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15 Best Isabel Allende Books

Isabel Allende Books: Isabel Angélica Allende Llona is a Chilean writer. Allende, whose works sometimes contain aspects of the genre magical realism, is known for novels such as The House of the Spirits and City of the Beasts, which have been commercially highly successful. Below we have compiled 15 of the best Isabel Allende books for your enjoyment.

Isabel Allende Books

A Long Petal of the Sea: A Novel Jan 21, 2020 by Isabel Allende , Nick Caistor

In the late 1930s, civil war grips Spain. When General Franco and his Fascists succeed in overthrowing the government, hundreds of thousands are forced to flee in a treacherous journey over the mountains to the French border. Among them is Roser, a pregnant young widow, who finds her life intertwined with that of Victor Dalmau, an army doctor and the brother of her deceased love. In order to survive, the two must unite in a marriage neither of them desires.

Together with two thousand other refugees, Roser and Victor embark for Chile on the SS Winnipeg, a ship chartered by the poet Pablo Neruda: “the long petal of sea and wine and snow.” As unlikely partners, the couple embraces exile as the rest of Europe erupts in world war. Starting over on a new continent, they face trial after trial, but they will also find joy as they patiently await the day when they might go home. Through it all, their hope of returning to Spain keeps them going. Destined to witness the battle between freedom and repression as it plays out across the world, Roser and Victor will find that home might have been closer than they thought all along.

Portrait in Sepia Jun 30, 2020 by Isabel Allende

Completing the trilogy that includes her bestselling novels Daughter of Fortune and The House of the Spirits, Portrait in Sepia is a stunning novel about memory and family secrets

Set at the end of the nineteenth century, Portrait in Sepia is a richly imagined historical novel featuring the colorful and intrepid del Valle family.

The protagonist, Aurora del Valle, suffers a brutal trauma that shapes her character and erases from her mind all recollections of the first five years of her life. Raised by her ambitious grandmother, the regal and commanding Paulina del Valle, she grows up in a privileged environment, free of the limitations that circumscribe the lives of women at that time, but tormented by horrible nightmares. When she is forced to recognize her betrayal by the man she loves, and to cope with the resulting solitude, she decides to explore the mystery of her past.

The House of the Spirits: A Novel Oct 27, 2015 by Isabel Allende

The House of the Spirits, the unforgettable first novel that established Isabel Allende as one of the world’s most gifted storytellers, brings to life the triumphs and tragedies of three generations of the Trueba family. The patriarch Esteban is a volatile, proud man whose voracious pursuit of political power is tempered only by his love for his delicate wife Clara, a woman with a mystical connection to the spirit world. When their daughter Blanca embarks on a forbidden love affair in defiance of her implacable father, the result is an unexpected gift to Esteban: his adored granddaughter Alba, a beautiful and strong-willed child who will lead her family and her country into a revolutionary future.

One of the most important novels of the twentieth century, The House of the Spirits is an enthralling epic that spans decades and lives, weaving the personal and the political into a universal story of love, magic, and fate.

The Japanese Lover: A Novel Nov 3, 2015 by Isabel Allende

In 1939, as Poland falls under the shadow of the Nazis, young Alma Belasco’s parents send her away to live in safety with an aunt and uncle in their opulent mansion in San Francisco. There, as the rest of the world goes to war, she encounters Ichimei Fukuda, the quiet and gentle son of the family’s Japanese gardener. Unnoticed by those around them, a tender love affair begins to blossom. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the two are cruelly pulled apart as Ichimei and his family—like thousands of other Japanese Americans—are declared enemies and forcibly relocated to internment camps run by the United States government. Throughout their lifetimes, Alma and Ichimei reunite again and again, but theirs is a love that they are forever forced to hide from the world.

Decades later, Alma is nearing the end of her long and eventful life. Irina Bazili, a care worker struggling to come to terms with her own troubled past, meets the elderly woman and her grandson, Seth, at San Francisco’s charmingly eccentric Lark House nursing home. As Irina and Seth forge a friendship, they become intrigued by a series of mysterious gifts and letters sent to Alma, eventually learning about Ichimei and this extraordinary secret passion that has endured for nearly seventy years.

