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In the Midst of Winter
In the Midst of Winter: A Novel | Isabel Allende
128 posts | 76 read | 3 reading | 91 to read
New York Times and worldwide bestselling dazzling storyteller (Associated Press) Isabel Allende returns with a sweeping novel about three very different people who are brought together in a mesmerizing story that journeys from present-day Brooklyn to Guatemala in the recent past to 1970s Chile and Brazil. In the Midst of Winter begins with a minor traffic accidentwhich becomes the catalyst for an unexpected and moving love story between two people who thought they were deep into the winter of their lives. Richard Bowmastera 60-year-old human rights scholarhits the car of Evelyn Ortegaa young, undocumented immigrant from Guatemalain the middle of a snowstorm in Brooklyn. What at first seems just a small inconvenience takes an unforeseen and far more serious turn when Evelyn turns up at the professors house seeking help. At a loss, the professor asks his tenant Lucia Maraza 62-year-old lecturer from Chilefor her advice. These three very different people are brought together in a mesmerizing story that moves from present-day Brooklyn to Guatemala in the recent past to 1970s Chile and Brazil, sparking the beginning of a long overdue love story between Richard and Lucia. Exploring the timely issues of human rights and the plight of immigrants and refugees, the book recalls Allendes landmark novel The House of the Spirits in the way it embraces the cause of humanity, and it does so with passion, humor, and wisdom that transcend politics (Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post). In the Midst of Winter will stay with you long after you turn the final page.
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megnews
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I‘ve just posted the questions, taken from the book, for #OverBookedClub discussion using spoilers. See my page for the questions. Join in when you can. Anything else you‘d like to discuss? Thanks for reading along!

