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Violeta [English Edition]
Cover of Violeta [English Edition]
Violeta [English Edition]
A Novel
Borrow Borrow
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • This sweeping novel from the author of A Long Petal of the Sea tells the epic story of Violeta Del Valle, a woman whose life spans one hundred years and bears witness to the greatest upheavals of the twentieth century.
“An immersive saga about a passion-filled life.”—People

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: PopSugar, Real Simple, Reader’s Digest
Violeta comes into the world on a stormy day in 1920, the first girl in a family with five boisterous sons. From the start, her life is marked by extraordinary events, for the ripples of the Great War are still being felt, even as the Spanish flu arrives on the shores of her South American homeland almost at the moment of her birth.
Through her father’s prescience, the family will come through that crisis unscathed, only to face a new one as the Great Depression transforms the genteel city life she has known. Her family loses everything and is forced to retreat to a wild and beautiful but remote part of the country. There, she will come of age, and her first suitor will come calling.
She tells her story in the form of a letter to someone she loves above all others, recounting times of devastating heartbreak and passionate affairs, poverty and wealth, terrible loss and immense joy. Her life is shaped by some of the most important events of history: the fight for women’s rights, the rise and fall of tyrants, and ultimately not one, but two pandemics.
Through the eyes of a woman whose unforgettable passion, determination, and sense of humor carry her through a lifetime of upheaval, Isabel Allende once more brings us an epic that is both fiercely inspiring and deeply emotional.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • This sweeping novel from the author of A Long Petal of the Sea tells the epic story of Violeta Del Valle, a woman whose life spans one hundred years and bears witness to the greatest upheavals of the twentieth century.
“An immersive saga about a passion-filled life.”—People

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: PopSugar, Real Simple, Reader’s Digest
Violeta comes into the world on a stormy day in 1920, the first girl in a family with five boisterous sons. From the start, her life is marked by extraordinary events, for the ripples of the Great War are still being felt, even as the Spanish flu arrives on the shores of her South American homeland almost at the moment of her birth.
Through her father’s prescience, the family will come through that crisis unscathed, only to face a new one as the Great Depression transforms the genteel city life she has known. Her family loses everything and is forced to retreat to a wild and beautiful but remote part of the country. There, she will come of age, and her first suitor will come calling.
She tells her story in the form of a letter to someone she loves above all others, recounting times of devastating heartbreak and passionate affairs, poverty and wealth, terrible loss and immense joy. Her life is shaped by some of the most important events of history: the fight for women’s rights, the rise and fall of tyrants, and ultimately not one, but two pandemics.
Through the eyes of a woman whose unforgettable passion, determination, and sense of humor carry her through a lifetime of upheaval, Isabel Allende once more brings us an epic that is both fiercely inspiring and deeply emotional.
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About the Author-
  • Isabel Allende won worldwide acclaim in 1982 with the publication of her first novel, The House of the Spirits. Since then, she has authored twenty-six bestselling and critically acclaimed books, which have been translated into more than forty-two languages. In addition to her work as a writer, Allende devotes much of her time to human rights causes. In 1996, following the death of her daughter, Paula Frias, she established a charitable foundation in her honor, which has awarded grants to more than one hundred nonprofits worldwide on behalf of women and girls. In 2014, President Barack Obama awarded Allende the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, and in 2018 she received the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation. She has also received PEN Center USA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Raised in Chile, she now lives in California.
Reviews-
  • Library Journal

    August 1, 2021

    In this latest from Allende, winner of multiple lifetime achievement awards, Violeta is born into a family boasting five boys just as the 1918 influenza hits her South American homeland. The narrative carries her through 100 years to a new pandemic, encompassing the Great Depression (with her capsized family forced to resettle in her country's remotest reaches), the fight for women's rights, and the rise of dictators, plus love, loss, poverty, wealth, and brimming-to-the-rim affairs. Formatted as a letter to someone for whom Violeta cared deeply.

