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The Queen of the Valley (Paperback)

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Against the backdrop of Colombia’s lush, yet wounded beauty in the wake of the 1925 Cali earthquake, this riveting novel by the award-winning Ecuadorian American author of The Spanish Daughter plunges three strangers – a photographer, a young Spanish chocolatier in disguise, and a Palestinian-Colombian nun – into a perilous search for the missing owner of a coveted hacienda amidst an emerging cholera epidemic.

“A tale as rich and complex as the finest chocolate.”
—Marisel Vera, author of The Taste of Sugar

Driven and recklessly daring, Martin Sabater follows his lifelong dream of owning a cacao plantation in Valle del Cauca. But on the night of a spectacular gala, he disappears—and is never seen again. Now his hacienda is a budding Catholic hospital saving lives during an emerging epidemic. And novice nun “Sor Puri” is there to uncover the truth behind Martin’s disappearance. But her real identity—and her past with the heartbreakingly charismatic Martin—will put far more than her perilous search at risk.

A professional photographer, Lucas Ferreira is Martin’s best friend since boyhood. He has his own reasons for helping the determined, alluring nun. But what this reserved man won’t reveal about his thwarted dreams and unrequited passion could prove key to the past—or a lethal trap.

Martin was head nurse Sor Camila's only love—until an unfortunate mistake changed the course of her life forever. Now, Martin's home is an unexpected chance for her, Lucas, and Puri to set the past right. But with their secrets unearthing explosive memories and wrenching lies, can they survive the truth about Martin—and the consequences that will forever alter their destinies?

About the Author

Lorena Hughes is an award-winning author of historical fiction, including The Queen of the Valley, The Spanish Daughter and The Sisters of Alameda Street. Born and raised in Ecuador, she moved to the United States when she was eighteen. Her novels have earned acclaim from outlets including The Washington Post, Ms. Magazine, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and PopSugar, and The Spanish Daughter was an Amazon Editors' Pick, a Publishers Marketplace Buzz Books selection, and a Reading Group Choices Most Popular Books of the Year. Lorena lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico and can be found online at

Praise For…

Praise for Lorena Hughes:

“A tale as rich and complex as the finest chocolate.” —Marisel Vera, author of The Taste of Sugar on The Queen of the Valley

“The many story lines connect the past and the present, and all converge to create a satisfying conclusion while cultural and historical facts reflecting this time and place are both clues and red herrings in Puri’s search. But it’s the wide range of engaging characters that will pull in most readers. For fans of historical fiction and works by Christina Baker Kline and Lisa Wingate.” Booklist on The Queen of the Valley
“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 on The Spanish Daughter
“An engrossing, suspenseful family saga filled with unpredictable twists and turns.” —Chanel Cleeton, New York Times bestselling author of Next Year in Havana on The Spanish Daughter
“A sweepingly elegant historical novel.” —Ms. Magazine on The Spanish Daughter
“Passionate and suspenseful, The Spanish Daughter is a satisfying historical mystery set in a lush tropical land.”Foreword Reviews, STARRED REVIEW on The Spanish Daughter
“Betrayal, secrets, and chocolate fuel this transporting page turner from Lorena Hughes. Set amid the early 20th-century cacao boom, the novel gently comments on the confines of gender, while asking if goodness is innate or learned.” Christian Science Monitor on The Spanish Daughter

“Richly captivating.” Woman’s World on The Spanish Daughter
“Riveting…filled with rich imagery (and rich chocolate!), this story about a woman who never gives up on her dreams had me hooked from the start.” First for Women on The Spanish Daughter

“A fascinating historical mystery.” PopSugar on The Spanish Daughter

“An engrossing mystery/romance set in early 20th-century Ecuador and Spain… Fans of historicals will appreciate the descriptions of dress, local foods and customs, social stratification, and the cacao industry, a source of an economic boom and bust in early 20th-century Ecuador… As addictive as chocolate, this ends on a modern and satisfying note.” Publishers Weekly on The Spanish Daughter
“Hughes portrays a small cast of characters while providing whodunit suspense and lots of background information on cacao plantations and insights into the way social classes are embodied in the production of chocolate. 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. Beginning with a map and ending with a reader’s group guide, Hughes' tale of secrets, treachery, and chocolate will be appreciated by fiction readers looking for an extra level of engagement.” Booklist on The Spanish Daughter

Product Details
ISBN: 9781496736284
ISBN-10: 1496736281
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: August 22nd, 2023
Pages: 352
Language: English