Kdgordon88 I originally DNF‘d this book about halfway through. I kept getting lost and it seemed so improbable but I kept wondering how it all turned out so went back and finished. Did it ever tell how his cat that was ill fated? If it did, I missed it. 3w
megnews @Kdgordon88 not that I recall now that you mention it. 3w
32 likes2 comments
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megnews
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mrp27 I think this quote was fitting and I liked how thy all found their inner summer to carry on. Evelyn, faith in her spiritual journey, Richard allowing himself to live again by forgiveness and Lucia just being open and accepting. 3w
IndoorDame I expected the inner summer metaphor to seem cliché, but it worked for me. She did a good job of capturing how brutal NYC winters can seem when you don‘t have the resources you need, so coming out of that it made sense for them to come alive again. 3w
megnews @mrp27 @IndoorDame I think the most profound change was Richard. He was like an iceberg breaking apart. 2w
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megnews
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sblbooks I don't think there's an age limit. As long as you are of a sound mind, anything's possible. It' more common to delay milestones such as getting married or having children today. 3w
mrp27 No one is ever too old to do anything, especially now a days. Love just looks different when your older. 3w
Bookwormjillk One of my favorite things about this book was that the relationship was allowed to exist without focus on age. 3w
megnews @Bookwormjillk I agree. At times you were reminded of their age, especially when you realized how much life they‘d lived. But Lucia was definitely young at heart and I think she brought that out in Richard too. 3w
IndoorDame I love seeing older women as the main characters in books. Especially when they‘re vibrant people falling in love and subverting stereotypes. It‘s still WAY too rare. 3w
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megnews
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Bookwormjillk Richard‘s dependence on routine and strict diet were very telling I thought. 3w
megnews @Bookwormjillk yes! And his gastro problems when he ate anything outside the norm. 3w
Butterfinger I had forgotten about his stomach issues. 2w
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megnews
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megnews Evelyn is just looked at as the hired help. Invisible. Richard made a choice to isolate himself to not feel or get hurt. I liked the way the story unfolded and they each had someone other than themselves to rely on. 3w
sblbooks The road trip really brought all three of them together. It made them realize they had to depend on other people. 3w
mrp27 By sharing their traumas they realize they have so much in common and they can finally relate to one another and in the end they are no longer strangers to one another. 3w
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IndoorDame @mrp27 @sblbooks @megnews I agree. It‘s as if they were keeping themselves isolated from other people as much as other people were ignoring them, and once they opened up to each other they saw that letting people in wasn‘t something to avoid. 3w
megnews @mrp27 this made me think about the wasted time and opportunity. If only Richard had let Lucia in sooner. Glad they finally found their way to each other through this crazy situation. 2w
shellleigh33 I have to agree with all the comments on here. I believe Evelyn is a stranger to the people she works for bc she does not speak the language and is all alone in the city. As said, she is hired help and slips under the radar. Richard is a recluse that chooses to isolate himself. Each one has a guard up for one reason or another. I was glad that they was all brought together, even if it was through a tragedy, to find love and friendship. 7d
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megnews This entire situation was crazy for them to get involved in the first place but I do understand that they thought Evelyn would be blamed rather than the correct party. By that point, I‘m not sure what I would do to be honest because the son only has that one parent to care for him. Messy situation 3w
sblbooks That's a hard question for me to answer. I can't imagine anything like this remotely happening in my real life. Also, I've never felt like I couldn't call the police. I would like to think I would at least report the death of anonymously. 3w
Kdgordon88 I think the whole thing is outlandish. I cannot imagine where something like this would really happen. Why couldn‘t they have helped Evelyn get to the daughter or to leave the country without trying to dispose of the car and body? 3w
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mrp27 Agreed this plot line was completely outlandish and it‘s what made me not love the book. I can‘t ever imagine not involving the police. But in the spirit of the book I agree with Lucia and their involvement. 3w
megnews @Kdgordon88 @mrp27 there were a couple moments where I said this is crazy and I don‘t think two highly educated people with reputations on the line would do this. Surely they could find another way to help Evelyn. But I decided to suspend my disbelief and go along for the ride. I did enjoy getting to know each character more. 3w
Bookwormjillk I agree with @mrp27 It was a pretty outlandish plot, but if it did happen I agree with Lucia. 3w
mrp27 @megnews I definitely liked their back stories instead of their present story. 3w
IndoorDame The plot was a bit outlandish, but I can easily see not feeling like you can involve the police, but I‘m also not sure if I could personally bring myself to get involved in something like that unless it was for a close friend or family member… 3w
Butterfinger I agree with the strange plot. I thought it was outrageous, but you don't get many books with characters who are 60+. 2w
katy4peas I felt it was a strange plot as well, although I understand the possibility of not wanting to call the police. Being white, I don‘t have that fear and can call for help. Being an undocumented immigrant… that could easily be different. However, two professors should have more contacts and be able to give her better help. 🤷‍♀️ 2w
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megnews
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megnews I was surprised she agreed to go with him and I knew it wouldn‘t work out well. I feel so awful for her. 3w
