This was my first Isabelle Allende and I probably chose the wrong one. The only McGuffin driving the plot is Aurora's nightmare and frankly by the end I didn't care what the resolution was. The main character just does not give you enough to make you care about her and the other characters are two-dimensional stereotypes. By the end, it felt like I was reading a book outline which needed to have the characters fleshed out and a plot backbone inserted. I can only assume that readers who enjoyed this are feeling an after-glow from previous (and I assume much better) Allende works.