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Ines of My Soul: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, November 7, 2006

4 out of 5 stars 168 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Only months after the inauguration of Chile's first female president, Allende recounts in her usual sweeping style the grand tale of Doña Inés Suárez (1507– 1580), arguably the country's founding mother. Writing in the year of her death, Inés tells of her modest girlhood in Spain and traveling to the New World as a young wife to find her missing husband, Juan. Upon learning of Juan's humiliating death in battle, Inés determines to stay in the fledgling colony of Peru, where she falls fervently in love with Don Pedro de Valdivia, loyal field marshal of Francisco Pizarro. The two lovers aim to found a new society based on Christian and egalitarian principles that Valdivia later finds hard to reconcile with his personal desire for glory. Inés proves herself not only a capable helpmate and a worthy cofounder of a nation, but also a ferocious fighter who both captivates and frightens her fellow settlers. Inés narrates with a clear eye and a sensitivity to native peoples that rarely lapses into anachronistic political correctness. Basing the tale on documented events of her heroine's life, Allende crafts a swift, thrilling epic, packed with fierce battles and passionate romance. (Nov.)
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From Bookmarks Magazine

If Inés of My Soul isn't among Isabel Allende's best novels, it still tells a remarkable, ambitious, and heretofore untold story about one of the first female conquistadors of the New World. Allende finds so many surreal subplots in Inés's own story that the author's imagination, rather than magical realism, prevails in her attempt to recreate the 16th-century Americas. All aspects of the story entertain and educate. At the same time, the detractors have some complaints: Allende embarks on too many historical detours; she romanticizes the Spanish conquistadors; she takes a one-sided view of the native Chileans; and, in an attempt to appeal to fans of different genres, she creates a lightweight story from a very serious topic.

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; First Edition edition (November 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061161535
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061161537
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (168 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #855,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Born in Peru and raised in Chile, Isabel Allende is the author of eight novels, including, most recently, Zorro, Portrait in Sepia, and Daughter of Fortune. She has also written a collection of stories; three memoirs, including My Invented Country and Paula; and a trilogy of children's novels. Her books have been translated into more than twenty-seven languages and have become bestsellers across four continents. In 2004 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Isabel Allende lives in California.

My thoughts on Kindle en Español:

"El impacto de los libros electrónicos es formidable y está remeciendo a la industria del libro tanto como a los lectores. Aunque todavía la idea es relativamente nueva en español, ya se ha extendido en otras lenguas tan dramáticamente, que muchos autores nuevos publican en versión digital, saltándose a las editoriales. Confieso que soy adicta a mis Kindle y mi IPad, donde leo con letra grande y clara, en una pantalla liviana. Antes viajaba con una maleta de libros, ahora llevo mi biblioteca en la cartera y puedo adquirir nuevos libros en cualquier parte del mundo en pocos segundos. Dicen que los jóvenes le tienen miedo al papel y no tienen el hábito de leer - lo cual no es totalmente cierto - pero ahora pueden leer en sus pantallas. También dicen que la ficción desaparecerá, pero eso jamás ocurrirá, porque la humanidad necesita historias tanto como necesita oxígeno. Tal vez en el futuro el libro, ese compañero maravilloso, será un objeto de coleccionistas y de bibliotecas y nosotros, simples mortales, leeremos en pantallas. Pero seguiremos leyendo, de eso no tengo dudas." Isabel Allende

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Based almost entirely on the life of Ines Suarez who lived from 1507 to 1580, Ines of My Soul by Isabel Allende is a lyrically written story of passion, ruthless exploration, rugged courage and love in the 16th century. Allende is one of the few authors that are wonderfully decriptive writers who have the ability to write beautiful and flowing prose and make the reader feel as if they're witnessing and experiencing a scene rather than just reading about it.

Poor and nearly destitute, Ines has a rough life in Spain. Alone because her husband has left to make his fortune in the new world she eventually sets out to search for him. When she arrives Ines learns he has been killed. Determined to make a new life for herself Ines decides to remain in the new colony. She eventually falls under the spell of Don Pedro de Valdivia, field marshal of Francisco Pizarro. Together they undertake the founding of the country of Chile.

