There are different types of inheritance, the most dreamt of ones being those that bring riches. Inheritance isn’t always in material terms. Family traits like the colour of the eyes, hair, quirk of an eyebrow, dimples etc. are also inherited. Then there are those inheritances which can be quite uncomfortable and the inheritors may not know what to do with them. Such is the story of the family of Orquidea Montoya. The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina by Zoraida Cordova is story about a family ruled by the eponymous matriarch living outside a small town in the United States called Four Rivers. She arrived there one day along with her husband, having walked all the way from Equador, and immediately put down roots on a tract of land which till then had been a barren wasteland. Overnight a house appears and the land around it turns lush and green with water bodies appearing on it. All attempts by the townsfolk to brand her a witch, not surprisingly, come to nothing.
Over the years Orquidea married three more times, had numerous children and grandchildren. The Montoya family scatters, as families are wont to do, but at the beginning of the novel they are all called back by Orquidea to collect their inheritance. It is Marimar, one of the granddaughters, who inherits the house and land but all the others, at some point, are forced to acknowledge the magic in their inheritance. There is a family curse, a mysterious figure stalking the family members, family disputes, starlight, dragonflies and hummingbirds. The story moves back and forth from the time that Orquidea was young and Marimar’s inheritance of Four Rivers. There is a mystery from another time which is gradually revealed. The book is a combination of magic, mystery and myth interwoven into the story of a family and of three cousins in particular.
Magical realism is always fun to read and the story flows along well, swinging between places, times and generations. There is a lot about family and the importance of it as well as about human compulsions and how that can take people down so many different paths in their lives. Well worth a read just for the strangeness of the story interspersed with the very familiar emotions of fondness and exasperation that family members can feel for each other.