Title: Island Beneath the Sea
Author: Isabel Allende
Publisher: Harper Perennial, Reprint Edition
Publication Date: April 26, 2011
Paperback: 480 pages
Born a slave on the island of Saint-Domingue—the daughter of an African mother she never knew and a white sailor who brought her into bondage—Zarité, known as Tété, survives a childhood of brutality and fear, finding solace in the traditional rhythms of African drums and in her exhilarating initiation into the mysteries of voodoo.
When twenty-year-old Toulouse Valmorain arrives on the island in 1770, he discovers that running his father’s plantation is neither glamorous nor easy. Marriage also proves problematic when, eight years later, he brings home a bride. But it is his teenaged slave, Tété, upon whom Valmorain becomes most dependent, as their lives intertwine across four tumultuous decades.
In Island Beneath the Sea, internationally acclaimed author Isabel Allende spins the unforgettable saga of an extraordinary woman determined to find love amid loss and forge her own identity under the cruelest of circumstances.
Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende is a powerfully written book of historical fiction about the 18th Century lives of the two main characters on the island of Saint Domingue, or what is now Haiti. Tété is a slave, born of her African mother and white father who had enslaved her mother while Toulouse Valmorain is a 20-year-old arriving on the island to take charge of his father’s plantation. Each of these characters, in their own way, are searching for a greater purpose or meaning to their lives, and Allende, by writing of their struggles and triumphs amidst the backdrop of life in 18th and early 19th Century Saint Domingue, gives yet another example of why her writing is so celebrated. With genuine character development, Allende masterfully builds the story around how two so different individuals meet, their relationship that develops over several decade’s time and ultimately, readers see through Allende’s writing how love overcomes some of the most powerfully demeaning acts of cruelty amidst the enslavement of our fellow man. Written on a time period long in the past, emotions brought out by Allende are timeless, making this book an excellent choice for discussion groups looking for a powerful work of historical fiction. I would not hesitate to recommend Island Beneath the Sea to all readers.
Born in Peru and raised in Chile, Isabel Allende is the author of many bestselling novels, including, most recently, Ines of My Soul, Zorro, Portrait in Sepia, and Daughter of Fortune. She has also written a collection of stories; three memoirs, The Sum of Our Days, My Invented Country, and Paula; and a trilogy of young adult novels. Her books have been translated into more than 27 languages and have become bestsellers across four continents. In 2004 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Allende lives in California.
Further information about author Isabel Allende may be found on her website.
For more reviews of the book, please follow the book tour.
I received an copy of Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende from TLC Book Tours to be a part of this tour and offer my honest review of the book. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned book.