Island Beneath the Sea Author:Isabel Allende, Margaret Sayers Peden (Translator) Born a slave on the island of Saint-Domingue, Zarite -- known as Tete -- is the daughter of an African mother she never knew and one of the white sailors who brought her into bondage. Though her childhood is one of brutality and fear, Tete finds solace in the traditional rhythms of African drums and in the voodoo loas she discovers through her f... more »ellow slaves.
When twenty-year-old Toulouse Valmorain arrives on the island in 1770, it's with powdered wigs in his baggage and dreams of financial success in his mind. But running his father's plantation, Saint Lazare, is neither glamorous nor easy. It will be eight years before he brings home a bride -- but marriage, too, proves more difficult than he imagined. And Valmorain remains dependent on the services of his teenaged slave.
Spanning four decades, Island Beneath the Sea is the moving story of the intertwined lives of Tete and Valmorain, and of one woman's determination to find love amid loss, to offer humanity though her own has been battered, and to forge her own identity in the cruellest of circumstances.« less
It took me a long time to get into this book, but it was worth the read. It's very timely historical fiction, since it's set during the Haitian revolution, showing a lot of the forces that have shaped Haiti into the nation it is today. Woven into the same narrative is a glimpse of decadent Creole New Orleans right around the time of the Louisiana Purchase.