Kdgordon88 Richard was really a sh**. I don‘t feel like he tried very hard to help Anita once they were away from her family. 3w
mrp27 I was surprised too that Anita went to NY. I was thinking he was going to abandon her. I think it would have been better if he did. He did a total disservice to her by bringing her. The only excuse I can think of for him is he was in the depths of alcoholism. Otherwise not a wise decision. 3w
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megnews @mrp27 totally agree! 3w
Bookwormjillk I agree that she would have been much better off if he had just abandoned her. 3w
Butterfinger I'm so glad I am not the only one who thinks Richard was a jerk. 2w
shellleigh33 I totally agree with @mrp27 I believe he was selfish in bringing her with him. I felt like he was only thinking of himself and not what was best for his wife. 7d
megnews @shellleigh33 agreed again. That aspect of the story really bothered me. 4d
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megnews
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megnews People can resent “meddling” in laws but they took care of her as she needed and in so many ways Richard couldn‘t or wouldn‘t because of his own sorrow. 3w
sblbooks I understand that Anita's family was close-knit and that they did what they thought was best for her. However, in the long run I don't think it was. I'm not surprised at all that Richard was resentful of them. 3w
Kdgordon88 In taking care of Anita they shut him out so there was no opportunity for them to heal together. Granted Richard could have done more to facilitate that but so could have Anita‘s family. 3w
mrp27 Agree with everything said above. I think he resented more the shutting out than the meddling. 3w
Butterfinger I agree with Megan. I could never forgive my drunk husband. Never. 2w
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megnews
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megnews Bibi‘s death really broke me. I had to stop the audio for a minute because it hurt so much. 3w
sblbooks I felt so bad for both of them. When their son died, Anita's family just completely took over. Then Richard pulled away from his family. I had a bad feel on something was gonna happen, but like @Megnews Bibi's death was just too much. 3w
mrp27 They both shut completely down but in different ways. Anita turned inward and Richard outward with alcohol sex and drugs. Was sad to see Anita‘s family shut Richard out. That didn‘t help matters. 3w
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Butterfinger It was too much. 2w
shellleigh33 Everyone handles loss differently and this book showed that. Both of these people handled it in unhealthy ways and turned from each other instead of leaning on each other for comfort (edited) 7d
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megnews
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megnews I‘m not really animal person but this is a funny question to me because it was very clear to me from the beginning that the cats were exactly right for Richard. They didn‘t require much or need to be dawned over. Lucia relationship with her dog was perfect as well because it reminded me of how so many people with little dogs are with them. 3w
sblbooks Cats and dogs are totally different just as Richard and Lucia are different. I like that deep down Richard really does care for his animals. He's just trying to keep anyone, or anything at an arm's length. 3w
mrp27 I‘m a dog person and I chuckled at this. I‘m more like Lucia, I dote on my pup. The cats make sense for Richard as they don‘t need him as much and he can‘t give them much. Again through Marcelo, Lucia shows her capacity for love. 3w
Butterfinger I can't add, but I am glad the author had Richard be a responsible pet owner. He looked for the cause of poison and took him to the vet. 2w
katy4peas I think Richard kept the cats at arms length possibly because he was afraid of loving anything and hurting them like he did his family. He gave them minimal care but was afraid of getting attached. 2w
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megnews Her grandmother really raised her so she passed down strength. Her mother leaving to go to the US ended up giving her an opportunity to leave when she needed to. 3w
sblbooks @megnews yes, I believe her grandmother was truly a mother to her. I understand why her mother thought she had to leave. It was sad that they were not able to build a close relationship. 3w
mrp27 I agree it was sad that Evelyn never connected with her mother and that they remained strangers in a sense. Her grandmother was her mother figure that gave her spiritual guidance and direction. 3w
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Butterfinger @mrp27 @sblbooks as Evelyn was leaving, I hoped please don't let the mother have a second family. I've never been in such a situation, thank goodness, but I can imagine the hurt feelings when the first child (ren) escape to America only to find another family. I know I have been influenced by other similar nonfiction books. I cannot think of the title right now. 2w
mrp27 @Butterfinger I agree, that would be devastating. 2w
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katy4peas Lucia is isolated from her own family as well. I think this book does a great job of showing how all three are islotes in their lives and then are brought together through their stories and one incident. 3w
megnews @katy4peas I agree. The sense of isolation at the beginning of the book was palpable but over time that changed. 3w
mrp27 Lucia is also isolated from her country same as Evelyn and like Richard is isolated in her own home. Out of the three I think she is the most spirited in the sense that she seems most willing to break from her isolation where as the others don‘t. 3w
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megnews @mrp27 I agree. I don‘t think her isolation is self imposed like richards at all. I think Evelyn‘s isolation comes from her stutter. 3w
IndoorDame @megnews I was pleased to see this element brought in, because I think isolation stemming from disability is something we don‘t consider enough. 3w
megnews @IndoorDame I agree. We really saw the effects of isolation during Covid. 2w
Butterfinger @IndoorDame @mrp27 @katy4peas I was thinking the breast cancer isolated Lucia. Their each individual traumatizing experiences left them in a place where trusting is just too dang hard. 2w
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IndoorDame
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Pickpick

