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Summary

Bloomsbury presents Violeta by Isabel Allende, read by Yareli Arizmendi.

One extraordinary woman.

One hundred years of history.

One unforgettable story.

Violeta comes into the world on a stormy day in 1920, the first daughter in a family of five boisterous sons. From the start, her life is marked by extraordinary events, for the ripples of the Great War are still being felt, even as the Spanish flu arrives on the shores of her South American homeland almost at the moment of her birth.

Through her father's prescience, the family will come through that crisis unscathed, only to face a new one as the Great Depression transforms the genteel city life she has known. Her family loses all and is forced to retreat to a wild and beautiful but remote part of the country. There, she will come of age, and her first suitor will come calling.

In a letter to someone she loves above all others, Violeta recounts devastating heartbreak and passionate affairs, times of both poverty and wealth, terrible loss and immense joy, and a life shaped by some of the most important events of history: the fight for women's rights, the rise and fall of tyrants and, ultimately, not one but two pandemics. Through the eyes of a woman whose unforgettable passion, determination and sense of humour will carry her through a lifetime of upheaval, Isabel Allende once more brings us an epic that is both fiercely inspiring and deeply emotional.

©2022 Isabel Allende (P)2022 Penguin Random House Audio

Critic reviews

"An icon of world literature." (Khaled Hosseini)

"Allende has everything it takes: the ear, the eye, the mind, the heart, the all-encompassing humanity." (New York Times)

What listeners say about Violeta

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  • Overall
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Good story...

... although the first half had the best story with the more rounded characters. The second half remains good but lost some of the magic of the first half. Allende's story telling and writing remains strong and lyrical.

2 people found this helpful

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Not the usual Allende

I have loved House of Spirits, Eva Luna and early Allende but found this lacks the vibrancy and strong characters of previous works-

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Nice, calm

Nice story and calm to listen to. Keeps the interest through history, just a bit long and linear, and not quite believable that she travels so many places in her hundred years. I’m not sure the format of a ‘letter’ works.

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A must

A beautifully written, eloquent book. A must for anyone who really enjoys reading (or listening).

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Such a waste of time

Having read rapturous reviews of the book, I was really disappointed and irritated by this lazily written and incredibly tedious and flat 1st person narrative which didn't reveal by showing but only by telling, in a shallow stream of events told over a gimmicky period of a 100 year life from pandemic to pandemic. Characters all two dimensional and unable to engage my interest or make me care. The device of the letter to a grandson was implausible in the nature of the content and the infuriating way in which Allende recounted to him, for our benefit, things that he obviously would have known! A wholly inadequate rendition of characters, historical events and landscape that could have been so rich.

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Promised much, delivered little

Definitely not her best. Starts well then tapers off, lots of characters who come and go and often have little part in the proceedings- and not fleshed out. Felt very rambling and drifts, almost like Allende lost interest or had to rush and fill in the pages. Took a lot not to give up on it! Kept hoping it would get better but doesn’t ☹️

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  • AJ
  • 03-04-22

Wonderful story telling combined with historical truths

Beautifully read. Thank you, a pleasure to listen to and such a dramatic and sensitive story.

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Beautiful story

A tranquil, soft yet captivating enough story that made me want to go back and listen at every opportunity. Arizmendi reads with a pleasant and accepting voice- easy to listen and follow.

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Mesmerising

Couldn’t stop listening to it .. enchanting , beautifully flowing and absorbing … loved every single words
Monica