I love authors who can weave words together so well that I feel like I am in the jungle with the character, tasting the food, feeling the heat of the sun. Isabel Allende is one of those authors that I love, my husband first introduced me to her, when I was snooping through his Spanish language editions of books and I kept seeing her name pop up. Eventually he bought me one of her books, translated into English, and I have been a fan ever since. Ines of my Soul by Isabel Allende is loosely based on the life of Ines de Suarez. It is a historical novel that describes the founding of Chile as seen through the eyes of Ines, who is essentially writing her memoir to her daughter. The story begins with Ines, a poor seamstress, who decides to follow her worthless husband to the New World to escape the poverty she is living in and seek out adventure. She arrives in Peru, only to learn that her husband died in battle, but she begins a long lasting, passionate affair with Pedro de Valdivia. Pedro’s entire goal is to do what no other Spaniard has done and conquer Chile. The battles that are fought are bloody and cruel, Allende spares nothing in her descriptions of what occurred during this time period. The indigenous population is not treated well, but they fight back with everything they have. Ines and Pedro build the city of Santiago together and Ines becomes the Governess of the city. She is way ahead of her peers in taking care of the city’s poor, sick and uneducated. She founded churches, hospitals, schools, even helped to feed the poor and hungry. Ines, like Allende herself, is a historian, storyteller and feminist, so the book combines fact, fiction and women’s rights with social justice. Allende’s ability to weave a story creates amazing imagery throughout the novel, to the point where you feel like you are there with the characters in a powerful, passionate book.

Published by Sarah BooksBeforeBandaids