Twenty-year-old Toulouse Valmorain comes to Saint-Dominigue in 1770. It's as if he's a contemporary financier who is coming to Manhattan to become a billionaire. With a bevy of powdered wigs in his baggage, he comes to run his father's plantation, Saint Lazare. The work is hard, more difficult than he could have been prepared to expect. For eight years, he works his tail off, also trying to find the perfect mate for the perfect marriage, which proves much harder than he could have imagined. Of course, there are complications where Tété is involved -- his dependence on her frightens him and makes some of his choices harrowing. Tété is also determined to find her own true love, and so ISLAND BENEATH THE SEA ponders their futures over four very different decades.
And so ISLAND BENEATH THE SEA is a tale of poetics and cruelty. and how the two together can often coalesce into something like a diamond --- sharp but shining, an example of the hard fight won. Allende just keeps getting better, and this epic will surely find its way into many a summer tote bag.