Ines of My Soul: A Novel

Ines of My Soul: A Novel

by Isabel Allende

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A passionate tale of love, freedom, and conquest from the New York Times bestselling author of The House of the Spirits, Isabelle Allende.

Born into a poor family in Spain, Inés Suárez, finds herself condemned to a life of poverty without opportunity as a lowly seamstress. But it's the sixteenth century, the beginning of the Spanish conquest of the Americas. Struck by the same restless hope and opportunism, Inés uses her shiftless husband's disappearance to Peru as an excuse to embark on her own adventure. After learning of her husband's death in battle, she meets the fiery war hero, Pedro de Valdivia and begins a love that not only changes her life but the course of history.

Based on the real historical events that founded Chile, Allende takes us on a whirlwind adventure of love and loss seen through the eyes of a daring, complicated woman who fought for freedom.  

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062254450
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/01/2014
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 189,397
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Isabel Allende is the author of twelve works of fiction, including the New York Times bestsellers Maya’s Notebook, Island Beneath the Sea, Inés of My Soul, Daughter of Fortune, and a novel that has become a world-renowned classic, The House of the Spirits. Born in Peru and raised in Chile, she lives in California.


San Rafael, California

Date of Birth:

August 2, 1942

Place of Birth:

Lima, Peru

Read an Excerpt

Ines of My Soul
A Novel

Chapter One

Europe 1500-1537

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 the Gypsy 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 iswhy 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.