This one definitely surprised me, so I‘m excited it‘s one I get to see what others thought about it. #OverBookedClub @megnews #AuthorAMonth @Soubhiville #WinterGames2021 #TeamGameSleighers @StayCurious

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megnews
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Pickpick

Wow. It was not what I was expecting. It takes a lot for a book to make me tear up and this did so that‘s saying something. That‘s my last book of the year for an even 310. Looking forward to #OverBookedClub discussion tomorrow.
Glad for this introduction to Allende for this month‘s #AuthorAMonth

TheBookHippie I read the ARC of this tagged one and I was hooked on her books I always have one on my kindle to read 3w
Soubhiville 310, I‘m impressed! I‘m glad you enjoyed it! 3w
Chrissyreadit You are a reading machine! Amazing 😘 3w
Crazeedi Oh man I have this ebook and haven't read yet!! I will definitely read and join in later. Sorry I'm so behind this month 3w
megnews @Crazeedi no problem! Happens to me too. Join in when you can. I‘ll stop back to respond. 3w
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Bookwormjillk
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Pickpick

It took me nearly half the book to get into this, but once I did I liked it a lot. Three troubled people work together to hide a body after a random encounter. It wasn‘t as gruesome as it sounds, and I really ended up liking the characters.

#AuthorAMonth

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katy4peas
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Mehso-so

An interesting book where 3 people are connected by an accident and get to know and care for each other thru the sharing of their pasts and a connected present. They cover up a crime in order to make things right and help someone they like. #immigrants #trafficking #family #overbookedclub

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Bookwormjillk
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Just started this and already I‘m hungry.

BiblioLitten Oh that looks like comfort food 🥰 1mo
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Eggs
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Pickpick

Three lives collide, then intertwine, on a snowy night in Brooklyn. Three tales unfold with clarity and love…
Title is based on this quote from Albert Camus “In the midst of winter, I finally found there was within me an invincible summer.”
#authoramonth2021 @Soubhiville
#bookspinbingo @TheAromaofBooks

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CoffeeNBooks
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Sitting outside reading In the Midst of Winter, in the midst of winter... which here in Florida means it's 82 degrees and almost too hot to sit outside. It's hard to envision the snowstorm I'm reading about, lol! 😂
#AuthorAMonth @Soubhiville

AmyG Ha! Come here. It‘s 16 degrees and snow all around. 1mo
kplovesbooks I feel you! I live in Florida too. We just have to READ about that kind of cold to make it feel like winter! 🤣 1mo
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Butterfinger
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Pickpick

I thought this was brilliant. A story with characters of an advanced age find themselves embroiled in a nail biting adventure to help a young immigrant. The stories of the three main characters help to form an unbreakable bond. #OverbookedClub @megnews @sblbooks #AuthorAMonth @Soubhiville

Soubhiville Oooo, that sounds really good! Headed to see if my library has it. Thanks! 1mo
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megnews
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Reminder on #OverBookedClub‘s December pick. Due to the December calendar, I will be posting questions early afternoon Friday December 31. Join in conversation when you can. All are welcome! If you aren‘t tagged and would like to be, let me know.

Crazeedi I have the book on loan from library! 2mo
TheBookHippie Sounds good. 2mo
kspenmoll Please add me! 2mo
catebutler Just starting this evening! 2mo
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sblbooks
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#DecemberTBR page 2 of 2 It's going to be all Christmas Books all month long! In The Midst of Winter is the #OverBookedClub selection for December. The rest are books available at my library. I will read as many of these as I can.
#WinterGames2021
#Teamgamesleighers @StayCurious

Kdgordon88 What a great looking bunch of books to choose from. Yay #TeamGameSleighers! 2mo
sblbooks @Kdgordon88 Thanks!🎄 2mo
StayCurious Great book choices! 2mo
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megnews
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And #OverBookedClub December pick is…
In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende.
All are welcome to join!
Please let me know below if you‘d like to be tagged on posts for this #buddyread.

