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Ines of My Soul by Isabel Allende

Ines of My Soul (original 2006; edition 2006)

by Isabel Allende

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1,792673,908 (3.64)123
Title:Ines of My Soul
Authors:Isabel Allende
Info:HarperCollins (2006), Unknown Binding
Collections:Your library
Tags:historical fiction, Chile, Spain, Inez Suarez, Latin American literature

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Inés of My Soul by Isabel Allende (2006)


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English (57)  Spanish (5)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (67)
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Vivid telling of the conquest and founding of Chile, from the viewpoint of Ines Suarez, a historical figure, dictating her memoirs to her stepdaughter, Isabel. From life as a seamstress in Spain, Ines follows her feckless husband, who has gone there attracted by the siren call of gold: El Dorado. Once there in Peru, she becomes the mistress of the governor, finds out the her husband has died, then later she becomes the wife of another of the conquistadors. The novel is chock-full of battles with the indigenous Indians, culminating in the battle with the Mapuche, who are trying to hold on to their land in the South. Ines is a foundress of the city of Santiago. There are gorgeous descriptions of the landscapes, but too many gruesome battles for my taste. This was an era I know nothing about and was glad to learn something about it.

Recommended. ( )
  janerawoof | Aug 14, 2015 |
I was kind of disappointed by this book. I have really liked all of Allende's fiction a lot, and was exicted to read this one. This book is told from the perspective of Dona Ines Suarez, who is a foundress of Chile. At first I was really interested in the conquistador time period, because I've never read historical fiction set in that time. However, I very quickly lost interest. There were too many descriptions of battles between the Spanish and the Incas and the Mapuches, and it just became really tedious to read about them again and again. I really just didn't care. And I didn't like Ines all that much... I didn't dislike her, I just didn't like her as much as I have liked many of Allende's other characters. Maybe because she is an acutal historical figure, Allende couldn't take as many liberties in character development, I dont' know...

the book was still fairly good, and i enjoyed most of it, but i think if i was more interested in the historical time period, i would have liked this book a lot more. ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
Historical fiction is one of my passions, and Isabel Allende is a favorite author. She does not disappoint with this novel based on Dona Ines Suarez and the early years of Chilean history.

( )
  junebedell | Jan 2, 2015 |
I had a credibility gap with the narrator; that a seamstress from Extremadura would be tracking, even in hindsight, all this world events? Every time it leaves Ines' narrative, I just can't quite buy it. But I keep reading for things like Ines' descriptions of death sitting there, waiting for her politely, or one of her trenchant observations.
  revliz | Nov 15, 2014 |
At the end of her chaotic, adventurous life, Inés Suárez writes her memoirs for her adopted daughter, Isabel. There is much to tell. As a young girl in Spain, Inés falls for a handsome rake named Juan who soon leaves her to make his fortune in the New World. Not one to sit around pining for a man for the rest of her life, Inés follows him across the seas to Peru. When she arrives, she learns she is a widow; her husband was killed in battle. Inés quickly establishes herself as a seamstress and empanada-maker, and before long she has found a new love: Pedro de Valdivia, a well-respected soldier who wishes to leave his mark on history. Together, they embark on a great adventure: to conquer the lands south of Peru and found the kingdom of Chile.

Inés de Suárez was a real woman who lived a daring and fascinating life. (I wish there was an English biography of her available – but if there is one to be had for a reasonable sum, I’ve yet to find it.) Certainly, she was not afraid of defying convention. She came to the Americas to track down her missing husband, and stayed on after learning of his death. She lived openly as the mistress of Pedro de Valdivia, and – if stories are to be believed – during a battle in Santiago she decapitated seven caciques (Indian leaders) and threw their heads out into the Indian armies, scattering them and saving the Spanish settlement.

(One sentence review: I loved it, but I recognize the problems with the text and can understand why others might not care for this novel.)

