I have this “thing” when I buy books. I usually drop anywhere from 20 – 80 dollars at a time on books for my own personal library. I love buying books. I’m an extremely visual person and therefore, I am drawn easily to books with certain pictures on the cover as well as books made of a certain paper material that are not the glossy cover, but the oddly smooth/rough type. (It’s hard to explain and as it is late at night, I’m not going to really attempt any great feats of imagery here. Sorry). So anyway, after I buy the books, I never read them right away. They usually sit in a pile by my bed or by the couch where I can see them every day and I can lovingly caress their covers and day dream about the day when I will not have any papers to grade and there is nothing more pressing than starting a new book.
Well, that moment finally arrived. I purchased Island Beneath the Sea at the end of last school year. It was on my list to read over the summer, but I never really got to it. I picked it up in August right before the new school year began and I am over half way into it (normally I can read very quickly, but during school, I can only read a few chapters a night, but it’s worth it). Allende’s writing style utterly engages me. I bought this book because I adore her other book, Daughter of Fortune. I am a historical fiction fanatic and Allende’s knowledge of the time period (1700’s for Island…) transports me instantaneously. I prefer regional historic fiction and the setting for this novel is Santo Domingo during the French occupation. All the names of people and places are French which is lovely as my minor is in French and my studies focused on France French. Furthermore, as a reenactor for the Revolutionary War time period, I’m intrigued by what was going on in other countries during that same time period. I knew that the location of her novel was instrumental in the Triangular Trade Route I learned about in middle school social studies, but now I have characters who lived there and breathed the air. It seems all the more real to me. Now that I’m halfway through the book, I can’t believe I let the book sit as long as I did. I guess it’s a form of withholding satisfaction? Not sure. Regardless, I’m really glad I bought it and that it is now part of my library. If I could meet Allende, I would. If anyone knows of her tour schedule, let me know if she is in the Milwaukee/Chicago area. Also, if you have not read any of her books, you should. She’s an excellent writer and has some wonderful descriptive passages that can be used for upper level writers (high school mainly).