A terrible mistake was made when, by a weird tradition of some editors of Portugal and Brazil, they attributed to Eça de Queiroz the authoring of this book. Actually it was prepared, published and edited by his son, who even have changed the original text of Eça, omitting some parts of the story and changing others to make it "easier" (for the reader, for the effective traditional society to accept). More details you can find on Eça biographies.
The story itself is far away near to the quality of "O Primo Basilio" or "O Crime do Padre Amaro". OK, they (and this story too) are likely to be a Mexican novel, but by that time Eça work was representing the movement against the Romantic literature. This latter work is much more Romantic rathar than Realism (the literary movement of Eça), since it does not have the traditional irony on the characters readers of Romantic novels, there are no reference to the culture of Portugal, etc., so present on Eça ORIGINAL work.