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8 Reviews
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bit hard to get into, but a rewarding read.
I chose this novel from a list to write an essay based on the political themes in the story. I found the style a bit uncomfortble at first, but I have never read a book translated from Spanish before. Once I got around 100 pages in, I loved the story and stayed up late last night finishing it off.
Allende's greatest skill is making the reader care for her characters...
Published on 29 Nov 2001

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars beautifully written
i'm a huge fan of Isabel Allende and had somehow missed reading this book. it starts of a bit slow and took a while for me to remember all of the characters in the book and who they were/who they were related to. But once i had read a few chapters undisturbed, realised that i was truely engrossed in the storyline and didn't want to put it down. Recommended.
Published on 16 April 2012 by Pat B


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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bit hard to get into, but a rewarding read., 29 Nov 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Of Love And Shadows (Paperback)
I chose this novel from a list to write an essay based on the political themes in the story. I found the style a bit uncomfortble at first, but I have never read a book translated from Spanish before. Once I got around 100 pages in, I loved the story and stayed up late last night finishing it off.
Allende's greatest skill is making the reader care for her characters. Obviously, the oppressive regime infiltrates every level of the text, but primarily, it is the characters that we care for. We see the effect of autocratic militarian government on the people, rather than the economy of statistics.
I'm really glad that I chose to read this novel. I would recommend it to anyone who fancies a change in their normal reading matter. It's just a shame I'm writing a Politics essay, and not commenting on her wonderful style!
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book which makes you forget you need to eat and sleep!, 9 Nov 2000
By 
looby_69@yahoo.com (Newcastle, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Of Love And Shadows (Paperback)
Fantastic book! Allende's style of writing makes you fall in love with the characters, to the extent that you can visualise everything that goes on. Really easy to follow, and so enthralling that I couldn't put it down! Many of the events and situations are based on fact, and that makes this book all the more heart wrenching. It was just a shame that the book had to come to an end. I would have cried real tears at the ending if I hadn't have been on the bus at the time! I would really recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars beautifully written, 16 April 2012
By 
This review is from: Of Love And Shadows (Paperback)
i'm a huge fan of Isabel Allende and had somehow missed reading this book. it starts of a bit slow and took a while for me to remember all of the characters in the book and who they were/who they were related to. But once i had read a few chapters undisturbed, realised that i was truely engrossed in the storyline and didn't want to put it down. Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, 6 Jan 2012
By 
Kate Hopkins (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Of Love And Shadows (Paperback)
A haunting, sometimes heartwarming and sometimes frightening novel of life under a dictatorship in an unnamed South American country (very clearly Chile under the Pinochet dictatorship). Francesco, a pyschologist, is forced to change profession under the dictatorship and become a photographer. He teams up with Irene (a young journalist from an aristocratic background) and they become a regular working partnership for a successful magazine. When they are called to investigate the case of a peasant girl who throws fits and is said to work miracles, a chain of dramatic events forces Francesco and Irene to confront what is really going on under the dictatorship, and eventually to challenge the authority of the army. Inevitably, this puts them both into terrible danger, but both are determined to maintain their integrity in the face of so much corruption. And, during their time working together, the pair realize that they have fallen in love, despite Irene's being engaged to a young army captain. But will they survive the consequences of their political actions?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Allende creates a vivid sense of what life under a right-wing dictatorship is like, and her story is a pageturner that will make this book very hard to put down - a lot of questions are raised that are only answered in the final chapters and Allende makes one desperate to know the answers. She also gives us a cast of magnificent larger-than-life characters, most of whom we find we care a great deal abou though a few may head towards the point of caricature (such as Beatriz, Irene's mother). And the love between Francesco and Irene was beautifully portrayed. A great read, and one of Allende's best books.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Ring of authenticity, 19 April 2013
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This review is from: Of Love And Shadows (Paperback)
Living under a Latin American military dictatorship, the two central characters Francisco and Irene probe a disappearance. Their actions precipitate a crack in the state's propoganda and control defences and matters escalate. Parts of the novel are truly shocking but always there is the ring of authenticity. An expose of the corruptive nature of power, balanced against the strength of human resilience and the imperatives of love and survival.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping love story set under the cloud of military dictatorship, 21 Oct 2012
By 
jacr100 "jacr100" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Of Love And Shadows (Paperback)
The army has usurped power in Chile, and curfews, crackdowns and disappearances have become commonplace. But some choose to resist, including Francisco Leal, a photographer who has begun working with magazine reporter Irene Beltrán. When the two go to investigate reports of a girl suffering from fits that villagers believe grant answers to their prayers, the dark nature of military repression is revealed. Shortly afterwards, the girl disappears. Francisco and Irene set out to uncover the truth, on a mission that will test their feelings for each other and their ability to stay one step ahead of the secret police.

Allende is very good at developing the plot at pace, and keeping you guessing - this is a book you will race through. Her evocation of the raw beauty of Chile is also skilfully teased out; poignantly so, given the dark realities of Chile at that time. For me, though, this falls a little short of classic status because it doesn't really do enough to get under the skin of that era, or to try an original prose style that somehow reflects those realities. It lacks the vibrant originality of some of the other Latin American masters. Also, the ending is weak, given the tension built up in the fifty or so pages beforehand.

That said, it's still a great read - a dramatic, claustrophobic tale of sex and violence in an atmosphere of tyranny and arbitrary violence.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Readable, but the writing's a little wooden, 27 Sep 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Of Love And Shadows (Paperback)
It's not a bad plot, and certainly it would have resonated with readers in the late 1980s, when it was first published. The main characters of Francisco and Irene are well-drawn. But there's something about Allende's style that means she will always be a lesser writer than, say, Garcia Marquez or Vargas Llosa. She does not stretch for that extra surprising word or image, the rhythm of her sentences ultimately becomes predictable, and sometimes she descends into mere cliche. The ending of this book is rather weak, as well. So read it, by all means, but do not expect a Latin American 20th century classic.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OF LOVE AND SHADOWS, 31 Aug 2009
By 
E. TIERNEY - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Of Love And Shadows (Paperback)
This was a present for my wife,who was unable to find it in the library,
well worth the money,first class story,
postage and delivery times spot on.
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Of Love And Shadows
Of Love And Shadows by Isabel Allende (Paperback - 25 Aug 1988)
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