• The Spanish Daughter

  • By: Lorena Hughes
  • Narrated by: Frankie Corzo
  • Length: 9 hrs and 42 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (464 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

“An engrossing, suspenseful family saga filled with unpredictable twists and turns.” (Chanel Cleeton, New York Times best-selling author of Next Year in Havana)

“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.” (Booklist)

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Perfect for fans of Julia Alvarez and Silvia Moreno-Garcia, this exhilarating novel transports you to the lush tropical landscape of 1920s Ecuador, blending family drama, dangerous mystery, and the real-life history of the coastal town known as the “birthplace of cacao”. 

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 cocoa estate 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 World War I, 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 estate....

When a mercenary sent to murder her aboard the ship accidentally 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 estate - 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 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 lushly written story of bittersweet family secrets and betrayals.” (Andrea Penrose, author of Murder at the Royal Botanic Gardens)

“Passionate and suspenseful, The Spanish Daughter is a satisfying historical mystery set in a lush tropical land.” (Foreword Reviews, starred review)

“Engrossing.... As addictive as chocolate.” (Publishers Weekly)

©2021 Lorena Hughes (P)2021 Recorded Books

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What listeners say about The Spanish Daughter

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A who done it novel

The Spanish Daughter started out slow to me. Many times I was tempted to stop listening. But because I am in a book club, I powered through. Introduced to a slew of characters, I had trouble remembering because of the unfamiliar language, the web was woven and I did become engaged. Without giving anything away, it was an enjoyable “listen” after all.

19 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Tasty read

Enjoyed this novel. Mystery romance truly enhanced by the setting. Ending seemed compacted busy upon reflection the mystery was the core so epilogue is palatable.

10 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good narration, so-so ending

Excellent narration. I especially appreciated the Castilian accent! Good start to the story but became too predictable.

9 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Absorbing

The writing was strong and the story absorbing. The narrator’s voice captured the different personalities very well. Even though I usually read mysteries and science fiction genres I throughly enjoyed this change of pace.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A rather stupid story but I kept listening anyway.

Sometimes I like to listen to a not particularly well-written yet somewhat entertaining book and this was one of them. The reader was quite good and successfully portrayed various voices and accents. Her Spanish pronunciation was quite good. I only noticed one mispronounced word and that was in English. I don’t know how accurately the cacao business in the early 20th century is described.

1 person found this helpful

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A family saga worth reading or listening.

I loved the unexpected twists and turns as well as the suspense of "who done it"?

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Lots of Difficult Names

I expected spanish names but soooo many. At chapter 16 I had to begin over and write phonetically all the names so I could keep them straight. That really helped and would be my suggestion when beginning the book.

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Narrator ruined it for me

Overall, I really enjoyed this story about a family made up of children from three different mothers, one father, who’s lives come together on a cacao plantation in Ecuador.
The oldest, and only truly legitimate daughter, was abandoned by her French father at a young age. Curiously, as he builds a new life in Ecuador and makes his wealth in the cacao business, he remains in contact. Upon his death, she travels from Spain to Ecuador to claim her inheritance and meets her siblings that she knew nothing about. Calamity befalls her en route at the hands of someone who wants her dead. Taking on the identity of her now dead husband, we watch the dominos begin to fall as the siblings meet. Mistrust and suspicion veil every relationship.

Intriguing story, but darn near ruined by a narrator who can’t properly enunciate. Every word that has a T in the last syllable was sloppily and carelessly butchered- curtain, button, certain, written…you get the idea. I hear this sloppy speech pattern in young people frequently, and it’s annoying. But to have a professional narrator do it? There is simply no excuse for such unprofessionalism! Grow up! Get it right! Be professional! You darn near ruined a good author’s work!

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Slow start and at times whiny

Puri leaves Spain for Ecuador to claim her father's shared inheritance. Along the way, she is attacked, and her husband is killed. To discover which of her siblings hired the killer, she impersonates her husband, telling the family that it was she who died. As she tries to unravel the mystery, the disguised Puri enjoys the freedoms awarded to men. Slowly, the story unfolds., but with so much whining and tears, the story dragged.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Disappointing in the end

Interesting setting, good but somewhat simplistic gender politics. As a chocolate lover, I was hoping to learn more about cacao production, but this part of the novel was superficial. Cumbayah ending is more suitable to YA readers than to full adults. I found the first two-thirds interesting, but the promise was not fulfilled.