A Portrait in Sepia – by Isabel Allende
Like all of Isabel Allende’s novels, Portrait in Sepia provides a mix of magic and realism that leaves you breathless. There is a mystery in this novel that warms you heart to the main character, Aurora del Valle – she is beautiful and passionate and sad. It is the sadness inside that touched me the most as the novel unravelled the story of her life and revealed the warm, talented woman within.
Set against a backdrop of 19th Century Chile, Portrait in Sepia takes place in a brutal world where men’s lives are expendable and women are their possessions. Yet, despite this, Isabel Allende populates her novel with such vibrant women that they feel more than just real to the reader – they make me see myself and the world around me.
I don’t know if Isabel Allende is deliberately feminist in her writing – and I’m sure she is – but the stories she tells of womens’ past are the stories that history as written by men forgot to tell. These are the stories of childbirth and blood, loss, heartbreak, of women that live with such passion that they burn bright. Aurora del Valle is one of these women and I fell in love with her as I have fallen in love with all of Isabel Allende’s novels.