I had never read anything by Isabele Allende before but I certainly will after reading this. I loved this book and found it really hard to put down as I just wanted to know what happened next.
The book tells the story of Violeta who was born in the middle of the Spanish Flu epidemic in 1920 and dies in 2020 in the middle of the Covid Pandemic. She is born and lives in Chile but during her life travels around South America as well parts of the USA such as Miami. She is born into a fairly wealthy family but her father’s businesses all collapse during the depression and her family has to leave their home and begin a totally new life almost penniless in a remote part of the country.
The story of Violeta’s life is told by herself in a letter that she writes to someone she loves dearly. Her life story itself isn’t especially earth shattering but she is witness to the major events of the twentieth century and we see how they impacted upon the lives of the people who lived through those events. From the fall into poverty during the Wall Street Crash and her life in the far south of the Country to her life in Miami, the reader is transported into a completely different world. We live through the political upheavals in Chile as well as the impact of the second world war on their community.
The book spans several locations and all of these are described vividly giving the reader a brilliant picture. As well as amazing locations, the characters in Violeta’s life are just so memorable. The small details described by Violeta really bring them to life. I especially loved her maiden aunt who may or may not have fallen in love with the local farmer.
One of the loveliest aspects of the novel for me was the loyalty and love shown by so many of the characters for each other and their country. In the book, there are some beautiful examples of people loving others despite everything which has a really uplifting message.
The historical sweep of the novel is impressive but it is the small personal details and emotions that stayed with me.
I received an advance copy of this book from Net Galley and the publisher, Bloomsbury Publishing. This book will be published on 25th January.