Allende’s Inés is a woman of her time. Born in the sixteenth century, Inés believes in the superiority of Christianity and Spain. Although more open to the views of the indigenous people than many of her counterparts, she does think of them as savages in need of Christian taming. She fully supports the idea of colonization and the conquering of Chile, not just because it brings her wealth but because she sees it as right and proper. For these reasons, she might seem distasteful to a modern audience, which is more sympathetic to the indigenous perspective – but you can’t impose modern values on a character living hundreds of years ago. As it is, I think Allende did an admirable job of making Inés relatable and interesting to a twenty-first century audience without compromising the historic woman’s world view.

That said, some readers won’t be able to look past the romanticized conquistadors and the horrible, brutal tortures they inflict upon natives. This is a gruesome narrative full of bloodshed, revenge, and cruelty. It’s to be expected in a novel about the subjugation of the natives of the New World, but that doesn’t make it any easier to read.

But for those with strong stomachs and a taste for dramatic historical fiction, Inés of My Soul is a thrilling novel full of adventure, romance, betrayal and battle. It is truly an epic tale centering on a strong, passionate woman – definitely worth reading! ( )
  makaiju | Mar 21, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 57 (next | show all)
Allende peppers Inés’ bio with characteristically fragrant details emotional fire-storms, lush foliage, aphrodisiac potions, and many “blazing whirlwinds” of lovemaking that turn a truly extraordinary life story into a forgettable, easy-reading romp.
“Inés is wholly a woman of her day, and Allende does not turn away from the historical record, which has her decapitating indigenous prisoners and hurling their heads over a fortress wall to terrorize their peers as well as saving lives as a gentle-handed healer.”

“Despite its graphic violence, “Ines,” like all of Allende’s novels, drips with color and sensuality. The author spent four years researching the era, incorporating knowledge not just about the history of Chile during the subjugation of its native people by the courageous and cruel Spanish, but such vital details as the kinds of food emigrants ate on the long ocean voyage and their manner of dress.The research pays off in finely detailed scenes.”


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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Isabel Allendeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Liverani, ElenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I am Inés Suárez, a townswoman of the loyal city of Santiago de Nueva Extremadura in the kingdom of Chile, writing in the year of Our Lord 1580
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Born into a poor family in Spain, Inés, a seamstress, finds herself condemned to a life of hard work without reward or hope for the future. It is the sixteenth century, the beginning of the Spanish conquest of the Americas, and when her shiftless husband disappears to the New World, Inés uses the opportunity to search for him as an excuse to flee her stifling homeland and seek adventure. After her treacherous journey takes her to Peru, she learns that her husband has died in battle. Soon she begins a fiery love affair with a man who will change the course of her life: Pedro de Valdivia, war hero and field marshal to the famed Francisco Pizarro.

Valdivia's dream is to succeed where other Spaniards have failed: to become the conquerer of Chile. The natives of Chile are fearsome warriors, and the land is rumored to be barren of gold, but this suits Valdivia, who seeks only honor and glory. Together the lovers Inés Suárez and Pedro de Valdivia will build the new city of Santiago, and they will wage a bloody, ruthless war against the indigenous Chileans—the fierce local Indians led by the chief Michimalonko, and the even fiercer Mapuche from the south. The horrific struggle will change them forever, pulling each of them toward their separate destinies.

Inés of My Soul is a work of breathtaking scope: meticulously researched, it engagingly dramatizes the known events of Inés Suárez's life, crafting them into a novel full of the narrative brilliance and passion readers have come to expect from Isabel Allende.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061161543, Paperback)

In the early years of the conquest of the Americas, Inés Suárez, a seamstress condemned to a life of toil, flees Spain to seek adventure in the New World. As Inés makes her way to Chile, she begins a fiery romance with Pedro de Valdivia, war hero and field marshal to the famed Francisco Pizarro. Together the lovers will build the new city of Santiago, and they will wage war against the indigenous Chileans—a bloody struggle that will change Inés and Valdivia forever, inexorably pulling each of them toward separate destinies.

Inés of My Soul is a work of breathtaking scope that masterfully dramatizes the known events of Inés Suárez's life, crafting them into a novel rich with the narrative brilliance and passion readers have come to expect from Isabel Allende.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:29 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

A work of historical fiction chronicles the brave deeds and passionate loves of a spirited woman who journeyed to the New World and helped found a nation.

(summary from another edition)

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