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Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende

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June 2010 Good Housekeeping selection.

Isabel Allende’s new novel is the epic story of a slave girl set in 18th-century Haiti and New Orleans.

If you like Isabel Allende you might also like to read books by Paulo Coelho, Elif Shafak and Lawrence Hill.


Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende

From the sugar plantations of Saint-Domingue to the lavish parlours of New Orleans at the turn of the 19th century, Isabel Allende's latest novel tells the story of a mulatta woman, a slave and concubine, determined to take control of her own destiny in a society where that would seem impossible. Born a slave on the island of Saint-Domingue, Zarite - known as Tete - is the daughter of an African mother she never knew and one of the white sailors who brought her into bondage. Though her childhood is one of brutality and fear, Tete finds solace in the traditional rhythms of African drums and the voodoo loas she discovers through her fellow slaves. When twenty-year-old Toulouse Valmorain arrives on the island in 1770, it's with powdered wigs in his trunks and dreams of financial success in his mind. But running his father's plantation, Saint Lazare, is neither glamorous nor easy. Against the merciless backdrop of sugar cane fields, the lives of Tete and Valmorain grow ever more intertwined. When the bloody revolution of Toussaint Louverture arrives at the gates of Saint Lazare, they flee the island that will become Haiti for the decadence and opportunity of New Orleans. There, Tete finally forges a new life - but her connection to Valmorain is deeper than anyone knows and not so easily severed. Spanning four decades, Island Beneath the Sea is the moving story of one woman's determination to find love amid loss, to offer humanity though her own has been so battered, and to forge her own identity in the cruellest of circumstances.


Island Beneath the Sea is a seductive, intoxicating saga. It starts with slavery, forbidden relationships and rebellion in Haiti, and expands to include struggles over secret children, racial castes and family heirs in Louisiana. Isabel Allende's latest novel is sweeping, provocative and impossible to put down. Lawrence Hill, author of The Book of Negroes

About the Author

Isabel Allende

Isabel Allende was born in Chile, and now lives in California. She worked for many years as a journalist before writing the internationally bestselling novel The House of the Spirits. Since then she has published the equally highly-acclaimed Of Love and Shadows, Eva Luna, The Stories of Eva Luna, ‘The Infinite Plan and ‘Paula.

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Book Info

Publication date

29th April 2010


Isabel Allende

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Fourth Estate Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers




Family Drama
Literary Fiction
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