Ines of My Soul
A Novel
. Copyright © by Isabel Allende. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Ines of My Soul 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 43 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ines of my soul written by Isabel Allende is about a girl named Ines Suarez. She was born into a poor family in Spain, a seamstress girl, finds herself condemned to a life of hard work without reward or hope for the future. Her husband left to Peru and doesn’t come back for a while and she decides that she wants to get out and explore more so she uses the excuse that she was trying to find him but really just wants to have an adventure. So Ines goes with her niece Constantine. In search of her husband she hears news about something that changed her life forever. After being in Peru for a while Ines meets a man named Pedro Valdivia. She falls madly in love with him and soon after they get married. He was a war hero and field marshal to Francisco Pizarro. So, together Ines and Pedro build a new city of Santiago and start a ruthless war against indigenous Chileans. They both encounter horrible struggles that later pull them farther apart than ever before. I thought this book was pretty good as a first time reader of a book written by and about Hispanic stories it was very interesting. This book was about love and adventure which are my favorite types of books to read. I mostly would recommend this book to young teens and women. Guys honestly would mostly likely find it cheesy and boring. In the beginning I thought it was kind of slow and didn’t make much sense to me but as I kept going more and more thoughts came about in my mind that kept me literally on the edge of my seat. So, yes I do like this book and I do recommend it to people who love romance and adventures.
kristi17 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a romantic drama that I enjoyed very much, mostly the parts that touched on the details of everyday life for the Spanish in their struggles to claim Chile. I would have liked to see more information on the real Suarez, what is really known about her vs what Allende needed to elaborate on. All in all a hard to put down account of New World adventure, one that I will probably pick up to read again...someday.
r_cuningham on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Good fiction about the conquest of Chile, based on the events of a historical woman's life, Inés.
koalamom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing story about a real, amazing woman of the 16th century. She was born poor in Spain, married the town gigilo who then abandoned her for the lure of El dorado in the newly discovered South America. She eventually follows him there and ends up helping found a city and possibly a country and has a relationship with two remarkable men.The book is written in first person with Ines telling her story which ends with the death of one of her two loves in South America, but not her last one. It is told as a story to her adopted daughter, Isabel.It was a wonderful slow read taking me to a place of intrigue, hardship and beauty.
TonyaSB on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The story is about a young Spanish woman who follows her husband when he goes off to the New World to make his fortune. The book seemed pretty interesting but there was one thing that turned me off and it happened so much that I just couldn't listen anymore. It's told from the point of view of a much older Ines telling about her younger self, which is fine. I've read lots of books that start in the future and then go back. However, she continually makes allusions to things that will happen later in the most annoying ways. "As you will see later," "As will be explained later," "Which would never come to pass," "If I had only known how it would turn out." These phrases are fairly irritating when used more than once. Yes, I believe you should only use this once in a book no matter how long that book is. It can make a certain impact when used correctly. If used too many times, it simply becomes irritating. If the book is 985 pages long, it should still only be used once. I listened to the audio book for an hour and she said it 10 times. I'm not sure how many chapters or pages that was but it wasn't very long of a time to have it said that many times! Just tell me the story as it happens. Quit telling me that something is going to happen or that I will see different results later. Just tell it and let it unfold naturally. So I wish I could tell you more about the book but I just got irritated and stopped listening. The book is already on it's way to it's new owner, care of Paperback Swap. I hope that person enjoys it more than me
noodlejet22 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a nice piece of historical fiction about a woman who moves to the new world following love. With her courage and love for a married man Ines helps found Chile and and create a strong country that stands many wars to name a few assaults. This is a wonderful account of the importance of women in history, their often unsung bravery and importance.
TallyDi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's an excellent story with the bonus that the narrator, Inés Suárez, lived the events depicted.
MissTeacher on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ines is so alluring, provocative, powerful, masterful and wise, yet fortune fated her to never have children. If Senora Suarez could found Chile with such grace, just imagine what women of her bloodline could accomplish in the modern age. She loves passionately yet wisely, and though she carried no bitterness toward de Valdivia towards the end, his fall was inevitable and justified. I wish I could have learned more of the sensible love between her and Rodrigo, after the fevered love of her younger days. Definitely a book for history-lovers and -haters alike!
soliloquies on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Unable to read this one, as I could not get into the book - it sounded like a great idea but just didn't work out for me.
emmakendon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An interesting read from an unreliable narrator giving an insight into the Spanish conquest of Peru and Chile. Awful slush seriously lets it down though.
julierh on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
good historical fiction about the conquest of chile; there's no doubt that allende writes with a lot of skill and i give this 2 1/2 stars primarily because it's not my thing and because i started to find the battles redundant.
bpompon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I usually love Allende's books. I had a really hard time connecting with this book. It was well written, but it didn't ever really draw me in.
SigmundFraud on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was disappointed by this book. I have read several better Allende novels. She clearly has done a great deal of research and it is an interesting treatise on the Spanish conquering of the west coast of South America but the story does move well.
luna9 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is my first Allende novel and she has not failed to impress me. I'm looking forward to the next.
Joycepa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another fascinating historical novel from Isabel Allende. Set in 16th century Peru and Chile, Inez is the lover of one and the husband of another adventurer/conquerer of Peru and Chile. A little more rigidly structured than Daughter of Fortune--Inés Suárez, Pedro de Valdivia, and Rodrigo Quiroga were real people--it's still an absorbing account of the initial history of Chile; the historical figures totally come to life. Inéz Suárez is yet another of Allende's strong women.
claudiabowman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
For some reason, I was reluctant to open this one and put it in the bottom of my stack. But once I started reading I was immediately taken in. Allende has such a wonderful style and such a way with her characters and with creating such vivid worlds. Fantastic!
lauralkeet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This work of historical fiction tells the story of the Spaniards' conquest of Chile in the mid-1500s. Allende attempts to bring a unique perspective to this time period by telling the story in a woman's voice. Ines Suarez left Spain for South America in search of her lover, and ended up the life partner of Pedro de Valdivia, a conquistador responsible for the "discovery" of Chile and suppression of the native people.I enjoyed Allende's previous novels, including House of the Spirits and Daughter of Fortune. Allende's writing can be positively magical. Unfortunately, this book does not live up to Allende's potential. I never fully identified -- or even liked -- the characters and couldn't get excited about the violence wrought against native people in the pursuit of gold and riches for the white man.
exkayaker on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Isabel Allende continues to impress me with her amibitious writing. Even though this book has some blood and gore, I believe Allende presented no more than she had to in order to be realistic. I would love to know more about the real people on which the book is based.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ines of My Soul, written by Isabel Allende, is a novel written about a young woman, who lived in the 1500's, named Ines Suarez. Ines ventures away from her home town Plasencia, Spain to go in search of her husband Juan de Malaga. Juan has left her, because of his loss of marital lust soon after there marriage and also to search for El Dorado, the lost city of gold. Ines, now sentenced to be a "widow of the new world", is to strong of woman to sit around for the rest of her life, sentenced to nothing but her skill of sewing and cooking. In thinking about her personal needs, Ines decides that she should venture to Peru with her niece, Constanza. After Ines and her niece arrive in Peru, she gets into a fight with a man, which ends in his death. Ines is very regretful of this action because now she is a wanted woman of this unknown land. When on the run, Ines meets a man named Pedro de Valdivia, in which she falls in love with immediately after their first meeting. It is after this that she decides to go on a great adventure with Pedro scaling over a large Chilean desert and coming in contact with the Mapuche Indians, who are ruled by chief Michimalonko. This novel tells the tails of great warriors, the hardships and also prosperities which you can reach with your heart set to what it wants. I did not like this novel although because it deserves a very strong and happy ending, which is not the case. I will say that the rest of the novel was strongly written although because once into it, it got me on the edge of my seat to turn the pages to see what may lie on the other side. If it had not been for the dreary ending, this would definatley be on my recommendation list for anyone who likes a good read about love and adventure.
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