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Of Love and Shadows
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1001 book reviews > Of Love and Shadows by Isabelle Allende

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Diane  | 2051 comments Rating: 4+ Stars

Another solid book by Allende. I have yet to read anything by her I haven't enjoyed. It is most likely set in her native Chile during dictatorial rule, even though she does not mention the country by name. The place names were consistent with real places in Chile. It is actually based upon a true historical event that occurred in Chile. As the title indicates, it is a story about love amidst the shadows. The shadows being oppressive government rule, death, loss, sadness, despair, injustice, imprisonment, violence, murder, suicide, etc. The love isn't just the romantic kind, either. It is also about love of family, friends, and fellow citizens. At the beginning of the novel, the main character, Irene, brought up in privilege, is naive to the political problems surrounding her. You might say she views the world through role-colored glasses. This changes as the novel progresses, as she uncovers the atrocities committed by her government.

Jessica Haider (jessicahaider) | 124 comments I rated this one 4 stars.

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 and unchecked. People regularly disappear. But through all of this, there is love. We see romantic love and also love for family and friends.

The two central characters are Irene and Francisco. Irene is a journalist and comes from a wealthy family. She works with Francisco, a photographer from a poor family. The two develop a deeper relationship as the book progresses. Irene is pretty fearless and seeks out stories even if they put her in danger. Irene and Francisco pursue a story about a teenage girl who villagers say can perform miracles. While investigating the story they uncover a crime.

There is also discussion of people of different social classes and how they experience these love and people keep quiet out of fear of what will happen. I see some similarities to other books I am reading this month about people from South & Central America.

Kristel (kristelh) | 4260 comments Mod
A story set in some country in America (probably a Latin American country). We are never told the name of the country but it is under the dictatorship of the military. It is political, love story and a family story. Irene is from upper class and is educated as a journalist. Francisco has lost his job as a psychologist because of his families Marxist leanings. He goes to work for Irene. Irene is slowly exposed to the reality of the military rule and as she learns the horrors, she loses he innocent joy of life that is so much of her beauty. This is a beautifully written and easy to read book.

Read in 2010.

Diane Zwang | 1309 comments Mod
Of Love and Shadows by Isabel Allende

My second Allende book and she does not disappoint. I love the themes of her books; historical fiction, magical realism, strong female characters, family relationships and politics. This book is set in a Latin American country under dictatorship. The two main characters are Francisco and Irene. Part one, Another Spring, I liked because it included much of the magical realism. Much of the conflict in the book surrounds the political unrest of the dictatorship. What I like about her characters are their authenticity and I always find myself rooting for them.

“People must live in a united world where all man's races, tongues, customs, and dreams are one. Nationalism is an insult to reason. It doesn't benefit people in any way. It merely serves as an excuse for committing the most outrageous abuses.”

Amanda Dawn | 1230 comments This was the first work by the author I had read and I really got invested in it! I gve it 4 stars.

Even though the country/regime are never directly mentioned, it seems fairly clear it is about Pinochet’s regime in Chile, something I admittedly only know a little about.

I liked the fundamental compassion and humanity are at the heart of this story, as well as how it explores a romance between someone from a radical family and a bourgeoisie family who slowly is drawn out from their family’s complacency and into action.

message 6: by Rosemary (last edited Jan 17, 2022 12:23PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rosemary | 185 comments A book of two halves. The first seemed to me to be all character and background, and I enjoyed that more, especially the contrast between the three main families: Irene's privileged background, the struggling intellectual Leals, and the Ranquileos' rural poverty. Then the second half was all plot, rather rushed, I thought.

3 stars

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