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Of Love and Shadows

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  24,411 ratings  ·  881 reviews
Beautiful and headstrong, Irene Beltrán works as a magazine journalist—a profession that belies her privileged upbringing and her engagement to an army captain. Her investigative partner is photographer Francisco Leal, the son of impoverished Spanish Marxist émigrés. Together, they form an unlikely but inseparable team—and Francisco quickly falls in love with the fierce an ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 30th 2005 by Dial Press Trade Paperback (first published 1984)
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Anne No, you really don't need to know anything about the country. Allende never names the country, but we can assume it is her native Chile, since her hus…moreNo, you really don't need to know anything about the country. Allende never names the country, but we can assume it is her native Chile, since her husband was the president of Chile and was murdered in a military coup. The events in the book are what happens to the characters. There's nothing implied.(less)

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Average rating 3.97  · 
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 ·  24,411 ratings  ·  881 reviews

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Nov 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: translated
What to say about this. I began it yesterday evening, I finished it this afternoon. It is wonderful. Some beautuful descriptive phrases, tiny images which capture something powerful. Gatherings of water in cobbles being likened to shards of glass, the mouth of a cave in which lie horrors as of yet undiscovered likened to a groaning mouth. Simple, obvious phrases but all the more powerful for that. Everytime I read a translated novel, and sadly owing to my 'non-ployglotness' this is inevitable, i ...more
I carry our nation wherever I go, and the oh-so-far-away essences of my elongated homeland live within me. - Pablo Neruda

Earlier this year I rediscovered the magic of Isabel Allende when I savored every page of her new book Long Petal of the Sea. A return to her roots, the book with the sparkling blue cover paid homage to her homeland, an element that had been missing from most of her recent books, that she has written while living in California. Currently, one of my book clubs is reading this n
Nov 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
my most favourite isabel allende novel; i would learn another language just for the pleasure of reading her in her native tongue. if the translation is so beautiful i can only imagine how heartbreaking it must be in spanish.

i have to explain that i review the books i have read not on their objective merit but on the ways in which they speak to me. of love and shadows weaves a love story into the middle of a frightening political situation that is disturbingly real precisely because it has been
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is Isabel Allende's second novel. Her first, The House of Spirits, is deeply immerse in the Magic Realism style of the masters of the genre. This one, also Magic Realism, has a more urban tone, setting a style that would become prevalent later, when English-speaking writers took over the genre.

The book at its core is a love story, one plagued by shadows. The shadows of the totalitarian military regimen imposed in Chile by Augusto Pinochet.

Many fans of Allende's first book, find this one lac
Dec 29, 2008 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I'm gonna explore what I've never done before--all the works of a single author. Can't think of another writer I'd rather journey with.
Jul 31, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people searching for a fast read, up for smth light
Shelves: old-holidays
Nothing I wasn't expecting.
I must confess, though, it annoyed me the similarity to The House of Spirits. Isabel Allende's style is predictible, she tries to 'hook' you, to pull you in the story. I don't know about others, but she just couldn't do it with me. :) I was permanently noticing her style, habit of describing everything to the little detail [annoying and useless, if you ask me], reducing to characters to one, two presentations that say no-thing!-it just puts them in category-bleah!; th
Jul 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a re-read. I read it several years ago, my pre-goodreads days and shortly after reading my favorite Allende book, “The House of Spirits”. I love most of her books and this was one was no exception. She truly is a superb storyteller. When I first read it, I know that I would have given it 5 stars, but since this was a re-read, I didn’t think it was as compelling as before.

One of my favorite quotes was advice for expatriates (and pretty much anyone really):
“All you will have is the presen
Ivana Books Are Magic
Sep 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
As the title suggests, this is a book about love. Not just romantic love, but love in all its shapes and forms, love between family members, parents and children, friends and strangers. Even people who are strangers to each other, during the course of this novel prove their capability for love by acts of great personal courage. That kind of personal initiative is always very touching to read about and this novel handled that nicely. Human beings coming together to help one another, often at gre ...more
Mar 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-books
Wonderfully written novel. The language is so lyrical that you enjoy it like a ballad. It's so real and touching that you see triumph, ecstasy, defeat and despair of those people in a land under a despotic regime and political hypocrisy. The book indeed draws a colorful picture so vivid and natural that it makes you think from a different perspective. 'Development' can not be at the cost of natural justice to people of the land, oppression and suppressed torments breeds violence in the long run. ...more
Jan 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of those books that cannot be set aside to catch up on sleep.
Allende's warm personality, her wisdom and experiences keeps
the reader mesmerized.
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-books
If novelists are to deserve a voice, priority should surely be given to novelists who tell stories of the forcibly silenced.