    Copyright 2021 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    November 8, 2021
    Chilean writer Allende (A Petal of the Sea) chronicles the lives of an upper-class South American family across various historical events of the 20th century. Violeta del Valle, 100, recounts the story of her life to her grandson, Camilo, beginning with her birth during the Spanish Flu pandemic. The del Valles—patriarch Arsenio and his invalid wife, five sons, and the youngest, daughter Violeta—survive by quarantining in their mansion in the capital city of their unnamed country, but the Great Depression soon shatters the family’s economic stability. Nine-year-old Violeta finds her father’s body with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and they move to a farm. In whirlwind fashion, Allende conveys Violeta’s life: her lackluster first marriage, an adventure-filled affair with British RAF pilot Julian Bravo, Bravo’s underhanded dealings flying CIA operatives to South America, and the tragic story of her drug-addled daughter who dies while giving birth to Camilo. Allende frames Violeta’s life story with two global pandemics, and while Violeta’s reflections on Covid-19 feel a little forced, Allende seamlessly ties the rise and fall of Cold War–era military dictatorships throughout Latin America to Violeta’s autobiography. It’s a mixed bag, but Allende succeeds once again at making the historical feel personal.

  • Booklist

    December 15, 2021
    Allende has crafted many unique heroines of passionate, resilient spirit in her internationally best-selling historical novels, and Violeta Del Valle is no exception. Born during the Spanish flu outbreak in an unnamed South American country (clearly based on Chile) in 1920, Violeta addresses her memoir to a beloved relative, Camilo, during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. She spins a captivating, cinematic tale of her century-long existence, intertwining large-scale political and social transformations with reflections on her life. The spoiled daughter in a family with five older sons, Violeta watches the Del Valles' finances tumble into ruin during the Depression. After losing their illustrious home, her family finds refuge in a remote southern farming town with many Indigenous residents and German and French immigrants. This supposed exile becomes an enriching experience for Violeta. Her love life is complex, tumultuous, and unpredictable for readers, who will eagerly follow her narrative, which Violeta recounts in a style that's remarkably forthright about her own and others' personal failings. The characterizations are intriguingly layered, and as people's lives are buffeted by dramatic changes, including a military coup that destroys her country's democracy, Violeta comes into her own strength. Allende has long been renowned as an enchanting storyteller, and this emotionally perceptive epic ranks among her best.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Allende's treasured historical sagas are always profoundly relevant, and this tale of a woman's life bracketed by two pandemics will have special magnetism and resonance.

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Kirkus

    January 15, 2022
    In a rueful account written for her grandson, a 100-year-old South American woman recalls her tumultuous life. Born during the Spanish flu pandemic, Violeta Del Valle spends her early years quarantined with her well-off family in the capital of an unnamed country (one that resembles Allende's native Chile). With her mother ill, she is largely raised by her warm-spirited, independent-minded Irish governess. The family fortunes gutted by the Great Depression, her father kills himself (Violeta discovers his body). While living in relative isolation in the country, she meets and marries a German veterinarian whose life is mostly about finding a way to preserve the semen of pure-bred bulls. Tired of playing the submissive wife, Violeta, in a heated scene that could be a parody of romance novels, is swept off her feet by a dashing but soon abusive Royal Air Force ace of Latin American origins who runs guns for the Mafia and performs missions for the CIA. "Held together by a perpetual cycle of hate and lust," even when he takes up with another woman, the couple--though Violeta remains legally married to the vet throughout--has a son whose sensitive nature doesn't sit well with his macho father and a daughter who will become a drug addict. While there's no lack of incidence in this chronological epic, which is punctuated by glancing references to historical events including the rise of military takeovers, Allende's reductive style deprives the book of narrative power. For all she goes through, Violeta is thinly drawn--her great business success as a home builder seems tossed in like an afterthought. And the "floods, drought, poverty, and eternal discontent" she refers to are kept offstage. A slog even Allende fans may have trouble getting through.

    COPYRIGHT(2022) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Violeta [English Edition]
Violeta [English Edition]
A Novel
Isabel Allende
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