Island Beneath the Sea: A Novel
Title: Island Beneath the Sea: A Novel
Author: Isabel Allende
In a novel where the setting moves from the sugar plantations of Saint-Domingue to the lavish parlors of New Orleans at the turn of the 19th century, an African slave and concubine is determined to claim her own destiny against impossible odds. By the author of The Sum of Our Days.
Born a slave on the island of Saint-Domingue, ZaritÉ—known as TÉtÉ—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, TÉtÉ finds solace in the traditional rhythms of African drums and in the voodoo loas she discovers through her fellow 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 TÉtÉ 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.