Richly textured with wonderfully developed historical characters, Allende has written another masterpiece. For those who have their appetites wetted for further reading on this period of history, Allende includes a helpful bibliography that she freely admits is incomplete. I wonder though how many of these titles will be available in English. I also suspect that many of them are rare and may be difficult to locate.

You'll want to read Ines of My Soul slowly because there isn't much out there of its equal. Savor it.
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Format: Hardcover
In Inés of My Soul, Isabel Allende has written her finest novel, and I read it in one sitting, so impressed by it and so drawn into it was I. The lushness of her prose and her descriptive abilities have never been used in quite this way, and as Allende describes the virginal South American wilds, I was left in amazement at her accomplishment. I have always admired Allende as a writer, but I have been frustrated in the past at what I have seen as her unnecessary and detracting forays into the supernatural, which has intruded (as in House of the Spirits) into an otherwise rational plot. Nothing precisely like that comes to pass in this book, and insofar as it does, it seems less an affront in its setting here than it had at other times, and that also impressed me.

Inés of My Soul tells the story of a real life sixteenth-century figure, the bold and enterprising survivor, Doña Inés Suárez, who, along with her lover, the dashing Don Pedro de Valdivia, founds the great city of Santiago, Chile. Writing a remembrance from the vantage point of extreme old age (seventy years and near death) Doña Inés tells of growing up in Spain, then of course the world's most powerful and wealthy nation, and also describes to the reader her eventual voyage to Peru, in search of her husband, Juan, who had traveled to the New World before his wife, as one of Pizarro's conquistadors. Upon learning that her husband has died in battle (and finding that the man was not all she had once thought him to be) Doña Inés, left there in Peru with initially limited options, eventually is swept away by a dashing warrior and lover named Don Pedro de Valdivia.
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Format: Hardcover
Although Allende deserves credit for resisting any impulse to impose modern sensibilities on her sixteenth-century protagonist, she doesn't succeed in creating in Ines a character I could understand or relate to. I realize Ines was a creature of her times, but many human feelings are universal across eras and cultures, and I needed help from the author to connect with Ines' dogged love for Juan (which seemed somewhat shallow), her religiosity, and her tolerance of -- and even participation in -- extreme cruelty and violence. The first-person narrative gives us the impression that she is a highly intelligent person, but it does not reflect a fully dimensional character. There is a tantalizing reference to her being intellectually mentored by a priest, but details of that relationship aren't there. I read through the novel mostly because it is a highly accessible narrative of the historical events as they probably occurred. It may be the enticement I needed to tackle Bernal Diaz' or William Prescott's histories of the conquest of Mexico and Peru. However, for a first-time Allende reader, who wants an un-put-downable historical novel I recomnmend instead her excellent Daughter of Fortune.
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Format: Paperback
The Spaniards plod over the mountains and deserts from Peru to Chile, chasing glory and gold. As a reader, I too plodded over those mountains and deserts--to the point of tedium. An endless series of battles between the Spanish and the native peoples, this novel has little to recommend it. Most curious is Allende's Author's Note: "This novel is a work of intuition, but any similarity to events and persons relating to the conquest of Chile is not coincidental." Many historical novelists will make the opposite claim: that they have, if anything, "distorted" history (see Gabriel Brownstein's note in "The Man from Beyond"). Ultimately, of course, most of us are not in a position to know the difference. The result in this novel is that it's set up to reclaim the reputation of Ines de Suarez. The first-person narration encourages us to take her side, but, frankly, she's not that interesting. The "intuition" referred to by Allende is, of course, the interior monologue of her Ines. But that's not particularly gripping. From all accounts, Suarez was a remarkable woman for her time, but she just isn't that interesting a narrator. The first-person story-telling often comes across as implausible as she isn't in a position to know what transpired at a distance. On occasion, she simply recounts stories told to her by eyewitnesses, passages that constitute fairly dry chronicles of events. So the novel is a seemingly endless series of battles, atrocities, and dull politics. The passions of her life are talked about rather than shown to us. A quick google search comes up with the outlines of her life, a fascinating one for sure. This novel, however, is not fascinating; it simply wears readers down in dogged pursuit of making a case for Ines de Suarez as a great figure in South American history. Perhaps more novelistic intuition and less slavish commitment to the facts of conquest might have brought this story to life.
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