Buy This Book
Other books by J.C. Cervantes
Other books you may enjoy

I want to write something magical, something that reflects the enchantment people don’t even realize is growing beneath their feet,Harlow Estrada. –The Enchanted Hacienda

The Enchanted Hacienda

by J.C. Cervantes

At A Glance
Interest Level

Reading Level
Number of Pages

Harlow Estrada is an editor who has recently been through a breakup and lost her dream job, as she struggles to decide what her next path in life should be. Harlow’s mother invites her to come to the family farm, referred to as the Estrada Hacienda, and spend time reconnecting with her family and their land.  

Harlow feels out of place, even among her family, as she is the only female member of her family without magical abilities. She explains, “the magic happened to skip me entirely. Unlike my two sisters and pair of primas [cousins] and every other ancestress before me.” Harlow’s mother and aunt decide to leave on a sudden vacation. They leave Harlow to take care of the family’s land, as well as their magical plants. Harlow is determined to use this time to learn more about her family’s legacy and about how she fits into it.  

Harlow is an empathetic character that many readers will be able to relate to, as she struggles to figure out her place in the world, as well as within her family. Harlow emphasizes, “I mean, if I can’t have the Estrada family magic, I still want to feel like there’s significance to my work, my life . . . And now I’m worried I am and always will be unremarkable.” During her return to her family’s farm, Harlow realizes that it is a great opportunity to write something of her own, and she feels deep down that she should write “something magical.” She begins working on a novel inspired by the magic she experiences upon her return to her family’s land. 

Though she’s just experienced a terrible breakup, Harlow happens to run into a mysterious man named Ben, who she later learns is the grandson of Beverly—her late grandmother’s best friend. Tied together by their families and the magic of Harlow’s family farm, Harlow and Ben’s initial spark only grows stronger as they pursue a relationship together. However, their feelings for one another become complicated by Harlow’s important self-discovery, as she realizes she does in fact have magical abilities like the rest of her family. Harlow notices a glimmer in Ben’s eyes when they are kissing and realizes, “Ben Brandt has been magically bonded to me.” 

Desperate to understand how Ben was bonded to her, Harlow returns home to ask her mother for help. Harlow is shocked when her mother tells her, “[Your aunt] and I believe that you are an enchantress,” as Harlow has “lived [her] life believing [she has] no magic.” This exciting revelation leaves Harlow with a difficult decision to make, as she realizes, “I have to break the bond,” and risk magically destroying all of the feelings she and Ben have for one another in the process. Readers will be on the edge of their seats as they wonder what will happen between Harlow and Ben.  

The Enchanted Hacienda is written for adults, many teens will be drawn to it since J.C. Cervantes has written so many young adult novels. Readers who enjoy fantasy, magic, and an immersive setting will love this book, as it heavily focuses on the power of nature and the beauty of Mexico.  

Harlow’s growth throughout the novel provides a reassuring message that everyone has something that makes them special. Through writing her novel, Harlow realizes that her main character is reflective of her own desire to “find her way, to learn to speak the language of the blooms, to unearth the family secret.” Harlow’s writing mirrors her own journey of learning more about herself and her family. Harlow’s completion of her novel and the support of her family emphasizes a major theme in the novel: the strength in family. Harlow summarizes the theme of family when she calls this love, “The kind of love that believes in you, challenges you, walks through fire for you, makes a home for you—the kind of love that transforms you.” 

Sexual Content 

  • When Harlow visits his family’s home in Quebec, Harlow and Ben kiss for the first time. Harlow says, “Drowning in his touch, I drink him in while he kisses me hungrily, urgently like he might never kiss me again.” This passionate kissing scene lasts for about a page.  
  • While waiting out a rainstorm inside an old barn, Ben and Harlow kiss passionately, and it begins to go further. Harlow says, “And then I feel that tug again. Powerful. Alluring. A kinetic spark that ignites every cell in my body . . . Ben’s fingers trace my bare stomach. They hover near my bra, then slip the seam.” Before they go any further, they are interrupted when Ben gets a distressing phone call. 
  • Harlow and Ben spend an intimate afternoon together beside the river.  “I’m [Harlow] still sinking when my hand unhooks the front clasp of my bra. I want to feel his heat against my bare skin.” This scene lasts about two pages, but just before they go further Harlow stops Ben, noticing a magical, “uncommon spark of light” that unnerves her.  
  • Harlow and Ben begin to passionately kiss. Harlow says, “My body is on auto-drive, operating on sheer emotion when I tilt my head back and kiss him. An urgent fiery kiss that is all-consuming.” This scene continues for three pages before Harlow stops Ben, feeling guilty about the bonding magic.  
  • Harlow and Ben are intimate. “We finally break apart near the table, and then [Ben’s] reaching behind me and untying my apron, never taking his gaze from mine as it falls to the floor. I stand perfectly still, savoring the pleasure of his touch.” This scene lasts four pages.  


