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Born on the island of Saint-Domingue, ZaritÉknown as TÉtÉis 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, TÉtÉ finds solace in the traditional rhythms of African drums and the voodoo loa she discovers through her fellow slaves.
When twenty-year-old Toulouse Valmorain arrives on the island in 1770, its with powdered wigs in his trunks and dreams of financial success in his mind. But running his fathers plantation, Saint Lazare, is neither glamorous nor easy. Although Valmorain purchases young TÉtÉ for his bride, it is he who will become dependent on the services of his teenaged slave.
Against the merciless backdrop of sugarcane fields, the lives of TÉtÉ and Valmorain grow ever more intertwined. When the bloody revolution of Toussaint Louverture arrives at the gates of Saint Lazare, they flee the brutal conditions of the French colony, soon to become Haiti, for the raucous, free-wheeling enterprise of New Orleans. There TÉtÉ finally forges a new life, but her connection to Valmorain is deeper than anyone knows and not easily severed. With an impressive richness of detail, and a narrative wit and brio second to none, Allende crafts the riveting story of one womans determination to find love amid loss, to offer humanity though her own has been so battered, and to forge a new identity in the cruelest of circumstances.
About the Author
Isabel Allende is the author of nine novels, translated into more than twenty-seven languages, including the New York Times bestsellers InÉs of My Soul, Portrait in Sepia, and Daughter of Fortune. In 2004 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Born in Peru and raised in Chile, she lives in California.
Praise for Island Beneath the Sea…
“[An] entertaining sweep...The canvas contains no less than the revolutionary history of the world’s first black republic...Allende revels in period details...Her cast is equally vibrant...”