High praise for this excellent novel from Allende. I have read several of her books, most recently Ines of My Soul, and I have enjoyed all of them but of the ones I have read, Of Love and Shadows is the best of the lot.
This is basically the story of Irene Beltran, the unconventional daughter of a wealthy family, and Francisco Leal, son of Spanish exiles, who are reporter and photographer for a women's magazine in an unnamed Latin American dictatorship. After doing a story on a young woman who apparently has some paranormal skills, they end up discovering a mass grave where the bodies of people tortured and murdered by the police have been dumped. As their love grows, Irene and Francisco struggle to bring the men responsible to justice. But can they prevail over the corrupt and immoral military dictatorship that is out to cover up the crimes?
Allende does a masterful job of painting this tapestry of a novel. She provides background on all of the major characters in the books so the reader feels as if they know them intimately. It was a great love story of Irene an Francisco portrayed against a very horrific background. Some of this was pretty hard to take but overall a wonderful novel that I would highly recommend!
Beautiful and headstrong, Irene Beltrán works as a magazine journalist--a profession that belies her privileged upbringing and her engagement to an army captain. Her investigative partner is photographer Francisco Leal, the son of impoverished Spanish Marxist émigrés. Together, they form an unlikely but inseparable team--and Francisco quickly falls in love with the fierce and loyal Irene. When an assignment leads them to a young girl whom locals believe to possess miraculous powers, they uncover an unspeakable crime perpetrated by an oppressive regime. Determined to reveal the truth in a nation overrun by terror and violence, each will risk everything to find justice--and, ultimately, to embrace the passion and fervor that binds them.
Profoundly moving and ultimately uplifting, Of Love and Shadows is a tale of romance, bravery, and tragedy, set against the indelible backdrop of a country ruled with an iron fist--and peopled with those who dare to challenge it.
I have read many of Allende's novels and I have enjoyed them all. This one was no different. It was an intriguing story and kept me interested until the very end. I found it to be a powerful and moving story of love in the midst of violence and fear. It shows us what life under military dictatorship in Latin American was like. It is also a mixture between mystery and romance. I would recommend this book to those interested in contemporary Latin American literature.