Island Beneath the Sea

Island Beneath the Sea

A Novel

Book - 2010
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"Allende is a master storyteller at the peak of her powers."

-- Los Angeles Times

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.

Born a slave on the island of Saint-Domingue, Zarité--known as Tété--is the daughter of an African mother she never knew and one of the white sailors who brought her into bondage. Tété surivves 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, Saint Lazare, 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 who becomes Valmorain's most inportant confindant.

A heartwrenching and powerful story story of an extraordinary woman who forges her identity and finds love and freedom under the cruelest of circumstances. Isabelle Allende has done it again.

Publisher: New York : Harper, c2010.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780061988240
0061988243
Characteristics: 457 p. ; 24 cm.
Additional Contributors: Peden, Margaret Sayers

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VaughanPLErin Feb 22, 2019

An engrossing and heart-wrenching family saga, told masterfully. Allende depicts the brutality of slavery without holding back, and she writes characters who are compelling and multi-faceted. This is an excellent book club read, as the characters, situations, and historical context all made for riveting discussion. This would also be a great read if you're looking to learn about the colonization and slavery that took place in Haiti and so many other island nations during the late 1700s and early 1800s, from the perspective of the oppressed.

h
hawaiikit
Jul 31, 2016

Allende is awesome, as usual, but this one just goes on and on.

M_ALCOTT Sep 29, 2015

I really appreciate a well written story or novel; especially when I'm a virgin to the writing of a particular author. And "Island Beneath the Sea" is my first Isabel Allende novel. The characters and the story are interesting. Allende knows how to weave the historical details with the fiction.

Aggie3 Sep 12, 2013

This is one of the books that grip you from the first chapter. This story is intriguing, mysterious, full of sorrow, pain, love, tragedy, triumph and happiness. Full of details and mesmerizing, this book awakens your soul. Isabel Allende is very talented.

s
stevie22
Aug 15, 2013

I loved this book! Moving between New Orleans and El Caribe, the author explores the history of the slave trade, slave loyalty and slave owner relationships. These types of books are fascinating looks into the character of people and relationships and a reminder that one can't have it all, all the time. Beautifully written.

JCLAshleyF Apr 12, 2013

The novel opens in Saint-Domingue (modern day Haiti) on the eve of revolution and portrays the life and experiences of a resilient woman, named Tete. The story spans four decades and explores her experiences as a slave in Saint-Domingue, Cuba, and New Orleans. I found this book to be a mix of engaging and meandering.

patienceandfortitude Nov 06, 2012

This is like Uncle Tom's Cabin for Haiti, which is a deep compliment. My first experience reading Allende and I really enjoyed it. At times she seemed just a tad too politically correct, but that is a minor complaint about a good read which really taught me a lot about the history of Haiti.

wick3dang3l175 Mar 27, 2012

Loved this book. Full of history, emotion and a vivid story line.

tracythelibrarian Nov 28, 2011

Allende breaks the rule of 'show don't tell' but this richly layered novel is still deeply engrossing.

d
dijolly
Nov 22, 2011

Isabel Allende does not let the reader down with this book. Another great saga novel. I grew to love Tete and couldn't put the book down as I wanted to find out what would come next for her, hoping all the time it would be love and happiness.

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M_ALCOTT Sep 29, 2015

“Not all Negroes are slaves, nor all slaves black. Africa is a continent of free people. Millions of Africans are subjected to slavery but many more are free. Slavery is not their destiny, just as is also the case with thousands of whites who are slaves.”-Dr. Parmentier, Island Beneath the Sea

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