ABOUT THE BOOK
One extraordinary woman.
One hundred years of history.
One unforgettable story.
Violeta comes into the world on a stormy day in 1920, the first daughter in a family of five boisterous sons. From the start, her life is marked by extraordinary events, for the ripples of the Great War are still being felt, even as the Spanish flu arrives on the shores of her South American homeland almost at the moment of her birth.
Through her father’s prescience, the family will come through that crisis unscathed, only to face a new one as the Great Depression transforms the genteel city life she has known. Her family loses all and is forced to retreat to a wild and beautiful but remote part of the country. There, she will come of age, and her first suitor will come calling.
In a letter to someone she loves above all others, Violeta recounts devastating heartbreak and passionate affairs, times of both poverty and wealth, terrible loss and immense joy, and a life shaped by some of the most important events of history: the fight for women’s rights, the rise and fall of tyrants and, ultimately, not one but two pandemics. Through the eyes of a woman whose unforgettable passion, determination, and sense of humour will carry her through a lifetime of upheaval, Isabel Allende once more brings us an epic that is both fiercely inspiring and deeply emotional.
The story of Violeta is told through her letters to her grandson, as she approaches the end of her 100-year life. She was born in South America in 1920 to a wealthy family who already had five sons. Spanish Flu has hit the world hard, but her father soon takes control of the home, ensuring everyone follows his strict hygiene routines. He keeps his family isolated as much as he can while running his business.
The family have no money problems. Her father houses most of the family free, where they live good lives, not having to work to keep themselves. But when the recession hits, he won’t listen to his son and still takes high risks in investing, eventually losing everything they have. The family move to a poorer area and have to fend for themselves. Violeta’s life is transformed as she is thrown into a new way of life.
Violetta is a clever woman and knows what will make money. The only drawback is being a woman, as they have no rights whatsoever. She is cunning but cold with it, determined that she will not face poverty again. One thing that comes across in the story well is that money doesn’t prevent tragedy.
There are deep and dark places in this book, not a pick you up kind of story. But no matter what happens in her life, she works literally to the end. The story takes you through all the changes in attitude, law and women’s rights. The choices she makes and the ones that she doesn’t get a second chance at putting right.
I am still sitting on the fence with this one a little. I didn’t find her a character that I could warm to very much. She was calculating and seemed like she had to be better than the men around her. After saying that I believe that this is the character the author wanted to give her readers.
I wish to thank Net Galley and the publisher for an e-copy of this book that I have reviewed honestly.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Born in Peru and raised in Chile, Isabel Allende is the author of The House of the Spirits, Daughter of Fortune, Paula, My Invented Country and The Japanese Lover. Her books have been translated into more than 35 languages and have sold over 65 million copies worldwide. The Japanese Lover was an international and New York Times bestseller. She lives in California.