sblbooks Yes, please😊 3mo
Chrissyreadit I‘m in. 3mo
Butterfinger Yes. Please. 3mo
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shellleigh33 Sounds great. Count me in 3mo
katy4peas Yes, please! 3mo
Kdgordon88 I‘m in! 3mo
mrp27 I have this on my tbr, count me in. 3mo
catebutler Can‘t wait! 3mo
Readswithcoffee I will try to get this. 3mo
JaclynW Count me in. December is busy for me but I'd love to read this and try to get to discussions. Thanks! 3mo
Crazeedi I'm going to look for it! Thanks!! 3mo
Bookwormjillk Count me in please 2mo
LibrarianRyan 👍 😁 2mo
IndoorDame Sounds great! 2mo
Chrissyreadit I‘m planning to 2mo
TheBookHippie Looks good! 2mo
megnews @Soubhiville thanks for sharing! 2mo
megnews @Bookwormjillk I added you to the list! 2mo
Crazeedi I have it on my kindle, borrowed from library! 2mo
Lcsmcat I probably won‘t reread it, but I may join in the discussion, if that‘s ok. 2mo
megnews @Lcsmcat absolutely! 2mo
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Purpleness
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archaeolibrarianologist In the south, that's just xmas. I'd be more surprised if I had to wear a jacket than wearing flip-flops. 🤣 5mo
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CoffeeNBooks
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Eggs Lovely choice👏🏻🎶📚❄️ 13mo
75 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Eggs
In the Midst of Winter | Isabel Allende
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LatrelWhite
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Starting tomorrow...Isabel Allende I really like her books!💗

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Susanita
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In 2018 #IsabelAllende was scheduled to speak at the National Book Festival, but she had to cancel. While I was very disappointed I didn‘t get to see her, I appreciated the unexpected hole in my schedule so that I could go to the Louise Penny session with my sister.

This year the festival will be virtual. Neither of them is scheduled to speak, but there‘s a long list of other authors who‘ll “be” there. #AugustAuthors

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squirrelbrain
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Pickpick

I read (most of) this today whilst at the hairdressers getting my grey bits hidden 5 months after my last appointment!

The current day story felt a little bit far-fetched but I liked the MCs‘ background stories.

I substituted this on #bookspinbingo as the other Allende I had on my list seemed to be a sequel when I read the blurb on the back.

Oryx I've done 3 self fringe cuts so far. My hairdressers will probably cry. Got an appointment at end of the month - looking forward to it. 2y
TrishB Jealous! Couldn‘t get an app until 24 July! Can‘t wait. 2y
TrishB @Oryx I haven‘t cut mine, but it has had 2 home colours! 2y
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MsMelissa I‘ve not bothered to get mine cut yet, basically because I will likely not be back in an office environment until next year, and it‘s way easier to take care of when I can just put it up in a ponytail 🤣 Sadly, I‘m allergic to hair dye, so I‘ve had to come to accept my ever increasing grey hair 👩‍🦳 2y
squirrelbrain @Oryx @TrishB @Book_Fiend_Melissa - my husband cut mine early on in lockdown and the hairdresser said he hadn‘t done a ‘bad‘ job (damning with faint praise!). I hadn‘t coloured it, and actually didn‘t mind it so much. The hairdresser said loads of people have asked to go more natural and / or are leaving it longer until their next appointment. 2y
Oryx @squirrelbrain @Book_Fiend_Melissa I've gone about 2 years now without dying, and really like the grey. It's free highlights! And totally in fashion these days 😎 2y
squirrelbrain I love your hair @Oryx ! 2y
Oryx @squirrelbrain you're so nice. Thank you. You haven't seen my fringe recently though...😬 2y
squirrelbrain @oryx 🤣🤣🤣 2y
TrishB I haven‘t seen my hair colour since I was about 12 and have no reason to want to 😁 2y
TheAromaofBooks I feel you on the sequels!! Sometimes they are sneaky and it's hard to tell that they actually follow another book. That drives me crazy!! 2y
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Sapphire
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Started this book tonight and now I have to make a cazuela

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QueenG
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Pickpick

The Great Gatsby
The Catcher in the Rye
The Nightingale
Collected Stories
To Kill a Mockingbird
In the Midst of Winter

#isabelallende #harperlee #gabrielgarciamarquez #harperlee #jdsalinger #kristinhannah #fscottfitzgerald

SW-T A belated welcome to Litsy! 🥳 2y
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DyAnne
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“No one is illegal in this life, we all have the right to live in this world. Money and crime do not respect borders. I ask you, sir, why we human beings should do so?”

