New York Times Bestseller
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 accident—which 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 Bowmaster—a 60-year-old human rights scholar—hits the car of Evelyn Ortega—a young, undocumented immigrant from Guatemala—in 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 professor’s house seeking help. At a loss, the professor asks his tenant Lucia Maraz—a 62-year-old lecturer from Chile—for 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 Allende’s 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.
Born in Peru and raised in Chile, Isabel Allende is the author of a number of bestselling and critically acclaimed books, including The House of the Spirits, Eva Luna, Stories of Eva Luna, Of Love and Shadows, and Paula. Her latest novel is The Japanese Lover. Her books have been translated into more than thirty-five languages and have sold more than 65 million copies worldwide. She lives in California. Her website is IsabelAllende.com.
Hometown:San Rafael, California
Date of Birth:August 2, 1942
Place of Birth:Lima, Peru
★ 08/28/2017Publishers Weekly
Grief and loss are transformed into a healing friendship in this fantastic novel from Allende (Zorro). Sixty-year-old scholar Richard Bowmaster and his coworker and tenant, 62-year-old Lucia Maraz, who is a visiting professor at NYU, are faced with a shocking dilemma when a young Guatemalan refugee enters their lives. Set primarily in Brooklyn and upstate New York, the book opens with a minor car collision between Richard and Evelyn Ortega—an undocumented immigrant working for an overbearing employer. Shaken and terrified because she borrowed her employer’s Lexus without his permission, Evelyn comes to Richard’s apartment. Unable to calm her, Richard solicits Lucia to come help and, with a snowstorm raging outside, the three nibble on pot brownies and share stories: Evelyn’s harrowing, tortured childhood at the hands of the MS-13 gang, Lucia’s youth amid the violence of the 1973 Chilean coup. Upon sobering up, Evelyn explains that she cannot return the Lexus, and that there is a dead body in the trunk, presumably murdered by her employer. Richard, having grown up hearing of his father’s escape from the Nazis, has “the idea etched on his mind that to help the persecuted is an inescapable duty.” With the threat that Evelyn could be deported if they notify the authorities, the three quickly plan to dispose of the body in upstate New York, launching a suspenseful, icy adventure. Filled with Allende’s signature lyricism and ingenious plotting, the book delves wonderfully into what it means to respect, protect, and love. (Oct.)
"[Allende] continues to beguile readers with themes of social justice and love, tied together with a bit of magical realism. In this vivid and fast-paced work of fiction, [she] weaves a suspenseful love story, rendering [its] central trio with generosity, spirit, and passion."National Book Reivew
"The lesson is clear in both book and life—passion is possible. So is survival and change and making a difference in the world, in Isabel Allende’s grand and inimitable style."The New Orleans Advocate
“[In the Midst of Winter] forthrightly embraces both harsh realities and whimsy, pleasure and pain in this buoyant adventure, a heartfelt story of resilience and respect that seems just the thing to help us through these darkest of days in our land of exiles.”The Seattle Times
"Allende's latest tale is heartfelt and raw... The interactions between the characters is well thought out and deep. Readers will come to love them and experience the heartbreak and joy both of their past, present, and future."RT Book Reviews
"Allende uses imagination to help readers gain a better understanding of what the immigrant experience is really like for many people in this country."Chicago Reader
"A syntactically beautiful story with the twists and turns of a telenovela and warmth at its center."Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Devotees of Allende’s forays into magical realism (The House of Spirits, The Stories of Eva Luna) will find the universe she creates here—an account of earthly lives lived in an earthly setting—more madcap and macabre."Newsday
"Isabel Allende’s masterful blend of history, suspense, and rising passion makes for yet another riveting novel."BBC America
"Like the incomparable storyteller she is, Isabel Allende does not release us from the novel's spell until the last pages, with a brief but bittersweet hint of her famed magical realism."Miami Herald
“[Allende] is a dazzling storyteller, with a wry, sometimes dark, wit and a great eye for society's changing fashions. She may be writing a fairy tale for adults, but like the best of the genre, it's almost irresistible.”Associated Press Staff
"[An] epic novel from a master of the form."Elle
