10 Historical Facts About Ecuador and More

by Lorena Hughes


There is a replica of the Eiffel Tower in Vinces, Ecuador.


Vinces, a small town in Ecuador, is nicknamed Little Paris (París Chiquito).


For a decade, Ecuador was the world’s largest cacao exporter (late 19th century).


Ecuador’s cacao is called Arriba (up there/up river) because of its location in relation to the Guayas River.


Exporters of cacao beans didn’t try chocolate until it became commercialized decades later.


Chocolate was an expensive delicacy until it became commercialized in the 20th century.


A team of international scientists recently discovered that the origins of cacao trace back to the northwest region of South America, which is now Ecuador.


A Spanish woman, María Purificación García, patented a coffee and cacao bean roaster in 1847.


Up until 1809, women inventors in the US had to register their patents under their husbands’ names.


Throughout history, women have posed as men to participate in fields that were traditionally forbidden to females, such as warfare, medicine, and literature.

Set against the lush backdrop of early twentieth century Ecuador and inspired by the real-life history of the coastal town known as the birthplace of cacao, this captivating #OwnVoices novel from the award-winning author of The Sisters of Alameda Street tells the story of a resourceful young chocolatier who must impersonate a man in order to claim her birthright…

“An engrossing, suspenseful family saga filled with unpredictable twists and turns.” —Chanel Cleeton, New York Times bestselling author of Next Year in Havana

“A lushly written story of bittersweet family secrets and betrayals.” —Andrea Penrose, author of Murder at the Royal Botanic Gardens

Perfect for fans of Julia Alvarez and Silvia Moreno-Garcia, this riveting novel takes you inside the real-life history of early twentieth century Ecuador and the coastal town known as the birthplace of cacao. Told in rich detail, this beautiful novel of sweeping historical fiction from an award-winning author is not to be missed.

As a child in Spain, Puri always knew her passion for chocolate was inherited from her father. But it’s not until his death that she learns of something else she’s inherited—a cocoa estate in Vinces, Ecuador, a town nicknamed “París Chiquito.” Eager to claim her birthright and filled with hope for a new life after the devastation of World War I, she and her husband Cristóbal set out across the Atlantic Ocean. But it soon becomes clear someone is angered by Puri’s claim to the estate…

When a mercenary sent to murder her aboard the ship accidentally kills Cristóbal instead, Puri dons her husband’s clothes and assumes his identity, hoping to stay safe while she searches for the truth of her father’s legacy in Ecuador. Though freed from the rules that women are expected to follow, Puri confronts other challenges at the estate—newfound siblings, hidden affairs, and her father’s dark secrets. Then there are the dangers awakened by her attraction to an enigmatic man as she tries to learn the identity of an enemy who is still at large, threatening the future she is determined to claim…