Reading

Ines of My Soul by Isabel Allende

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Inés of My SoulInés of My Soul by Isabel Allende
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Historical fiction

Ines de Suarez was born in Spain where she married a charming man who abandoned her to make his fortune in the new world. Realizing that there was no future for her as a poor abandoned woman in her village, she traveled to Venezuela. She used the excuse of being a devoted wife looking for her husband but, in truth, she didn’t care if she ever found him. She worked as a seamstress and a cook. Eventually she met Pedro de Valdivia and became his mistress. When he decided to try to colonize Chile, she went with him.

One of my goals for the Travel the World in Books read-a-thon was to read a book about a place that I hadn’t read about before. I’m weak in South America so I googled historical fiction in South America and found this book. I didn’t know anything about the founding of Chile. Any books about this time and place can be hard to read because the Spanish were just so horrible. This book doesn’t gloss over the horrific treatment of the Indians. It talks openly about how the Spanish were famous for lying when making promises.

I found Ines fascinating. She did what needed to be done but what isn’t always considered important by history. She and her native servant talked to locals in each area they passed to learn about healing plants that grew nearby. They did the doctoring during battles. She had the ability to douse so they could find water. She is known for founding institutions. She started hospitals and other services that you need to make a city from scratch.

4 Comments

  • Aarti

    I have only read one Allende novel before, The House of the Spirits, and I really enjoyed it. I like the big, sweeping family epics 🙂

    As to Liviana’s comment above – it’s a little tricky in Latin America particularly. I don’t really want to go down the rabbit hole of deciding how white or not someone is, so I generally think that all Latin American authors qualify. Most people there are mixed race.

  • Satia

    I remember hearing Anne Lamott say she can always tell when a new Allende novel is released because the stories the students turn in have an imitative tone. I’ve been meaning to read another of her novels someday. I think this one would be a great fit.

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