Another book review blog?!?

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Inés of My Soul - Historical fiction

Author: Isabel Allende (trans. Margaret Sayers Peden)
Title: Inés of My Soul/ Inés del Alma Mia
Publication Date: 2006
Number of Pages: 313
Part of a Series:   No
Subject Heading(s
  • 16th century
  • Biographical Novels
  • Chile
  • Conquistadors
  • Cultured Warrior
  • Historical Fiction
  • Imperialism
  • Independence in Women
  • Ines Suarez
  • Lady of War
  • Pedro de Valdivia
  • Spanish Fiction
Geographical Setting/ Time Period: 16th century Spain and the Americas (Chile)  

Main Character(s):
  • Doña Inés Suárez: An intelligent and passionate woman, as well as a fierce and unmerciful conquistadora, she is capable of both charity and murder.
  • Pedro de Valdivia: Inés’s lover and the first royal governor of Chile, who struggles with his sense of honor and his lust for glory.

Plot Summary: This memoir is a fictional account of the life of Inés Suárez, who was a conquistadora and a national heroine.  In rich detail, Allende portrays how Inés rose from a “widow of the Americas” in a small city in Spain to become an influential figure in the conquering of Chile and the founding and defending of Santiago.  Join Inés as she travels a vast expanse of ocean and battles numerous perils and challenges in search of freedom, power, and love.

Appeal: With rich historical detail, this novel unfolds leisurely, yet it features many exciting passages of the dangers the conquistadors and those they conquered faced.  Although it is from the perspective of a conquistadora, it is written with an understanding of the impact the conquistadors had on the inhabitants of the Americas.  The story is character-centered and the language features Spanish terms, yet it is not difficult to understand.  The novel tackles issues of feminism, class, race, and religion.

Brief quote: pg. 43
The line that divides reality from imagination is very thin, and at my age is no longer interesting, for now everything is subjective.  Memory is also colored by vanity. Even with Death sitting in a chair near my table, waiting, I still am influenced by vanity, not just when I rouge my cheeks if visitors are coming, but when I am writing my story. Is there anything more vain than an autobiography?

Prizes or Awards: This work won Booklist’s Editor’s Choice award as one of the Best Fiction Books of 2006.  Isabel Allende has received a number of awards, including the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize in 1998 and the Chilean National Prize for Literature in 2010.

Similar Works:
Julia Alvarez, In the Time of the Butterflies/En el Tiempo de las Mariposas, historical novel set in the last days of the Trujillo regime of the Dominican Republic, about the lives of Las Mariposas, three sisters who became revolutionaries and martyrs.

Rosario Ferré, The House on the Lagoon/La Casa de la Laguna, fictional novel about a woman writing an historical novel about her and her husband’s families in the history of Puerto Rico, which her husband then finds and writes his own interpretation of events, feminist and tackles issues of class and race.

Reviewer’s Name: Natalie Garner

Ines of My Soul: A Novel

Form adapted from Saricks, Joyce G. and Nancy Brown. Readers= Advisory Service in the Public Library 2nd.  Chicago: ALA, 1997.

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