Violeta A novel

Isabel Allende

Book - 2022

"This sweeping novel from the New York Times bestselling 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"--

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Subjects
Genres
Historical fiction
Novels
Published
New York : Ballantine Books [2022]
Edition
First U.S. edition
Language
English
Spanish
Physical Description
322 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN
9780593496206
0593496205
Main Author
Isabel Allende (author)
Other Authors
Frances Riddle (translator)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* 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 Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

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.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Allende's latest is bookended by twin pandemics: Violeta is born during the South American wave of the 1918 flu and dies as COVID-19 begins to sweep the world. Born into a privileged family that loses its fortune in the 1929 stock market crash, Violeta and her family are taken in by rural relatives of a family friend. Throughout several lovers and marriages, political upheaval, and societal changes, Violeta becomes a successful businesswoman and eventually gets involved in social justice movements. Her most significant romance is her tempestuous relationship with adventurous pilot Julian Bravo, though they never marry. Personal tragedies involving her son and daughter finally force Violeta to realize that she is not immune to the impact of social and political change and that she has a place in working toward solutions. VERDICT As this is a chronological reflection on a long life, the novel has an episodic feel, with events sweeping along at a rapid clip, though Allende still manages to pepper the tale with an abundance of memorable characters. Violeta is a character who follows her passions and lives an unconventional life but never stops evolving along with the century in which she lives. Recommended for all collections.—Christine DeZelar-Tiedman Copyright 2022 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Allende's latest is bookended by twin pandemics: Violeta is born during the South American wave of the 1918 flu and dies as COVID-19 begins to sweep the world. Born into a privileged family that loses its fortune in the 1929 stock market crash, Violeta and her family are taken in by rural relatives of a family friend. Throughout several lovers and marriages, political upheaval, and societal changes, Violeta becomes a successful businesswoman and eventually gets involved in social justice movements. Her most significant romance is her tempestuous relationship with adventurous pilot Julian Bravo, though they never marry. Personal tragedies involving her son and daughter finally force Violeta to realize that she is not immune to the impact of social and political change and that she has a place in working toward solutions. VERDICT As this is a chronological reflection on a long life, the novel has an episodic feel, with events sweeping along at a rapid clip, though Allende still manages to pepper the tale with an abundance of memorable characters. Violeta is a character who follows her passions and lives an unconventional life but never stops evolving along with the century in which she lives. Recommended for all collections.—Christine DeZelar-Tiedman Copyright 2022 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

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. (Jan.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Living out her days in a remote part of her South American homeland, Violeta finds her life shaped by some of the most important events of history as she tells her story in the form of a letter to someone she loves above all others.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"This sweeping novel from the New York Times bestselling 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"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

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.”—PeopleVioleta 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.