“Thoroughly researched…a colorful, entertaining tale of the hardscrabble adventures and desperate deeds of some of our hemisphere’s first Europeans”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Surely one of the most graceful and yet haunting writers alive.”
San Diego Union-Tribune
“Allende’s keen intelligence and lively prose keep readers wishing for more.”
“Thrilling epic...the memoir she ascribes to Ines promotes a more democratic view of how the New World was settled.”
“Might be Allende’s best novel, better even than THE HOUSE OF SPIRITS.”
Rocky Mountain News
“A thourough and unflinching account…Allende...keeps the pages turning. It’s a joy to see Ines triumph.”
“Brilliant…A beautifully crafted work by one of the finest writers of our time.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Allende has given [Ines] an instantly appealing voice...even the most unpliable reader will be hooked.”
The Globe and Mail
“Ines of My Soul is an absorbing and illuminating book.”
“Allende…has written her surest work since THE HOUSE OF THE SPIRITS.”
“Allende’s imagination delivers the enchantment…this is one work Allende fans should not miss.”
“Ines of My Soul is a powerful novel...[Ines] is, in Allende’s skilled hands, a wholly human character.”
Christian Science Monitor
“engrossing…Fans of Allende’s earlier novels will…find enjoyment in INES OF MY SOUL.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“Solid and well-constructed...Ines is rescued by Allende from history’s dust bin.”
“Compelling...a complex and truly rich tale”
“An elegant work of historical fiction.”
New York Times
“earthy and ironic.”
Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Allende is a genius.”
Los Angeles Times
“Allende is a master storyteller at the peak of her powers, as she demonstrates in her latest novel.”
“Riveting...A colorful and clear-eyed portrait...Suarez’s story is so fabulous and life-affirming…that it simply captivates”
“A powerfully evocative narrative...Allende is at her best here.”
“Well-grounded...As always, Allende focuses on the story.”
“Allende always delivers. This time it’s with an enchanting historical fiction about Chile.”
New York Times Book Review
“Vivid…Allende’s reach is broad…Allende succeeds in resurrecting a woman from history and endowing her with the gravitas of a hero.”
Booklist (starred review)
“Fiction about the conquistador experience…can’t possibly get better”
Brown has created something of a cottage industry in performing Isabel Allende's novels. And it's no wonder that she's chosen for these meaty roles: the Emmy-winning actress brings a pitch-perfect sensibility to Allende's lyrical prose and wild, almost charmed, settings. In this case, Allende turns from magical realism to historical reality in embroidering the story of Inés Suarez (1507–1580), the spirited conquistadora who helped found the nation of Chile. Brown not only captures Inés's fortitude and determination but also her humor. She keeps the pacing relatively quick despite the novel's length and does justice to the impressive array of characters, although some of the soldiers' voices are less distinctive than those of the comparatively few female characters. Brown's intonation, with its softened consonants and beautiful, rounded accent, can transport listeners to a different time and place, and her pronunciation of Spanish words is dead-on. Each disc sets the mood with the music of—what else?—Spanish guitar. This audiobook is a meaty empanada filled with delights. Simultaneous release with the HarperCollins hardcover (Reviews, Aug. 21). (Dec.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Allende (The House of the Spirits) once again features a strong woman in her new novel, which is based on the life of In s Suarez, who came to the Americas around 1537 in search of a wayward husband. After learning of his death, she joins Pedro de Valdivia, the conqueror of Chile, as his mistress and fellow conquistador in the defense of Santiago against the Native Americans. This fictionalized account of one of Chile's national heroines is meticulously researched and offers a detailed account of a little-known time period in history, as an older In s recounts her life story. Unfortunately, this passive retelling of hardships, battles, and love affairs becomes dry, tedious, and repetitive. Seldom are readers allowed to experience the story as it happens. Instead of eagerly anticipating each part of an unfolding drama, they may have to force themselves to pick the book up again and soldier onward, much as In s and her comrades did as they marched through the deserts of South America. Recommended for Allende's popularity. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 7/06.] Kellie Gillespie, City of Mesa Lib., AZ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Chilean author Allende (Zorro, 2005, etc.) recounts the life of a national heroine in this historical novel. In‚s Su rez was born in a small Spanish village in 1507. By the time she died, in 1580, she had journeyed to the New World, become the lover of the first governor of Chile and defended the city of Santiago when it was attacked by natives. The conquistadora's life was full of daring, intrigue and passionate romance, but much of the excitement of this extraordinary woman's adventure is lost in Allende's version. In a bibliographical note, the author explains that she spent several years doing research for this novel. It shows, unfortunately, as she frequently assumes a voice more suited to an encyclopedia: "The isthmus of Panam is a narrow strip of land that separates our European ocean from the South Sea, which is now called the Pacific." Such information ultimately overwhelms the story. Character development happens in dry, rushed bursts of exposition, and Allende frequently chooses clich‚ over real description: "My relationship with Pedro de Valdivia turned my life upside down. . . . One day without seeing him and I was feverish. One night without being in his arms was torment." The narrative device that Allende has chosen-the novel is a letter from Su rez to her adopted daughter-is boring and distracting. Su rez frequently includes information that her adopted daughter surely would have known; she manages to transcribe whole conversations to which she was not privy; and many of the historical details-casualty statistics from the sacking of Rome in 1527, for example-seem much more like something the author found in a reference work than anything her protagonist was likely to havebeen privy to. Turgid and detached-homework masquerading as epic.
