I first became acquainted with novelist Isabel Allende when her 2009 novel Island Beneath The Sea was recommended to me by my daughter.  See my overview  at gordonsgoodreads.com , January, 2013.  Allende is  talented and prolific , having written a dozen novels and three books for young adults. Island Beneath The Sea  is not only a good read but Allende combines a love story with a vivid  picture of events leading to the slave revolution on the great sugar plantations in Dominique , now Haiti.  The story culminates with the great slave migration to the United States, particularly New Orleans.


Ten years prior to Island  Beneath The Sea, Allende published Daughter of Fortune another wonderful tale, this time beginning in Chile where she was raised.  Allende’s uncle Chilean President Salvatore Allende was assassinated in 1974, upon which Allende fled Chile for Venezuela, then moved to the United States.

Like Island, Daughter of Fortune is a complex love story set in the environment of what would  today be called a non-traditional family, the main character having been left as a foundling on the doorstep of prosperous British transplants in Valparaiso, Chile. Allende is generous in her portrait of  nineteenth century life in  this isolated outpost. It is here that her characters  evolve then embark on a journey to the gold fields of California in search of lost love and fortunes .   You will be fascinated with Eliza and even more so with Tao Chi’en.

Isabel Allende is an excellent storyteller, her work is enjoyable, engaging  and with a generous sharing of cultures and history always in the mix. Either of the books will make a good addition to your summer reading. Also by Isabel Allende Ines of my Soul, Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses.

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