Monday, May 21, 2012

Inés of My Soul

Book Review

Inés of My Soul by Isabel Allende.

I don't exactly know what originally inspired me to want to read this book.

I kept seeing it on the shelf in the large print section.

Then I saw some other books by Allende in the regular Adult Fiction section.

I read the description on the back cover.

I guess I just was intrigued enough to want to read this.

But I never picked it up.

That is, until after I made plans to go to Chile this summer.

Suddenly, this book had relevance. And it might even be advantageous to read it before I went on my trip.

Yes, now was the time.

I had to find out what I could learn about Chilean history before I visit soon.

Inés of My Soul

This is a historical novel detailing the conquest of Chile in the mid-sixteenth century. It is written as an autobiography by Inés Suárez, initially a Spanish seamstress, who would go on to become cofounder of a new nation.

Although this book is only about the life of one woman, it feels epic. And here, that is good. It's a pretty big thing to cross the ocean and found a new country.  Inés travels the lands, falls in love, finds water, fights the enemies, tends the wounded, builds a city, scares off the invaders, and builds three different lives along the way. She is epic.

I really liked this book. The structure of pretending to be an autobiography is a little slow at the beginning, but ultimately, it works. Some descriptions of events are more graphic that I need, but they are not out of line of the times. It was the sixteenth century. Times have never been so clean and tidy as they are now.

Not only did I enjoy reading this, I learned about the conquest of Chile too. And that is what prompted me to read it now. I wish I could spend half a day wandering through Santiago to see the square and imagine Inés doing her thing there. Right now, that is not in my schedule. I had not considered spending more time in Santiago. Now, I have an appreciation of the origins of the city.

I would have never had that without reading this book.

This story is action packed and also a love story. Enjoyable from start to finish, this love story was also educational. But don't misunderstand me. This is clearly an adult book. I don't know of a school that would put this on their curriculum. It's not that kind of educational.

It is that kind of educational.

Love and war in Chile. If you need it in a nut shell, that is it. But really, it is so much more than that. It shouldn't surprise me what history has done to the strong women leaders of the world. It is nice to see such an epic novel about one of these. Rightful recognition.

Enjoy and learn! I did!

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