Portrait in Sepia by Isabel Allende
A Novel

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Synopsis

Internationally celebrated novelist Isabel Allende has written a magnificent historical novel set at the end of the nineteenth century in Chile, a marvelous family saga that takes up and continues the story begun in her highly acclaimed Daughter of Fortune.

Recounted in the voice of a young woman in search of her roots, Portrait in Sepia is a novel about memory and family secrets. Aurora del Valle suffers a brutal trauma that shapes her character and erases from her mind all recollection of the first five years of her life. Raised by her ambitious grandmother, the regal and commanding Paulina del Valle, she grows up in a privileged environment, free of the limitations that circumscribe the lives of women at that time, but tormented by horrible nightmares. When she is forced to recognize her betrayal at the hands of the man she loves, and to cope with the resulting solitude, she decides to explore the mystery of her past.

Portrait in Sepia is an extraordinary achievement: richly detailed, epic in scope, intimate in its probing of human character, and thrilling in the way it illuminates the complexity of family ties.

 

About Isabel Allende

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Isabel Allende is the bestselling author of eleven works of fiction, four memoirs, and three young- adult novels, which have been translated into more than twenty-seven languages with over 57 million copies sold. In 2004 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She received the Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award in 2012. Born in Peru and raised in Chile, she lives in California.Nacida en Perú y criada en Chile, Isabel Allende es la autora de nueve novelas incluyendo más recientemente Zorro, Retrato en Sepia, Hija de la Fortuna e Inés del Alma Mía. También ha escrito cuentos cortos, tres libros autobiográficos incluyendo Mi País Inventado y Paula, y una trilogía de libros para jóvenes. Sus libros han sido traducidos a más de 27 idiomas y son bestsellers a través del mundo entero. En 2004, fue nombrada a la Academia de Artes y Letras de los Estados Unidos. Vive en California.
 
Published January 1, 2001 by Flamingo. 352 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Romance. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Portrait in Sepia

Kirkus Reviews

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Aurora fondly remembers her gentle grandmother and Chinese grandfather, Tao Chi’en, and doesn’t understand why she was adopted at the tender age of five by her formidable Chilean grandmother Paulina, who ruled the del Valle family and fortune from an opulent Nob Hill mansion during San Francisco’...

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The New York Times

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(Her maternal grandmother figured prominently in Allende's previous novel ''Daughter of Fortune.'') As Aurora slowly uncovers the tales of her family's sordid past, we witness her own unhappy marriage and eventual self-discovery.

Nov 04 2001 | Read Full Review of Portrait in Sepia: A Novel

The Guardian

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Portrait in Sepia Isabel Allende 320pp, Flamingo, £16.99 Isabel Allende's previous book, Daughter of Fortune, was set two centuries ago and largely in her adopted California, as though the author had decided to insert the reverse telescope of time as well as of space between herself an...

Nov 17 2001 | Read Full Review of Portrait in Sepia: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Framed by the social histories of San Francisco, CA, and Santiago, Chile, at the birth of the 20th century, Aurora's tale begins with her birth and flows forward and backward in time, piecing together the stories and secrets of her affluent Chilean family.

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BC Books

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I found myself reading page after page with relish, as I was lead into the world of this turn-of-the-century family, with their adventures spanning three continents.

Jul 30 2011 | Read Full Review of Portrait in Sepia: A Novel

BC Books

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Aurora is part of the fourth generation, but the book begins the narration even before she was born, which comprises the bulk of Part One.

Jul 30 2011 | Read Full Review of Portrait in Sepia: A Novel

Star Tribune

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In this sweeping historical novel, a young woman looks back on her childhood in late-19th-century Chile and San Francisco -- a tale that encompasses war, revolution, family crisis and a big dose of the author's own political agenda.

Nov 03 2001 | Read Full Review of Portrait in Sepia: A Novel

Book Reporter

Isabel Allende's latest novel, PORTRAIT IN SEPIA, is the story of Aurora del Valle, her extraordinary family, her turbulent childhood, and her journey of self-discovery.

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Portrait in Sepia: A Novel

People

Like her novel The House of the Spirits, Allende's new book is spun from the stuff of epic romances: eternal love, lost innocence, distant locales, revolution.

Nov 26 2001 | Read Full Review of Portrait in Sepia: A Novel

The Pacific Northwest Inlander

Fans of The House of the Spirits, one of Allende's early books, will smile when they get to know Severo and Nivea Del Valle, the parents of Clara the clairvoyant, and Rosa, her beautiful and tragic green-haired sister.

Feb 21 2002 | Read Full Review of Portrait in Sepia: A Novel

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