Friday, August 20, 2010

Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende

Each new book by Isabel Allende is eagerly anticipated by her many fans. Her newest book Island Beneath the Sea does not disappoint. With her straight forward, honest narrative style, Allende explores the history of Haiti.

Tete is a slave girl, the daughter of an African mother and one of the white sailors who brought her to the new world. She becomes the property of Toulouse Valmorain, and their lives remain intertwined throughout the novel. The family becomes embroiled in Haiti’s bloody revolution and eventually make their way to New Orleans. Throughout her youth, Tete remains determined to be free. All through her life she finds love and humanity as she and those she loves endure unimaginable cruelty and victimization.

This timely book is more than a great story. I would venture to say that despite Haiti being in the news for the past year, most of us know very little about that country’s history. As she has in so many previous novels, Allende gives us a fictional tale interwoven with real-life characters and events. In my humble opinion, this is one of her best.

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