By Isabel Allende
HarperCollins, 2006, 321 pages, Historical Fiction
This is the story of Doña Inés Suárez, the founding mother of Chile. Stretching from her humble beginnings as a wife and seamstress in Spain, to her subsequent journey to the new world to find her husband, to her long life and all the trials, tribulations, and victories she endured. Upon arriving in Peru, Inés discovers her faithless husband has died an ignoble death in battle, whereupon she determines to make a life by herself in the new world. Soon she meets and falls in love with a dashing conquistador, Don Pedro de Valdivia. Together they risk everything in their quest to conquer Chile in the name of Spain, convert the natives to Christianity, and establish a civilized society based on their Christian ideals. A sweeping and often brutal saga of two larger than life historical figures.