“With The Japanese Lover, Allende reminds us that, while not everyone has a true love, we all have loves that are true. Whether they be passionate, familial, unrequited or timeless,the one constant in our lives is love. And Isabel Allende celebrates them all, beautifully.”USA Today
"Themes of lasting passion, friendship, reflections in old age, and how people react to challenging circumstances all feature in Allende’s newest saga, which moves from modern San Francisco back to the traumatic WWII years. As always, her lively storytelling pulls readers into her characters’ lives immediately… the story has many heart felt moments, and readers will be lining up for it."Booklist
“With her engaging new novel, “The Japanese Lover,” Allende brings us a tale at once global and rooted deeply in Bay Area history, sweeping through time and across continents to explore the inner lives of two very different women in contemporary California.”San Francisco Chronicle
Praise for The Japanese Lover
"The Japanese Lover is animated by the same lush spirit that has sold 65 million copies of her books around the world... a novel that’s a pleasure to recommend."The Washington Post
"Poignant, powerful ...a timeless world without 'tomorrow or yesterday.'"Boston Globe
"[A] fairy tale of a novel...As in all of Allende's fiction, we find a large, colorful cast of characters..."New York Times Book Review
"Monumental...A multi-generational epic of fate, war, and enduring love."Harper's Bazaar
"Allende's engrossing narrative spans 70 years of tumultuous world history, but the powerful message you'll take away is that love all kinds of love will take root and endure under the most harrowing conditions."Book of the Week People Magazine
"The latest from the writer who's been called Gabriel Garcia Marquez's successor. It's a love story that covers a lot of ground, from Nazi-occupied Poland to present-day San Francisco. You won’t want to put it down."theSkimm
Chilean Lucia Maraz, 61, is a visiting professor at New York University, living half-frozen in the chilly basement apartment owned by her boss Richard Bowmaster, the son of Holocaust survivors. For Richard, who has barely survived a triad of horrible family tragedies, sobriety is one fear-filled day at a time. During a three-day blizzard at the beginning of 2016, Richard accidentally rear-ends the car driven without permission by Evelyn Ortega, a young, undocumented nanny who fled Guatemala after an unspeakable attack. The damage exposes a dead body in the trunk. Wanting to help Evelyn, Richard enlists Lucia's help. The three concoct a mad road trip to an isolated cabin where they plan to dispose of the body, using the bitter cold and snow as cover. In internationally renowned author Allende's latest novel (after The Japanese Lover), three wounded souls, thrown together by a literal and metaphorical collision of events, embark on a journey of self-discovery, emerging love, and the power of learning to trust. VERDICT Allende puts a human face on the realities of illegal immigration, broken hearts, courage, and healing with her signature heart. [See Prepub Alert, 5/15/17.]—Beth Andersen, formerly with Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI
Thrown together by a Brooklyn blizzard, two NYU professors and a Guatemalan nanny find themselves with a body to dispose of. "Blessed with the stoic character of her people, accustomed as they are to earthquakes, floods, occasional tsunamis, and political cataclysm," 61 year-old Chilean academic Lucia Maraz is nonetheless a bit freaked out by a snowstorm so severe that it's reported on television "in the solemn tone usually reserved for news about terrorism in far-off countries." Her landlord and boss, the tightly wound Richard Bowmaster, lives right upstairs with his four cats, but he rebuffs her offer of soup and company. Too bad: she might have a crush on him. Enter Evelyn Ortega, a diminutive young woman from Guatemala Richard meets when he skids into her Lexus on the iced-over streets. Evelyn's hysterical reaction to the fender bender seems crazily out of proportion when she shows up on his doorstep that night, and he has Lucia come up to help him understand why she's so upset. The Lexus, it turns out, belongs to her volatile, violent employer…and there's a corpse in the now-unlatchable trunk. Once Lucia gradually pieces together Evelyn's story—she was smuggled north by a coyote after barely surviving gang violence that killed both of her siblings—the two professors decide to help her, and the plan they come up with is straight out of a telenovela. While that's getting underway, Allende (The Japanese Lover, 2015, etc.) fills in the dark and complicated histories of Richard and Lucia, who also have suffered defining losses. The horrors of Evelyn's past have left her all but mute; Richard is a complete nervous wreck; Lucia fears there is no greater love coming her way than that of her Chihuahua, Marcelo. This winter's tale has something to melt each frozen heart.