While I get the fact that The Disappeared is a tragedy of epic proportions, and the world needed to sit up and notice when it was endemic in South America, to choose the medium of a shmaltzy, 1980s, Lady-Diana-hairstyle romance to portray it is just the wrong thing to do. It’s not equally tragic, but it’s somewhere on the scale.

Allende could write. For sure. I’m just no
Abbie | ab_reads
Of Love and Shadows, translated by Margaret Sayers Peden is another story in the classic Isabel Allende formula: historical fiction with a strong focus on a budding romance. It's set in an unnamed country in Latin America, under a military dictatorship - likely Chile under Pinochet, but it's not explicitly stated. It follows Irene Beltrán, a young journalist who was raised in a wealthy family and shielded from the horrors of the oppression surrounding her, who undergoes an awakening to the reali ...more
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
I have yet to read an Allende book that I don’t like. This one is short, but there’s a lot packed into those pages, and I had a wonderful time with it.

This is a book about life under a military dictatorship in an unnamed country that can only be Chile. Irene, a reporter, and Francisco, a psychologist-turned-photographer, are forced to confront the ugliest side of the regime when a teenage girl disappears immediately after an interview.

As is to be expected from an Allende book, the plot meanders
Mar 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book had a plot that absolutely fascinated me. Usually I am drawn into a book through characters, but in this case, I was attracted to the story itself. The characters are interesting and the author lends just enough history at appropriate intervals to give the reader an understanding of what makes each character "tick". Each character has their own "story" and it was fulfilling to learn about each of them.

On one level, this is a love story and in some sense, a bit of a forbidden love story
Jan 30, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The cover of this particular edition is splendid in its awfulness. Overall I just didn't care for this book. Allende does too much narrating about what people are like and what they're feeling instead of just letting them develop. I liked the political stuff, didn't really care for the love story. I found it pretty average.

As a side note, what does she have against the elderly?! There's quite a few borderline ageist quotes in this book. Here have one: "During the months since he had met Irene, F
Kathleen Wells
Feb 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I pretty much love everything Isabel Allende writes!! This book is about the awakening of a young, privileged woman to the hardships of the poorer classes in the country in which she lives - an unnamed Latin American country that bears an amazing resemblance to Allende's native Chile. There's a revolution in most of Allende's books, and a love story, too. Probably La Casa de Los Espiritus will always be my favorite, but I really loved this book, too.
Aug 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
I have read many of Allende's novels and I have enjoyed them all. This one was no different. It was an intriguing story and kept me interested until the very end. I found it to be a powerful and moving story of love in the midst of violence and fear. It shows us what life under military dictatorship in Latin American was like. It is also a mixture between mystery and romance. I would recommend this book to those interested in contemporary Latin American literature.
Jul 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is another book club book, so I will have more to say later.

First off, the writing is gorgeous, and the credit for this goes both to Isabel Allende and Margaret Sayers Peden, the translator. The descriptions are vivid. I have a habit of highlighting passages in books that I find particularly beautiful or poignant, and I've highlighted dozens in this book. I also love the stream-of-consciousness way that the narration flows into and out of different characters' voices.

I liked the touches of
Feb 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Allende's second novel is, in my opinion, an easier read than her first. Of Love and Shadows is the story of a female journalist, in an unnamed South American country (presumably Chile, but Allende stated that the anonymity of the country was intentional) who works for a women's magazine. After employing a new photographer, the pair attempt to report on a young girl who is said to have magical capabilities when she falls into her daily seizure. This girls magic has become something of a local ph ...more
Jessica Haider
I read a few of Allende's novels around a decade ago and really enjoyed them. I've had my eye on this one for years and I am glad that I finally got to read it. It has that same style and feel as the other Allende books that I liked so much.

