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Violeta by Isabel Allende


Violeta by Isabel Allende
UK Publication Jan 2022
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: [★★★★]

This ARC was provided by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

One word review – Stunning. Two word review – Life affirming

Synopsis from Goodreads: This sweeping novel from the New York Times bestselling author of A Long Petal of the Sea tells the epic story of Violeta del Valle, a woman whose life spans one hundred years and bears witness to the greatest upheavals of the twentieth century.

Violeta comes into the world on a stormy day in 1920, the first girl in a family of five boisterous sons. From the start, her life will be 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. . . .

She tells her story in the form of a letter to someone she loves above all others, recounting devastating heartbreak and passionate affairs, times of both poverty and wealth, terrible loss and immense joy. Her life will be 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.

Told through the eyes of a woman whose unforgettable passion, determination, and sense of humor will carry her through a lifetime of upheaval, Isabel Allende once more brings us an epic that is both fiercely inspiring and deeply emotional.

My Thoughts: Well with a synopsis like that what can I add LOL?

What I can add is how much I enjoyed reading this book. Violeta is a great character and through her story we get the see the history of an unspecified country in South America played out. The changes in politics, the second world war, the treatment of women, the rebellions and the uneasy peace eventually achieved.

I loved Violeta’s determination her grit and her shear stubbornness to just keep on going and to get what she wants. Even when she is removed from main stream life and living in the country Violeta has a plan, she has goals and more importantly she is willing to overturn traditional gender roles to achieve independence for herself, she is also passionate and not ashamed about her many affairs over the years.

Allende is a beautiful and powerful writer as you can see from some of my favourite quotes below:

“The fairy tale that all humans are equal before the law and in the eyes of God is a lie, Camilo. I hope you don’t buy into it. Neither the law nor God treats everyone the same. That is especially clear in this country.”

“Night there fell suddenly, like a black blanket embroidered with millions of lights”

“Teresa said that until men gave birth and put with husbands, as women do, they should not have an opinion about – let alone decide on – abortion and divorce”

Who would like this? I would recommend this to those who have read and enjoyed Allende previously, those who enjoy historical fiction and those who love sweeping family sagas with all the joy and tragedy that they encompass.

We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think? 

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