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The Hacienda

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  400 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
From a prize-winning British author comes a lush, absorbing memoir--an "Out of Africa" set in the Venezuelan Andes. Tremendously atmospheric, "The Hacienda" brilliantly evokes the unique confluence of time, place, and people that shaped this powerful writer.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 3rd 1999 by Back Bay Books (first published 1997)
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May 29, 2015 Eve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, read-2015
"Over and over again before I ever went there, I heard the name 'La Hacienda'. It was a place where sugar-cane grew in unimaginable abundance and avocado pears that dwarfed all others. It was a place without any clear dimensions: a frontierless tract of land steeped in history..."

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With these words, Terán begins her poetic memoir of the seven years she spent on the generations old Venezuelan hacienda she inherited upon marrying her husband. To say that this book was eye-opening is an understatemen
Sep 11, 2011 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I declare an interest. I own a farm in Latin America. It is much smaller than the one of which this author became the Doña for several years. Also, I came to my farm late in life, whereas when she came to hers when she was teenager. Sometimes, when I walk the few hundred yards to the back of my land and look across the valley, I think of her doing the same in the early 1970s. The biggest difference is that when she did so, everything that she could see belonged to her (or, more accurately, the h ...more
Sep 04, 2016 Negin rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir-biography
If you have a problem with judgmental reviews, then please stop reading here.

This is a memoir and obviously Lisa is free to keep out what she wants. Yet because I felt that it was patchy in certain areas and that some parts were omitted, I did some research.

One realizes early on in the book that Lisa had an eccentric background. Her mother had been married four times and had four children, one from each marriage.

Lisa meets her husband-to-be Jaime, who’s 20 years her senior, when she’s 16 on a
Maggie Roessler

I read this while living in rural Ghana and it was fascinating to see the similarities between these rural undeveloped (insert pc term here) villages, despite their major geographic differences.

The text struck a good balance between calm and lively, but I read it pretty quickly. After more time, I might well have gotten bored. Although maybe not. While the details and anecdotes can seem unconnected and perhaps monotonous, they manage to convey (very subtly) Lisa's journey from a clue
Sally Tarbox
Aug 12, 2016 Sally Tarbox rated it really liked it
Shelves: autobiography
"When he returned, I was reminded of Jane Eyre"
By sally tarbox on 23 August 2016
Format: Paperback
Fascinating memoir of the author's life from 17 to 24 after she married a mysterious Venezuelan - a local aristocrat, owner of a large sugar plantation, but also a wanted man and one who proved to be deranged. "I had decided to do it (marry him) in a public-spirited way; it seemed to mean a lot to him and it didn't mean much to me."