In the Midst of Winter: A Novel Oct 31, 2017 by Isabel Allende

During the biggest Brooklyn snowstorm in living memory, Richard Bowmaster, a lonely university professor in his sixties, hits the car of Evelyn Ortega, a young undocumented immigrant from Guatemala, and what at first seems an inconvenience takes a more serious turn when Evelyn comes to his house, seeking help. At a loss, the professor asks his tenant, Lucia Maraz, a fellow academic from Chile, for her advice.

As these three lives intertwine, each will discover truths about how they have been shaped by the tragedies they witnessed, and Richard and Lucia will find unexpected, long overdue love. Allende returns here to themes that have propelled some of her finest work: political injustice, the art of survival, and the essential nature of—and our need for—love.

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Daughter of Fortune: A Novel Apr 15, 2014 by Isabel Allende

Orphaned at birth, Eliza Sommers is raised in the British colony of Valparaíso, Chile, by the well-intentioned Victorian spinster Miss Rose and her more rigid brother Jeremy. Just as she meets and falls in love with the wildly inappropriate Joaquín Andieta, a lowly clerk who works for Jeremy, gold is discovered in the hills of northern California. By 1849, Chileans of every stripe have fallen prey to feverish dreams of wealth. Joaquín takes off for San Francisco to seek his fortune, and Eliza, pregnant with his child, decides to follow him.

As Eliza embarks on her perilous journey north in the hold of a ship and arrives in the rough-and-tumble world of San Francisco, she must navigate a society dominated by greedy men. But Eliza soon catches on with the help of her natural spirit and a good friend, the Chinese doctor Tao Chi’en. What began as a search for love ends up as the conquest of personal freedom.

Eva Luna: A Novel Oct 27, 2015 by Isabel Allende

Eva Luna is the daughter of a professor’s assistant and a snake-bitten gardener—born poor, orphaned at an early age, and working as a servant. Eva is a naturally gifted and imaginative storyteller who meets people from all stations and walks of life. Though she has no wealth, she trades her stories like currency with people who are kind to her. In this novel, she shares the story of her own life and introduces readers to a diverse and eccentric cast of characters including the Lebanese émigré who befriends her and takes her in; her unfortunate godmother, whose brain is addled by rum and who believes in all the Catholic saints and a few of her own invention; a street urchin who grows into a petty criminal and, later, a leader in the guerrilla struggle; a celebrated transsexual entertainer who instructs her in the ways of the adult world; and a young refugee whose flight from postwar Europe will prove crucial to Eva’s fate.

As Eva tells her story, Isabel Allende conjures up a whole complex South American nation—the rich, the poor, the simple, and the sophisticated—in a novel replete with character and incident, with drama and comedy and history, with battles and passions, rebellions and reunions, a novel that celebrates the power of imagination to create a better world.

City of the Beasts Apr 1, 2014 by Isabel Allende

When Alexander Cold’s mother falls ill, the fifteen-year-old is sent to stay with his eccentric grandmother in New York. A tough and prickly magazine reporter, Kate Cold takes Alex along with her on an expedition to the Amazon to verify the existence of the fierce, gigantic, legendary creature known as the Beast. Joining them on their adventure are a celebrated anthropologist; a local guide and his daughter, Nadia; a doctor; and a local entrepreneur. But not everyone’s intentions are pure—and dangerous discoveries await Alex and Nadia as they embark, with the aid of a jungle shaman, on an epic journey into the realm of the mythical Beasts of the Amazon.

Of Love and Shadows: A Novel Oct 27, 2015 by Isabel Allende

Irene Beltrán is a force to be reckoned with. As a magazine journalist, an unusual profession for a woman with her privileged upbringing, she is constantly challenging the oppressive regime. Her investigative partner is photographer Francisco Leal, the son of impoverished Spanish Marxist émigrés. Together, they are an inseparable team and—despite Irene’s engagement to an army captain—form a passionate connection. When an assignment leads them to uncover an unspeakable crime, they are determined to reveal the truth in a nation overrun by terror and violence. Together, they will risk everything for justice—and, ultimately, to embrace the passion that binds them.

Island Beneath the Sea: A Novel Apr 10, 2010 by Isabel Allende

From the sugar plantations of Saint-Domingue to the lavish parlors of New Orleans at the turn of the 19th century, the latest novel from New York Times bestselling author Isabel Allende (Inés of My Soul, The House of the Spirits, Portrait in Sepia) tells the story of a mulatta woman, a slave and concubine, determined to take control of her own destiny.

