Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Alphabet in Historical Fiction Challenge: Isabel Allende

I thought about talking about a book, but, I couldn't find anything on my shelf that started with an A that was appropriate for this challenge. But I found various authors though: Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, Jean Auel, and Isabel Allende. Which arose another problem: Which one to choose? I had Master K help me, and he chose Isabel Allende.

I absolutely love Isabel Allende. I find her style of writing very gripping and emotional. And when I say emotional not only the crying type, it's makes me happy, sad, and angry...well you get the point.

Isabel Allende was born in Lima, Peru to Chilean parents in the 1940's, her father was a Chilean diplomat. She went to school in various country but later returned to Chile. Soon after she marries she begins writing. First for magazines and then later novels.

And here are some of my favourites:

The House of the Spirits, first published in 1985 by Knopf. Is the story of Clara Del Valle (and her family), who later marries into the Trueba family. Clara is a very special child with a very special gift. I re-read this book earlier in the year, and you find my thoughts here.
Here's the blurb for The House of the Spirits (taken from Book Passage Bookstore):
Here, in an astonishing debut by a gifted storyteller, is the magnificent saga of proud and passionate men and women and the turbulent times through which they suffer and triumph. They are the Truebas. And theirs is a world you will not want to leave, and one you will not forget.
Esteban -- The patriarch, a volatile and proud man whose lust for land is legendary and who is haunted by his tyrannical passion for the wife he can never completely possess.
Clara -- The matriarch, elusive and mysterious, who foretells family tragedy and shapes the fortunes of the house of the Truebas.
Blanca -- Their daughter, soft-spoken yet rebellious, whose shocking love for the son of her father's foreman fuels Esteban's everlasting contempt... even as it produces the grandchild he adores.
Alba -- The fruit of Blanca's forbidden love, a luminous bearty, a fiery and willful woman... the family's break with the past and link to the future.

Of Love and Shadows first published by Knopf in 1987. It's a story about two people who aren't afraid to test their love for their beliefs: of justice and truth in a military dictatorship. Here's the blurb for Of Love and Shadows(taken from Book Passage Bookstore):
Isabel Allende transports us to a Latin American country in the grip of a military dictatorship, where Irene Beltran, an upperclass journalist, and Francisco Leal, a photographer son of a Marxist professor together discover a hideous crime. They also discover how far they dare go in search of the truth in a nation of terror . . . and how very much they risk.

Eva Luna first published by Knopf in 1988. It's the story of Eva Luna and the people that she encounters throughout her life and who make her the way she is. Although I love all of Allende's books, I think Eva Luna is my favourite. Here's the summary notes from Book Passage Bookstore:
An exotic dance that beguiles and entices... The enchanted and enchanting account of a contemporary Scheherazade, a wide-eyed American teller-of-tales who triumphs over harsh reality through the creative power of her own imagination...

I also have to mention the other ones that I've read and enjoyed: Daughter of Fortune, Zorro and The Stories of Eva Luna.

Do you have a favourite book by Isabel Allende?


Marg said...

I have only read Isabel Allende's historical fiction novels, but I really enjoyed them. I loved the fact that the books were initially set in a place that we don't normally read much about, but then it moved to the wild west, which is one of my favourite settings to read.

Good choice for the letter A!

Anonymous said...

Good choice! I loved The House of Spirits. I haven't read it in many years, but it remains a favorite. I have Eva Luna, but haven't had a chance to read it yet. I did also enjoy House of Fortune.

Stephanie said...

Great choice! I love Isabel Allende, and The House of Spirits was the first one I read, when I was in college.

Cat said...

The only one I've read is House of Spirits which I did enjoy. You inspire me to seek her out again. Eva Luna sounds good.