  • None 

Drugs and Alcohol 

  • Harlow explains that her ex-boyfriend, Chad, is excellent at telling when there is a problem. Harlow explains, “He smells problems like a police dog sniffs out cocaine.” 
  • Harlow is about to attend a party to support Chad, even though she’s just been unexpectedly fired from her dream job. Harlow thinks, “You’re going to pull your shit together . . . pour a glass of merlot, put on a dress, and have the time of your goddamn life.” 
  • After Harlow’s break up, her friend “pulls bottles from her oversize bag and begins to mix a concoction of gin, sugar, champagne, and some red syrupy stuff.” 
  • Harlow enjoys the solitude of the empty hacienda, explaining, “I make a margarita with that aged añejo tequila my mom saves for special occasions before I find a good book in the study.” 
  • While attending a vow renewal of family friends, Harlow sees Ben who “is holding out a champagne flute to me.” 
  • Before Harlow attempts to remove the bonding magic between her and Ben, she takes “a shot of añejo” with her aunt. Harlow says, “’To courage,” and then she “tip[s] the amber liquid back.” 


  • Harlow and her friend, Laini, often use profanity such as shit, ass, and damn.  
  • Occasionally, Harlow and other main characters use “fuck.” For example, When Chad tells Harlow to wear something “appropriate.” Harlow’s friend says, “I’ll let you go. But only in a dress that screams, ‘Fuck the patriarchy.’” 


  • Harlow describes her family’s land and how they create magic via plants. “The real family power, though, is in how they combine blooms, or concoct elixirs, using petals, leaves, and stems to create prosperity, love, health, hope, protection, or even to cause separation, doubt, fear, and misery. It’s all so complicated and beautiful and alchemical.” 
  • To help Harlow sleep, her mother uses “dream magic.” Harlow explains, “Then, as I fall back on my pillow and close my weary eyes, I remember that my mother sometimes uses holly for the power of dream magic.” 
  • Harlow discusses how her family is able to use their magic discreetly, explaining, “To the general passerby, it looks like a lovely vintage florist. But to the locals and a select few, this is the spot where you place and pick up your order of magic. After you sign the non-disclosure agreement—that is a modern addition. We operate using a whisper network, whispers carried on the wind of our town, El Viento, named for the goddess who is responsible for its creation.” 
  • To choose which Estrada family member will watch the farm and take care of the magical gardens while Harlow’s mom and aunt are out of the country, Harlow’s mother uses a “white iris petal, known for its faith and virtue.” Harlow’s mom explains, “You will each sleep with this under your pillow tonight. Whoever’s petal turns blue will act as the guardian.” Harlow’s petal turns blue. 
  • Harlow delivers a magical bouquet filled with memory magic that will allow her late grandmother’s friend, Beverly, to magically bond with her husband, William. Harlow explains that the bouquet is infused with memory magic, to help William recapture his memories of his life with Beverly, as he struggles with dementia. Harlow says, “Beverly and William Brandt were bonded at precisely 7:58 p.m. The moon was high, their hands connected, each breathing in the fragrance of the magic as he accepted the bouquet—just as instructed. I knew the moment it happened. [William’s] eyes sparked with flickers of gold, a sure sign that the bonding was complete.” 
  • The bonding bouquet that Harlow delivers to Beverly and William begins to work. Harlow explains, “[William’s] arms around [Beverly] with a familiarity that made me soar with joy and relief and even wonder,” showing that the memory magic has worked.  
  • When Harlow’s mom tells Harlow that she does have magic, Harlow tries magically bringing a flower back to life.  Harlow does “as [mom] says, and in a few seconds, I feel the vibration of life in the hydrangea; slowly I connect a thread of magic to it. The flower pulses as I open my eyes and watch it unfold into a healthy bloom.” 

Spiritual Content 

  • Harlow explains the story of how their family gained magical abilities. “The Aztec goddess Mayahuel whispered the given names of each child in the family,” and this instilled their family with power that passed down through the generations.  
  • Harlow says, “A lot of kids learn fairy tales, or stories from the Bible, but in my family? The very first tale you learn and commit to heart is the tale of a young and very beautiful goddess named Mayahuel whose jealous grandmother hid her in the farthest corner of the universe . . . wanting to conceal the goddess’s beauty and power.” 
  • Harlow’s family’s magic began with her great-great-grandmother; “Legend has it that the soil called to my great-great-grandmother when she came through this land on her way to somewhere else. . . the Aztec goddess of agave, Mayahuel, appeared to her and told her that if my great-great-grandmother used the land according to her instructions, the goddess would grant our family’s female descendants an unimaginable magic.” 
  • Harlow reflects on her childhood imagination about her family’s gardens. “I used to imagine the most fantastical night creatures swooping in to pollinate the flowers, to offer their gifts of magic to Mayahuel.” 
Other books by J.C. Cervantes
Other books you may enjoy

I want to write something magical, something that reflects the enchantment people don’t even realize is growing beneath their feet,Harlow Estrada. –The Enchanted Hacienda

Latest Reviews