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In the midst of winter : a novel
2017
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Genre
Romance
Fiction
Historical
Topics
Human rights
Politics
Immigrants
Refugees
War
Setting
New York - Mid-Atlantic States (U.S.)
Brazil - South America / Latin America
Time Period
1970's-2000s -- 20th-21st century
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Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

A big bang brings together two professors, an illegal immigrant, and a frozen corpse during a 2016 blizzard. Professor Richard Bowmaster rear-ends a Lexus driven by Guatemalan nanny Evelyn Ortega, who then appears that evening at Richard's brownstone with a harrowing tale that requires Richard to call up his basement tenant, fellow professor Lucia Maraz, to help. Over the next few days, the trio will attempt to solve a murder, two will fall in love, one will need to disappear, and another will need to find resting peace. Dennis Boutsikaris presents Richard with equal parts dignity and desperation, revealing a past filled with selfish decisions, lost relationships, and self-imposed isolation. Alma Cuervo becomes Lucia, her voice rich and melodious, buoyant and solemn, as she shares the teacher's Chilean past, her family nearly destroyed by deception and violence. Jasmine Cephas Jones assumes Evelyn's horrific losses of siblings and culture-perhaps even her sanity-with compassion and grace. VERDICT The terrific triad bring gentle nuance and empathic energy to Allende's latest best seller; libraries will want to be prepared with all formats to meet high demand. ["Allende puts a human face on the realities of illegal immigration, broken hearts, courage, and healing": LJ 11/1/17 review of the Atria hc.]-Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon, -Washington, DC © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

The audiobook of Allende's latest novel employs the vocals of three actors with mixed results. Actor Boutsikaris is a master of tempo, and her well-tempered reading here keeps listeners fastened to the story. Jones and Cuervo, on the other hand, tend to enunciate too carefully, obstructing Allende's rhythms and causing listeners to focus on individual words rather than the story as a whole. That said, the three actors convincingly portray the three protagonists of Allende's story, all of whom cross paths in Brooklyn. Each is scarred by experiences related to the Latin American political landscape of the 1970s: NYU professor Richard Bowmaster is a human rights scholar who has worked in Brazil; his tenant, Lucia Maraz, is a visiting professor from Chile; and Evelyn Ortega is an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala who crashes into Richard's car while driving her employer's Lexus on a snowy day. The book includes a somewhat awkward mixture of light romantic comedy and heavy personal and political tragedies-the Pinochet years, the terror of MS-13, the plight of immigrants, and the hideous business of sex slavery in the U.S. The readers are sweet in the romantic parts, but Allende's minute descriptions of violent personal and political events are harder to follow. An Atria hardcover. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Summary
New York Times Bestseller <br> <br> 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.<br> <br> 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.<br> <br> 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.
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