Category Archives: Rhys Jean

The Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende

DATE FINISHED: September 15th, 2011             

RATED: ***(3.5)

SYNOPSIS:  Tete is sold to plantation owner Valmorain when she is a child, as a gift for his new bride.  However as his wife succumbs to illness in the suffocating tropical atmosphere of Saint-Domingue (later Haiti), Valmorain finds additional uses for Tete.  The children she bears & raises for him change the course of both of their lives irrevocably, but Tete waits only for her freedom.  When Valmorain moves to New Orleans to escape the slaves rebellion and danger of Saint-Domingue, Tete’s situation changes again as Valmorain takes a new wife.  But in a new country & a new city, where interactions between the free and slaves, between whites and those of colour are even more complex, Tete and her children have all new challenges and relationships to face.

THOUGHTS:  I was initially taken aback by Allende’s sprawling prose, descriptive and decadent as the tropical climes represented, Read more of this post

The Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

DATE FINISHED: March 10th, 2011

RATED: ****

SYNOPSIS: After a lonely childhood watching her mother’s descent into madness, Antoinette marries an Englishman who has travelled to Jamaica upon invitation by her step-brother. They embark upon a sensual love affair, but soon the village gossip pushes Antoinette’s new husband to the brink of madness himself as he begins to believe the rumours.

THOUGHTS: Read more of this post