Saturday, February 16, 2008

Inés of My Soul by Isabel Allende

Inés of My Soul is a stunning, brilliant novel about the conquering of Chile in the first half of the sixteenth century. Inés Suárez, a conquistadora and mistress to the first gobernator, Pedro de Valdivia, narrates the story that is filled with bloody and violent battles, all-consuming passion, complete devotion and a strong desire for adventure.

While a number of the characters in the book are real people, the story itself is a work of fiction. The author explains that “The feats of Inés Suárez…were nearly ignored by historians” and that she “merely strung them [the documented events] together with a fine thread of imagination.”

I usually love books written in the first person and this one is no exception. It’s beautifully and simply written. It is so well done that it almost makes history (not my favourite subject) a joy to read.

The author brings the characters “back-to-life” and takes the reader right into the action. Even though Inés was talking to Isabel throughout the book, I felt like she was talking to me.

Allende researched the material for this book thoroughly and that certainly came across in her writing.

For further reading, Allende provides a substantial biography. For online reading, Wikipedia has an interesting article about Inés . It contains plenty of links to others, Pedro, Rodrigo as well as links to more information about Chile.

I’m looking forward to reading more of Allende’s work.

Highly recommended.

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