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Ripper: A Novel Jan 5, 2021 by Isabel Allende

Indiana Jackson is 33 years old and works in an alternative medicine clinic in San Francisco that attracts all sorts of characters, some of them skeptics, who fall for her candor and humility. Her teenage daughter, Amanda likes noir literature and hopes to attend MIT, where she will be with Bradley, an old friend that she plans to marry, with or without his consent. In her free time, she plays Ripper, an online role playing game that involves solving real-life mysteries and crimes using information collected by Amanda’s father, the Chief Inspector of the San Francisco police. Amanda plays the game via Skype with adolescents from all over the world and with her best friend, her grandfather Blake. Each player in the game has a virtual personality: Amanda is the game master, and Blake is her henchman; the others are Sherlock Holmes, Colonel Paddington, Esmeralda, and the psychic Abatha.

When Ripper’s latest murder mystery-”the case of the misplaced bat”-begins to touch their real-world lives, Amanda and her friends know they must solve the case and find the murderer before he can strike again.

The Stories of Eva Luna Oct 27, 2015 by Isabel Allende

Eva Luna is a young woman whose powers as a storyteller bring her friendship and love. Lying in bed with her European lover, refugee and journalist Rolf Carlé, Eva answers his request for a story “you have never told anyone before” with these twenty-three samples of her vibrant artistry. Interweaving the real and the magical, she explores love, vengeance, compassion, and the strengths of women, creating a world that is at once poignantly familiar and intriguingly new.

Rendered in her sumptuously imagined, uniquely magical style, The Stories of Eva Luna is the cornerstone of Allende’s work. This treasure trove of brilliantly crafted stories is a superb example of a writer working at the height of her powers

Forest of the Pygmies Apr 1, 2014 by Isabel Allende

Once again Alexander Cold and his indomitable journalist grandmother, Kate, are braving the mystical unknown, this time in the heart of Africa. Along with Alex’s friend Nadia Santos and a photographic crew from International Geographic magazine, they have travelled to Kenya to work on an article about the continent’s first elephant-led safaris. But when a missionary approaches their camp in search of companions who have mysteriously disappeared, Alex, Nadia, and their group find themselves embarking on a dangerous mission to Africa’s equatorial forest to aid a clan of Pygmies. For the Cold expedition is the tribe’s last hope for survival in a world where poaching, corruption, and slavery run rampant.

Maya's Notebook: A Novel (P.S.) Apr 23, 2013 by Isabel Allende

This contemporary coming-of-age story centers upon Maya Vidal, a remarkable teenager abandoned by her parents. Maya grew up in a rambling old house in Berkeley with her grandmother Nini, whose formidable strength helped her build a new life after emigrating from Chile in 1973 with a young son, and her grandfather Popo, a gentle African-American astronomer.
 
When Popo dies, Maya goes off the rails. Along with a circle of girlfriends known as “the vampires,” she turns to drugs, alcohol, and petty crime–a downward spiral that eventually leads to Las Vegas and a dangerous underworld, with Maya caught between warring forces: a gang of assassins, the police, the FBI, and Interpol.
 
Her one chance for survival is Nini, who helps her escape to a remote island off the coast of Chile. In the care of her grandmother’s old friend, Manuel Arias, and surrounded by strange new acquaintances, Maya begins to record her story in her notebook, as she tries to make sense of her past and unravel the mysteries of her family and her own life

My Invented Country: A Nostalgic Journey Through Chile Sep 29, 2020 by Isabel Allende

In My Invented Country Isabel Allende evokes the magnificent landscapes of her country, a charming, idiosyncratic Chilean people with a violent history and indomitable spirit, and the politics, religion, myth and magic of her homeland that she carries with her even today.

The book circles around two life-changing moments. The assassination of her uncle, Salvador Allende Gossens, on September 11, 1973, sent her into exile and transformed her into a literary writer. And the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, on her adopted homeland, the United States, brought forth from Allende an overdue acknowledgment that she had indeed left home. My Invented Country, whose structure mimics the workings of memory itself, ranges back and forth across that distance accrued between the author’s past and present lives. It speaks compellingly to immigrants, and to all of us, who try to retain a coherent inner life in a world full of contradictions.

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