Cannonball Read IV: Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende
If one has read as much Isabel Allende as I have, one comes to expect several things from her. There will be a strong woman, usually passionately in love in a dramatic backdrop of war or poverty. There will be a madwoman, a male semi-villain. There will be birthings and tragedies. But despite knowing all these things, I am rarely not sucked into her world.
Island Beneath the Sea is set in Saint Domingue before it became independent Haiti. The primary character is the slave Zarite and from her story flows a turbulent family saga. There is war, rape, incest, love and dancing. The story follows Zarite and her master from Haiti then to Cuba and New Oleans as they escape the slave revolution.
Like all other Allendes, there really is no plot aside from following the growth, the heartaches, loves and happiness of this family and their friends they treat as family. The master is the villain, but his villainy is mild. In fact, he is better than most slave owners, but not good enough to overcome the ideas ingrained in him that slaves are not human.
I enjoyed this particular book much better that the last Allende I read. The characters and interesting and likable, plus I get to learn stuff about Haiti. It is in many ways, typical and expected, but still engrossing and enjoyable.
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