Isabel Allende’s latest, Island Beneath the Sea — set mainly in 18th-century Saint-Domingue, the Caribbean colony stained by colonial oppression — features an extensive cast of characters, ranging from plantation nobility to their abused chattels? to the sexual demimonde of the cities. The era comes vibrantly alive through the indelible voice of Zarité, a slave who escapes the bloody Haitian Revolution with her master and later manages to win freedom in New Orleans. While the colorful period details Allende heaps on sometimes feel more perfunctory and less lived-through than those in her Chile-set novels, she’s largely successful in removing the gunk clogging the veins of history and pumping in fresh blood. B+
Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende
Genre: Fiction; Author: Isabel Allende; Status: In Season; Publisher: HarperEntertainment
Posted April 28 2010 — 12:00 AM EDT
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