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jen_the_scribe
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Pickpick

Once again, Isabel Allende swept me away, had me yearning for her words when life bade me to put the book down. Three very different people come together in this story, showing in a profound way that despite the tragedies and obstacles that life throws our way, we can find one another and form bonds that get us through. "The only cure for so much misfortune is love." - Lucia, In the Midst of Winter, by Isabel Allende

Sapphire Allende is one of my favorite authors. Starting this tonight. 2y
jen_the_scribe @Sapphire You'll love it, I'm sure. She's my favorite author as well 😁 2y
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jen_the_scribe

"For the first time in her life, she felt her own soul as an incandescent light within her, sustaining her, an eternal light that could not be affected by the urgencies of existence. She found a point of absolute calm at the very center of herself."

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jen_the_scribe
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Excited for this one. Isabel Allende is one of those authors that I'll buy her new books without even knowing anything about it. I have several of her books on my shelf and they never disappoint.

LapReader Me too. 2y
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jen_the_scribe
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I've read quite a few nonfiction books over the past couple of months. I'm ready for my fill of fiction, but what to read first? Decisions, decisions...

Scochrane26 I haven‘t read any of those besides Good Omens, which I think is really funny. I did read Erica Swyler‘s Light from Other Stars for book club & really liked it. 2y
jen_the_scribe @Scochrane26 Good to know! 2y
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NotLiketheRoad
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Crazeedi Hi Pittsburgh! 2y
Aimeesue #Pibbles are the best! ❤️❤️❤️ 2y
88 likes2 comments
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MelKelsey
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Panpan

I listened to this story of three people coming together to hide a body that none of them killed. Coming from Guatemala, Chile, and the U
S., they all have difficult backstories that the book flashes between. There was nothing wrong with the book per se, but I wasn't engaged in the story or invested in the characters.

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jen_the_scribe
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Anything by Isabel Allende automatically goes on my TBR list lol.

LapReader Me too. 3y
jen_the_scribe @LapReader She's amazing 😊 3y
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KarenO
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It‘s been too long since I‘ve read Allende and she‘s one of my favorites so this is tonight‘s bedtime reading. Sweet dreams!

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LeslieO
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#currentread Hopefully I'll be seeing signs of spring by the time I finish this one

Blueberry Is this a new Allende? How is it? 3y
LeslieO @Blueberry it's from 2018, I'm loving it so far! 3y
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MirrorMask
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Pickpick

“The only cure for so much misfortune is love. It‘s not the force of gravity that keeps the universe in balance, but the binding power of love.”

This is my first Allende novel, and I honestly don‘t know what has taken me so long to read her work. This is what I love about reading challenges! I love stories like this one when strangers/acquaintances bond over a shared event.

#HistoricalRomancebyAOC #ReadHarder #ReadHarder2019

AlaMich In The House of the Spirits was also an amazing book of hers. But whatever you do, DO NOT watch the movie. It‘s terrible. 3y
MirrorMask @AlaMich 😂😊 Don't watch the movie, got it. 3y
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MirrorMask
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1. Tagged book and Sorcery & Cecilia
2. My last five star read was my reread of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban before that was The Yellow Wallpaper
3. “I can't go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.” - Alice in Wonderland

@rachelsbrittain #WeekendReads

merelybookish Great quote! 3y
64 likes1 comment
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IuliaC
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Being in the middle of winter here makes this prose all the more emotionally shaking

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underground_bks
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Mehso-so

I admire and respect Isabel Allende very much. Unfortunately, I was disappointed by this read. The tone feels very uneven, sometimes dark and other times almost flippantly lighthearted, especially with the seriousness of the ordeal that brings the three characters together and the horrors of their pasts. A lot of details are repeated, which made it feel a little unedited to me. Overall, it just didn‘t feel very crafted, polished, or intentional.