Set in an atmosphere of uncertainty and fear, in a country of arbitrary arrests, sudden disappearances, and summary executions, Isabel Allende’s second novel tells of the passionate affair of two people prepared to risk everything for the sake of justice and truth.
The fact that reporter Irene Beltrán came from a wealthy bourgeois family did not prevent Francisco Leal, a young photographer and clandestine member of the underground resistance movement (dedicated to overthrowing the nation’s military dictatorship), from being attracted by her beauty. It did not matter that her fiancé, Gustavo Morante, whose nickname was “Bridegroom of Death,” was an army captain. Each time Francisco accompanied her on a magazine assignment he fell more deeply in love with her.
Sent to investigate the mysterious case of Evangelina Ranquileo, a girl suffering from spectacular fits said to result in miraculous powers, the enterprising pair is caught up in a vortex of terror and violence as they uncover a hideous crime, the revelation of which challenges and provokes the regime and puts their lives at risk.
As in The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allende once again reveals herself to be a spectacular storyteller, skillfully contrasting images of overcrowded morgues and mass graves with the colorful landscape of South America, and bringing to bold life characters that all but jump off the page: Irene’s willfully ignorant, decadent mother; Francisco’s impulsive, foolhardy father; and Mario, a homosexual celebrity and fearless subversive. Of Love and Shadows is a riveting tale of tragedy and ecstasy, of bravery and sacrifice, of family loyalty and state betrayal—a tale that is both profoundly moving and uplifting.