Island Beneath the Sea: A Novel

Island Beneath the Sea: A Novel

3.9 238
by Isabel Allende
     
 

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“Allende is a master storyteller at the peak of her powers.”
Los Angeles Times

From the sugar plantations of Saint-Domingue to the lavish parlors of New Orleans at the turn of the 19th century, the latest novel from New York Times bestselling author Isabel Allende (Inés of My Soul, The House of the Spirits,

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Overview

“Allende is a master storyteller at the peak of her powers.”
Los Angeles Times

From the sugar plantations of Saint-Domingue to the lavish parlors of New Orleans at the turn of the 19th century, the latest novel from New York Times bestselling author Isabel Allende (Inés of My Soul, The House of the Spirits, Portrait in Sepia) tells the story of a mulatta woman, a slave and concubine, determined to take control of her own destiny.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
“[An] entertaining sweep...The canvas contains no less than the revolutionary history of the world’s first black republic...Allende revels in period details...Her cast is equally vibrant...”
San Francisco Chronicle
“Exuberant passions, strong heroines and intricate plots...a world as enchanted—and enchanting—as it is brutal and unjust... A page-turning drama.”
The Huffington Post
“Enthralling, blood-chilling, and heart-breaking…Island Beneath the Sea is a historical novel which works brilliantly in conveying the cyclone that was the eighteenth century.”
NPR.orgNPR.org
“…with gorgeous place descriptions, a keen eye for history and a predilection for high drama…There are few more charming storytellers in the world than Isabel Allende.”
Cathleen Medwick
“A lush epic of racism and rebellion which begins in Saint-Domingue (today’s Haiti)…In a culture of violence, Tété proves that ingenuity can be as heroic as love.”
Associated Press Staff
“Epic scope and sweep…[Allende’s] characters, linked by blood, love triangles and even incest, have a depth and complexity that…imbues the proceedings with a lushness bordering on magic realism.”
Corrie Pikul
“Two remarkable women whose destinies are entwined face the chaos of this time [eighteenth century Saint-Domingue]…Uncannily relevant.”
San Antonio Express-News
“A remarkable feat of prescience…Island Beneath the Sea is rich in drama, setting, themes, characters, dialogue and symbolism…an intriguing and wonderfully woven story.”
Donna Seaman
An entrancing and astute storyteller…In a many-faceted plot, Allende animates irresistible characters authentic in their emotional turmoil and pragmatic adaptability…while masterfully dramatizing the psychic wounds of slavery.”
Kirkus Reviews
Given recent events, the timing couldn't be better for this historical fiction from Allende (The Sum of Our Days, 2008, etc.), which follows a slave/concubine from Haiti during the slave uprisings to New Orleans in time for the Louisiana Purchase. In 1770, Toulouse Valmorain arrives in Haiti from France to take over his dying father's plantation. He buys the child Zarite to be his new Spanish wife Eugenia's maidservant and has her trained by the mulatto courtesan Violette Boisier, whose charisma could carry a book on its own. Barely into puberty, Zarite is raped by Valmorain, who gives the resulting son to Violette and her French army officer husband to raise as their own. Eugenia bears Valmorain one legitimate heir before she descends into madness. Zarite, who is devoted to pathetic Eugenia until her early death, lovingly raises baby Maurice and runs the household with great competence. She also submits to sexual relations with Valmorain whenever he wants. When Zarite's daughter is born, Valmorain assumes the child Rosette is his and allows her to remain in the household as Maurice's playmate. Actually Rosette's father is Gambo, a slave who has joined the rebels and become a lieutenant to the legendary Toussaint Louverture. When the rebels destroy Valmorain's plantation, Gambo and Zarite help him escape. In return Valmorain promises to free Zarite, who stays with him, she thinks temporarily, for the children's sake. Valmorain relocates to Louisiana, where Eugenia's brother has purchased him land. His new wife, jealous and vindictive Hortense, makes life unbearable for both Zarite and Maurice, who is sent to school in Boston. While Valmorain, less a villain than a man of his time, finally grants Zarite the freedom he's promised, more tragedies await strong-willed Rosette and sensitive, idealistic Maurice, whose love crosses more than racial boundaries. Still Zarite, along with the reader, finds solace in the cast of secondary characters, who also journey from Haiti to New Orleans. A rich gumbo of melodrama, romance and violence.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062002891
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/27/2010
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
480
Sales rank:
58,572
File size:
1 MB

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