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Friday, June 3, 2011

Review: Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende

Island Beneath the Sea: A Novel (P.S.)Publisher: Harper Perennial
ISBN: 0061988251
Pages: 480
Genre: Historical Fiction/Haiti
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Buy this Book:Amazon, Powell's, Indiebound

 Summary from publisher:
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.
My Review:
I have been having internet connection issues again. They can’t use the whole “heat” excuse today but still, I have no idea what’s going on.
I have read many Isabel Allende’s books recently. Daughter of Fortune still remains my favorite. I could read that one over and over again without betting at all bored. But this was was a completely different story. I was initially very interested in this one because I am very interested in Haiti and books about it. But, for some reason, I just couldn’t get into this one at all.
This one focused on the life of Zarite. I liked her and I was interested in her story quite a bit. I, however, did not understand some of the things she did and I really could not figure out why she did them. There were some inconsistencies in her character that I could not reconcile at all. I kept comparing her to Eliza and Aurora and she always fell way short.
I did not like this book for the same reason that I love many of the books I read. It focused too much on the relationship between Zarite and Toulouse. I did not want a romance novel but I feel that that is what I got. For a change, I actually wanted a book that focused more on the history. I also didn’t like that everything felt very black and white (literally), good vs bad. There were absolutely no grey areas and that is just not very realistic at all. I think it was way too polarizing. I, however, must commend Isabel Allende for her historical research. It was really well done and made the book feel very authentic. My rating goes up a star just because of it. And as always, Allende’s writing was spot on.
*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.


  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I love Allende and had been looking forward to reading this book. I still will (when I'm able to get a library copy), but I think I'll readjust my expectations a bit.

  2. @karen!

    Island Beneath the Sea is definitely worth a read if you love Allende. It was very good in the historical area.

  3. It's too bad you didn't love this one as much as some of her other books, but it's always good when you still enjoy the author's writing!

    Thanks for being on this tour!



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