This book is set in an unnamed country but it could easily be set in Chile, Allende's home country. It is a time of turmoil and shadows. The government is run by a dictator. There is a lot of corruption in the government and the police. Criminals run rampant
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Damn, what a writer. The way she so effortlessly sweeps back and forth through time and voluminous detail is enthralling. This is a dark book, dealing with Latin American dictatorships and resistance and violent reprisals (resonating with current events)--and yet she maintains a buoyancy in her robust depictions of seasons, place, and people both good and evil.
Apr 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book has really stuck with me since I read it in the late 1980's
It's interesting because it's a historical tale that is still very much relevant today.
The United States involvement in the military Coup that overthrew the then popular president Allende (This writer's Grandfather, I think...) is rightly seen as an event that is little known or understood by people in the US. If this event were better known or understood, it is felt, it would influence politics in the U.S. in a deep and decisi
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Apr 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. You must know that Isabel Allende is one of my very favorite writers. She is so good at creating worlds that you can easily imagine finding yourself in and really memorable characters. I am trying to read her entire catalogue including re-reading some of the books that I have already read. "Of Love and Shadows" is one book of her's that I had not read yet.

This book takes place in an unnamed Latin American country during the 1970s where unspeakable things are happening. My guess (and
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
First: the cover of my copy of this book is amazing.

And Next: this is a great book. It's not loud, or extreme, or astounding in any one way. Instead, Of Love and Shadows is quietly horrific, gently sorrowful, and achingly perceptive. It prompts thought.

Love is a complicated thing, and in this book Allende shows us all sorts of love - yes, romantic love, but also filial love, parental love, platonic love, incestuous love, rejected love.

Sometimes love yields something of beauty that can withstan
Rosa Canina
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you just want fluffy romance story, don't read this.

Contrary what title, and horrendous covers of the edition I've read may suggest, this is not some love story.
Horrible covers that made me feel ashamed while I was reading it in bus full of people from my institute:

This is story about oppressive dictatorship, censure, about fighting for freedom and truth. About courage to act upon your beliefs, and about people who will turn their head from stuff that don't suit their perfect world. About
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
Overall: 4.75/5 stars. Allende's lyrical prose captivates once again.

- Beautiful, beautiful prose. Gorgeous writing, I've always adored reading Allende's work for this reason.
- Wonderfully atmospheric; having just visited Chile half a year ago, this brought back flavors of the region and cordillera in full blast to me.
- Tackled some darker topics with visceral, evocative language to emphasise that fact.
- Fleshed-out characters and an intriguing plot that, once having drawn the rea
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
It took me a while to finish the book of Isabel Allende's Of Love and  Shadows. It's not because the book is not good, it is but I got distracted again by Wordscapes. besides I kept comparing it to the martial law days back in the 70s - the unrest, the dissatisfaction with the government, human rights abuses, the rebellion,  threats, extra-judicial killings, tortures and incarceration of those suspected people against the Marcos rule.
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: translation, reviewed
I had hoped to find "House of Spirits" among the library stacks, but no, just an empty slot with this book, 'Of Love and Shadow' right beside it so I thought I would give it a try. I very much enjoyed the opening half of this book as there were some truly fascinating characters. It was pleasant reading: what would bring all these characters together? Where is the author headed? Then the book veered into very dark political issues and there is a particularly gruesome rape/murder scene that seemed ...more
Sharadha Jayaraman
3-star Review:
Of Love and Shadows by Isabel Allende

When Irene and Francisco, two bourgeois Spanish South-Americans working as magazine reporter-photographer pair, are called to investigate the strange events of an orthodox South-American household, they encounter a national secret of such grave magnitude that exposing it can not only jeopardise their own lives but also of the ones they hold dear. In a war-torn South America, will they both be able to avenge those afflicted by this military secre
Jan 13, 2017 rated it did not like it
It is always a shock when you read an awful book by an author you previously adored. I loved The House of the Spirits and Eva Luna in high school. Now I'm wondering if my teenaged critical abilities were unsound or if Of Love and Shadows is a departure from form.

In theory, it may be possible to write about how a hero and a heroine are compelled to make love immediately after uncovering a mass grave, but Of Love and Shadows does not pull it off well. (Is it even theoretically possible? Does love
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Isabel Allende Llona is a Chilean-American novelist. Allende, who writes in the "magic realism" tradition, is considered one of the first successful women novelists in Latin America. She has written novels based in part on her own experiences, often focusing on the experiences of women, weaving myth and realism together. She has lectured and done extensive book tours and has taught literature at s ...more

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