“Vivid and convincing….”
"Fiction about the conquistador experience…can’t possibly get better"
Read an Excerpt
Ines of My Soul A Novel
By Isabel Allende
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. Copyright © 2006 Isabel Allende
All right reserved.
I am Inés Suárez, a townswoman of the loyal city of Santiago de Nueva Extremadura in the Kingdom of Chile, writing in the year of Our Lord 1580. I am not sure of the exact date of my birth, but according to my mother I was born following the famine and deadly plague that ravaged Spain upon the death of Philip the Handsome. I do not believe that the death of the king provoked the plague, as people said as they watched the progress of the funeral cortège, which left the odor of bitter almonds floating in the air for days, but one never knows. Queen Juana, still young and beautiful, traveled across Castile for more than two years, carrying her husband's catafalque from one side of the country to the other, opening it from time to time to kiss her husband's lips, hoping that he would revive.
Despite the embalmer's emollients, The Handsome stank. When I came into the world, the unlucky queen, by then royally insane, was secluded in the palace at Tordesillas with the corpse of her consort. That means that my heart has beaten for at least seventy winters, and that I am destined to die before this Christmas. I could say that a Gypsy on the shores of the Río Jerte divined the date of my death, but that would be one of those untruths one reads in a book and then, because it is in print, appears to be true. All theGypsy did was predict a long life for me, which they always do in return for a coin. It is my reckless heart that tells me that the end is near.
I always knew that I would die an old woman, in peace and in my bed, like all the women of my family. That is why I never hesitated to confront danger, since no one is carried off to the other world before the appointed hour. "You will be dying a little old woman, I tell you, señorayyy," Catalina would reassure me--her pleasant Peruvian Spanish trailing out the word--when the obstinate galloping hoof beats I felt in my chest drove me to the ground. I have forgotten Catalina's Quechua name, and now it is too late to ask because I buried her in the patio of my house many years ago, but I have absolute faith in the precision and veracity of her prophecies. Catalina entered my service in the ancient city of Cuzco, the jewel of the Incas, during the era of Francisco Pizarro, that fearless bastard who, if one listens to loose tongues, once herded pigs in Spain and ended up as the Marqués Gobernador of Peru, crushed by his ambition and multiple betrayals.
Such are the ironies of this new world of the Americas, where traditional laws have no bearing, and society is completely scrambled: saints and sinners, Whites, Blacks, Browns, Indians, Mestizos, nobles, and peasants. Any one among us can find himself in chains, branded with red-hot iron, and the next day be elevated by a turn of fortune. I have lived more than forty years in the New World and still I am not accustomed to the lack of order, though I myself have benefited from it. Had I stayed in the town of my birth I would today be an old, old woman, poor, and blind from tatting so much lace by the light of a candle. There I would be Inés, the seamstress on the street of the aqueduct. Here I am doña Inés Suárez, a highly placed señora, widow of The Most Excellent Gobernador don Rodrigo de Quiroga, conquistador and founder of the Kingdom of Chile.
So, I am at least seventy years old, as I was saying, years well-lived, but my soul and my heart, still caught in a fissure of my youth, wonder what devilish thing has happened to my body. When I look at myself in my silver mirror, Rodrigo's first gift to me when we were wed, I do not recognize the grandmother with a crown of white hair who looks back at me. Who is that person mocking the true Inés? I look more closely, with the hope of finding in the depths of the mirror the girl with braids and scraped knees I once was, the young girl who escaped to the back gardens to make love, the mature and passionate woman who slept wrapped in Rodrigo de Quiroga's arms. They are all crouching back there, I am sure, but I cannot seem to see them. I do not ride my mare any longer, or wear my coat of mail and my sword, but it is not for lack of spirit--that I have always had more than enough of--it is only because my body has betrayed me. I have very little strength, my joints hurt, my bones are icy, and my sight is hazy. Without my scribe's spectacles, which I had sent from Peru, I would not be able to write these pages. I wanted to go with Rodrigo--may God hold him in his Holy Bosom--in his last battle against the Mapuche nation, but he would not let me. He laughed. "You are very old for that, Inés." "No more than you," I replied, although that wasn't true, he was several younger than I. We believed we would never see each other again but we made our good-byes without tears, certain that we would be reunited in the next life. I had known for some time that Rodrigo's days were numbered, even though he did everything he could to hide it. He never complained, but bore the pain with clenched teeth, and only the cold sweat on his brow betrayed his suffering.
He was feverish when he set off, and had a suppurating pustule on one leg that all my remedies and prayers had not cured. He was going to fulfil his desire to die like a soldier, in the heat of combat, not flat on his back in bed like an old man. I, on the other hand, wanted to be with him to hold his head at that last instant, and to tell him how much I cherished the love he had lavished on me throughout our long lives.
Excerpted from Ines of My Soul by Isabel Allende Copyright © 2006 by Isabel Allende. Excerpted by permission.
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