it. Everyone, that is, except Harlow – who has no talent for magic or flower selection. She’s also the only family member not named after a flower. For the magic to work, a member of the family must be in residence at the hacienda and act as a guardian. Which is why Harlow is stunned when Mama and Tia declare they’re taking a vacation from the Hacienda and intend one of their offspring to run it. None of the rest of the siblings and cousins want to stay, but Mama gives each of them a blossom, telling them to sleep with it under their pillow overnight, and the person whose blossom turns blue will stay behind while the others leave. Naturally, the casita picks Harlow, who feels woefully unprepared to take care of the hacienda and flower farm.

As time passes, Harlow and Ben begin to get closer, and running the casita becomes easier for Harlow. But will she be able to rise to the occasion?

The Enchanted Hacidenda is a sparkling, magical novel. It mainly concerns itself with Harlow’s discovery of herself and her true purpose, which is where it shines most. Also, the sense of inter-generational love is beautifully done. Harlow is a likable person, and her struggle to figure out who she really is and what makes her happy gave me great joy. Her family is warm and loving, and her friendship with her best friend Liaila is delightful.

Unfortunately I pretty much instantly hated Ben and his extremely bizarre way of introducing himself to Harlow. Who grabs a book, pretends they’re hiding from someone, pages through a stranger’s story, then praises their writing? Don’t touch people’s stuff without their permission, dude! It’s not charming. Unfortunately, no matter what he did afterward, Ben couldn’t redeem himself for me.

But the rest of the story is what’s important here. The Enchanted Hacienda is all about the person inside of you – and learning how to let them out. Harlow manages to figure out who she is just in time, and is richer for it. So will the reader be.

Reviewed by Lisa Fernandes

Grade: B

Book Type: Fiction

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : May 27, 2023

Publication Date: 05/2023

Review Tags: AoC Magical Realism PoC

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  1. Yes, yes yes to everything! I’d been struggling to get into print books for a while, even ones that I…

Lisa Fernandes

Lisa Fernandes is a writer, reviewer and recapper who lives somewhere on the East Coast. Formerly employed by and Next Projection, she also currently contributes to Women Write About Comics. Read her blog at, follow her on Twitter at or contribute to her Patreon at or her Ko-Fi at
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