by Isabel Allende
The story begins in Haiti shortly before the French Revolution and follows Zarité, bought as a child to be the personal slave of a wealthy sugar cane plantation owner's new wife, through her experiences and relationships. I loved the historical aspect of this book, from the heartbreaking descriptions of the horrendous treatment of sugar plantation slaves, the Slave Revolt and political upheaval of Haiti during this time period, to the culture of New Orleans when the story shifts to America. I was astounded by how much abuse and injustice Zarité could experience without becoming bitter and vengeful, instead forging loving and parental-like bonds with her mistress and her owner's son. I also love how Isabel Allende brings her characters to life and makes me care about them, root for them, and cry for them when their lives take tragic turns.