[reviews]

Island Beneath the Sea is a seductive, intoxicating saga. It starts with slavery, forbidden relationships and rebellion in Haiti, and expands to include struggles over secret children, racial castes and family heirs in Louisiana. Isabel Allende’s latest novel is sweeping, provocative and impossible to put down.”
—Lawrence Hill, author of The Book of Negroes

“[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…”
The New York Times Book Review

“Exuberant passions, strong heroines and intricate plots…a world as enchanted—and enchanting—as it is brutal and unjust…A page-turning drama.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“Enthralling, blood-chilling, and heart-breaking…Island Beneath the Sea is a historical novel which works brilliantly in conveying the cyclone that was the eighteenth century.”
The Huffington Post

“Gorgeous place descriptions, a keen eye for history and a predilection for high drama…There are few more charming storytellers in the world than Isabel Allende.”
NPR

“Timely and absorbing…filled with adventure, vivid characters, and richly detailed descriptions of life in the Caribbean.”
Library Journal

“A lush epic of racism and rebellion which begins in Saint-Domingue (today’s Haiti)…In a culture of violence, Tété proves that ingenuity can be as heroic as love.”
More

“Epic scope and sweep…[Allende’s] characters, linked by blood, love triangles and even incest, have a depth and complexity that…imbues the proceedings with a lushness bordering on magic realism.”
Associated Press

“Two remarkable women whose destinies are entwined face the chaos of this time [eighteenth century Saint-Domingue]…Uncannily relevant.”
Elle

“A remarkable feat of prescience…Island Beneath the Sea is rich in drama, setting, themes, characters, dialogue and symbolism…an intriguing and wonderfully woven story.”
San Antonio Express-News

“Allende, an entrancing and astute storyteller cherished the world over, returns to historical fiction to portray another resilient woman whose life embodies the complex forces at work in the bloody forging of the New World. Zarité, called Tété, is born into slavery in the colony of Saint-Domingue, where enslaved Africans are worked to death by the thousands, and European men prey on women of color. So it is with Tété and her “master”, the deeply conflicted plantation owner Toulouse Valmorain, who relies on her for everything from coerced sex to caring for his demented first wife, his legitimate son, and their off-the-record daughter. When the slave uprising that gives birth to the free black republic of Haiti erupts, Toulouse, Tété, and the children flee to Cuba, then to New Orleans. In a many-faceted plot, Allende animates irresistible characters authentic in their emotional turmoil and pragmatic adaptability. She also captures the racial, sexual, and entrepreneurial dynamics of each society in sensuous detail while masterfully dramatizing the psychic wounds of slavery. Sexually explicit, Allende is grace incarnate in her evocations of the spiritual energy that still sustains the beleaguered people of Haiti and New Orleans. Demand will be high for this transporting, remarkably topical novel of men and women of courage risking all for liberty.”
Booklist
(starred review)