Abandoned by her husband for much of the time, and disapproved of by
Jun 20, 2008 Mereke rated it it was ok
A memoir in which the writer does not allow you to know much about herself as a person and is generally fairly derogatory with respect to all the people around her. She's a fool to go to Venezuela, a fool to stay and a fool to tell us about it and expect us not to wonder what in the heck she was thinking when she married a man she didn't really care about one or another in the first place. I didn't find it enlightening or particularly interesting.
Ashley Dong
Mar 13, 2015 Ashley Dong rated it liked it
I enjoyed her story and it was sad at points and I cant believe some of the things she had to endure as a wife and even as a mother. I didn't care for the way she wrote, like she left out certain details then later on in the book went back to the time we had already gone through. I also didn't care for the ending I would have liked to have known what became of her husband and how she actually got him to sign the papers.
John Gurney
Mar 26, 2014 John Gurney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This memoir is so unexpected it reads like fiction. Teenage Englishwoman meets cash poor/land rich Venezuelan grandee, marries him and in the 1970s, moves to the isolated, rural hacienda that's been in his family for centuries. The hacienda is crumbling and Lisa St. Aubin de Teran plunges into a complex social situation, formed by a half millennium of tradition. Though she wants to befriend and help la gente, the people, of the gigantic property, they defer to her, are terrified of her, the new ...more
Jul 09, 2013 Stephanie rated it really liked it
I read this as someone who had lived in Caracas, Venezuela in 1983, working for an English -language daily. Though I don't generally like memoirs, this one had a fascinating ring of authenticity. The author married a man more than twice her age, went to Venezuela from England and then was alternatingly abandoned or terrorized by his psychotic rages when he returned to his enormous sugar plantation. She had a child, held out for seven years, ruined her health, but learned to manage the estate, cu ...more
May 07, 2007 Heather rated it liked it
Very interesting book and well-written, but flawed. It is a memoir so I guess she can write about what she wants, but she is so oblique about some of the happenings and occurrences (e.g., domestic violence) that I was left wondering what happened. And then she ends the book and you wonder what happened to the rest of her life. As well, she says that everyone in the sphere of Venezuelan society that she knows is nasty and vicious, yet at the same time she seems to have a bunch of friends -- how d ...more
Feb 28, 2016 Susan rated it it was amazing
This is a gripping and beautifully written memoir by an Englishwoman who at 17 married a Venezuelan aristocrat (who ultimately turned out to be very mentally disturbed) and went to live on his planation, or "hacienda." The beginning of the book was hard for me, as Teran was terribly passive, as well as young and inexperienced, but when I looked at it as the story of a young woman who discovers her powers gradually and painfully, rather than as the story of a Western woman submitting to neglect a ...more
Stephen Castley
Sep 03, 2015 Stephen Castley rated it really liked it
This is a most interesting memoir, written in a strange but entertaining style. In the early pages, I was tempted to put it down, but then it caught me and I kept on reading, enjoying the authors style. Lisa St. Aubin de Teran incorporates letters to her mother throughout the book and this really works and pushes the story along. Many memoirs entice the reader to visit new destinations showcased in the book. Lisa showcases Venezuela in the 70s and I am not tempted to visit.
Sarah smith gumataotao
Jun 02, 2014 Sarah smith gumataotao rated it really liked it
I had some serious issues with this book but the story is fascinating. The author leaves out WAY too many details which I found very disappointing. I really wanted to know more. I needed more dots to be connected, the stitch to be tighter. That being said, it's a crazy story, and I like crazy stories.
Xan Asher
Jan 25, 2014 Xan Asher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If Lisa St Aubin de Teran had not become a novelist, she could simply have written autobiographies in which her truth is more extraordinary than most fiction. Ages back I read a book of hers (Memoirs Of A Train Addict?) which is a must for anyone who loves travel. The Hacienda is a wonderful evocation of time, place and strength and independence being built. Excellent reading.
May 25, 2012 Sara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I hardly ever read books based in Latin America. I came across this used & since I enjoy memoirs I thought I'd give it a try. It took about 3 or 4 chapters for it to engage me. This author was quickly married to a man she barely knew, moved to his family's plantation as the matriarch, and was abandoned by him in the wild of the plantation. It is a very eccentric book, but interesting.
Aug 15, 2011 Eniko rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I much enjoyed reading this book, especially after reading Swallowing Stones by the same author. The Hacienda tells the tales of an English girl who married a Venezuelan revolutionary at the tender age of 17, and went to live on his hacienda among the "gente rural". It is delightful as it is horrifying at times, but altogether beautifully written.
Sep 02, 2012 Tracy rated it it was ok
It is an interesting memoir for the various characters encountered and the incidents that befell the author. The writing is altogether lacking in creativity and it reads like a journal. The description of the culture and behavior of the people in this rural area of Venezuela is interesting but otherwise I found the storytelling too disappointing.
Malissa Cadwallader
Feb 04, 2013 Malissa Cadwallader rated it really liked it
Great memoir about a British woman who marries a Venezuelan plantation owner. The husband turns out to be a lunatic who nearly kills her, but her experience living on the plantation is a great adventure and provides insight about the world of working-class peasants in Venezuela. Book starts to drag toward the middle - but overall, I totally recommend this one...
Stephanie Brook
Jun 17, 2009 Stephanie Brook rated it liked it
Although I related in some ways to the main character, I felt that she was far too passive and her personality frustrated me to no end. I did not have a hard time finishing the book, but I was not pleased with the outcome when I did reach the finish line.
Mar 16, 2012 Sheila rated it really liked it
Rich with characters you love, hate and pity. An emotional-packed atmospheric visit to a dangerous, beautiful environment filled the people who survive or die without fanfare.
I enjoyed the author's detailed descriptions of her harrowing life at the Hacienda. A great memoir.
Liddy Barlow
Mar 07, 2008 Liddy Barlow rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, 1999
She lived an almost unbelievable life and certainly did things an average person would not have done -- marry a man who didn't speak English, etc. But she behaved admirably at the hacienda, and captured its landscape and people so well I dreamed of them.
Aug 23, 2013 Audreyjackson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book languished on a shelf for a long time at last I picked it up and never put it down again. it is so real and real with the time for any woman trying to survive then. I was caught up in this book.
Mar 31, 2008 Rachel rated it liked it
A young English woman's perspective on Venezuelan hacienda culture. Quirky anecdotes and very interesting observations on lifestyle of her new home, especially interesting to read while abroad in a South American country.
Jul 21, 2009 Marghimarkham added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
I loved this book. Could not put it down. It is a very dramatic and informative picture of life on a neglected plantation in South America and one woman's attempts to improve the situation of all living thre.
Lisa St Aubin de Teran has led a fascinating life and is a terific writer.
Jan 29, 2009 cessie rated it really liked it
I love her! She has a great style and stories to tell. This book is about her time in Venezuela where she stayed at the hacienda of her husband for a couple of years.

Read more
Mary Mccullough
Jan 08, 2014 Mary Mccullough rated it liked it
Not sure. Her style of writing seemed very detached and I didn't get invested in any character. She seemed so passive it was hardly credible. She leaves it unfinished in my opinion. Would have liked to find out what happens at the end.
Feb 01, 2008 Linda rated it liked it
this biography gives truth to the statement - life is indeed stranger than fiction. Surviving an eccentric British upbringing, marriage and abandonment on a wild plantation in S. America
Nov 15, 2013 David rated it it was amazing
Captivating, lyrical, a mesmerising account of life in the Venezuelan Andes. What a great way to experience this world from the comfort of your sitting room!
Jun 13, 2009 Kay rated it really liked it
Normaly I don't like memoirs but.... This one I loved. I could visualize the place and the people. I felt like I had traveled to the Hacienda myself.
Beverly Williams
Sep 04, 2013 Beverly Williams rated it liked it
Memoirs of a 17-year-old English girl who marries a Venezuelan aristocrat—Her life in the Andes in an unfamiliar society with an unstable man-her personal growth and strength.
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Lisa St. Aubin de Terán was born Lisa Rynveld in South London. She attended the James Allen's Girls' School. She married a Venezuelan landowner, Jaime Terán in 1971, at the age of 17, and became a farmer of sugar cane, avocados, pears, and sheep from 1972-1978.

Her second husband was the Scottish poet and novelist George MacBeth. After the marriage failed, she married painter Robbie Duff Scott and
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