Hacienda

Hacienda

Hacienda Cover

A beautiful hacienda, an exotic lover, and a murder mystery come together in this irresistible, romantic novel
There is no expiration date on adventure or romance

Both a murder mystery and a romance, Hacienda is the tale of three Iowa women who find purpose and happiness when they buy a dilapidated estate in Bolivia and attempt to restore it to its original splendor. Along the way, they fall in love and unravel the mystery of a suspected werecat in their midst, while facing petty corruption, a serial murderer, and a crazy tin-baron heir who covets the Hacienda Nusta.

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Monica has spent two years in therapy to rid herself of the guilt she feels over how she responded to her husband’s sudden death.

When she receives an offer to buy a troubled Colonial hacienda in Bolivia, her friends decide to join her in renovating the old estancia into a bed and breakfast. The project gives them each an opportunity to move beyond their traumatic pasts and start building a new future. Not knowing what to expect, the women are first shocked at the horrible condition of the hacienda, and then face myriad challenges. They must decrypt local lore and separate myth from reality in determining whether to trust the retired international finance executive living on the premises.

A scion of a brutal tin-baron family threatens to assert his right to the hacienda, although his motives are inscrutable. A series of murders inch closer and closer to the hacienda and people involved with it. And when a jaundiced policeman and an enigmatic bureaucracy put the entire project on hold, they face the possibility of running out of money and time before they finish.

As they work through the mounting issues, each of the women discovers – or rediscovers – her individual strengths. Lisa revives the love for sledgehammers and construction projects that she inherited from her father. Katie’s roots in an Amish community armed her with the skills needed to take over the hacienda’s garden, orchard and vineyard. Practical and efficient Monica manages the finances and the schedule, learning along the way that leadership isn’t a curse if you love the team and the project you’re leading.

The story unfolds in the remote ceja of south-central Bolivia, rich in an ancient and heterogeneous culture, and stark geography. “Readers will enjoy watching the characters fall in love while they see the hacienda returned to its former glory,” commented the book’s editor. While romance forms a narrative thread through this novel, Hacienda is much more: a novel about second chances and the fulfillment that can come at any age when challenges are overcome and true talents are allowed flourish.

Paperback: 282 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 2, 2014)
  • ISBN-10: 1502597039
  • ISBN-13: 978-1502597038
  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
Paperback: 282 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 2, 2014)
  • ISBN-10: 1502597039
  • ISBN-13: 978-1502597038
  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches

What others are saying...

A good romp

“A good romp, combining a mystery, romance, and friendship.” ~ Sandra Dallas, Denver Post

A very human, very pleasing makeover…

“A very human, very pleasing makeover of the standard Americans-abroad narrative.” Kirkus Reviews, Oct. 2, 2014

Charlier has crafted a confidently joyful story.

“In this novel, Charlier has crafted a confidently joyful story.” Kirkus Reviews, Oct. 2, 2014

The author’s keen ear for dialogue is reliable and enjoyable

“The author’s keen ear for dialogue is reliable and enjoyable, and she has sure instincts when dramatizing the spiky nature of adult friendship, relating the women’s story...

Charlier effectively peppers her familiar scenario with plenty of plot complications

“Charlier effectively peppers her familiar scenario with plenty of plot complications, including an alluring stranger who’s camped out on the hacienda’s property (and...

Kirkus Reviews LogoHacienda: A South American Romance, by Marj Charlier

Published Oct. 2, 2014

A lighthearted comic tale about three friends who move to a South American villa and get more than they bargained for.

Charlier’s (Drive for Dough, 2014, etc.) latest short novel features a trio of Iowa friends: practical, cerebral Katie, high-strung Lisa, and compassionate, thoughtful narrator Monica. They met in group therapy in Des Moines, Iowa, two years earlier; after getting to know one another, they decided to uproot themselves from their settled, slightly boring existences and take a chance. It’s an adventure that will be familiar to readers of books such as Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence (1989) or Frances Mayes’ Bella Tuscany (2000): they travel to a foreign land to have a go at a new life. Five years before, Monica bought Hacienda Nusta in arid, south-central Bolivia, but when she and her friends decide to go there to turn it into a tourist destination, it’s fallen into discouraging ruin: “The courtyard itself was nothing but weeds, bare dirt, and broken paving stones. The fountain I had taken pictures of five years before was missing.” As the three women grapple with the protracted repairs to give their hotel dream a chance of success, they try to adapt to their new surroundings. At the same time, the inherent tension of the situation brings strong emotions to the surface and tests the bonds they formed back in Iowa. Charlier effectively peppers her familiar scenario with plenty of plot complications, including an alluring stranger who’s camped out on the hacienda’s property (and quickly becomes Monica’s love interest) and rumors of a “werecat” prowling the chaparral. The author’s keen ear for dialogue is reliable and enjoyable, and she has sure instincts when dramatizing the spiky nature of adult friendship, relating the women’s story with natural pacing and humor. At one point, when most of the plot complications have settled down, one character asserts that “[y]ou have to learn to look forward in your life for joy.” In this novel, Charlier has crafted a confidently joyful story.

A very human, very pleasing makeover of the standard Americans-abroad narrative.

View this on Kirkus Reviews

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