In the Midst of Winter: A Novel (Hardcover)
November 2017 Indie Next List
“By the end of In the Midst of Winter, I felt as though I'd had a south-of-the-border history lesson. The title, which comes from an Albert Camus quote, takes on many meanings in the story. Two NYU professors, Richard Bowmaster and his tenant, Luc?a Maraz, both in their 60s, have each resigned themselves to a ho-hum existence. When a snowstorm accident brings Evelyn Ortega, a housekeeper for a wealthy family, into the picture, these three lives become entangled and anything but boring. The story takes the reader from Brooklyn to Mexico, Guatemala, Chile, and Brazil as the three characters bring their unique histories to the story. Allende's new novel is both a love story and a story of the plight of the immigrant. This is a page-turner and a wonderful book club choice.”
— Mamie Potter (M), Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC
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.
"It’s when revealing the characters’ harrowing past lives in other countries that the generous and unflagging energy that characterized Allende’s debut, The House of the Spirits, can most clearly be felt."
— San Francisco Chronicle
“[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 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
"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."
"A syntactically beautiful story with the twists and turns of a telenovela and warmth at its center."
— Minneapolis Star Tribune
"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
"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
"Isabel Allende brings her poetic and compassionate eye to In the Midst of Winter, [which] is being compared with her masterpiece The House of the Spirits."
— CBS' WATCH! Magazine
"Isabel Allende’s masterful blend of history, suspense, and rising passion makes for yet another riveting novel."
— BBC America
"The contrast of a modern-day mystery with the characters' magical worlds of South American culture, makes In the Midst of Winter an absorbing, page-turning adventure."
"[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
"Filled with Allende's signature lyricism and ingenious plotting, the book delves wonderfully into what it means to respect, protect, and love."
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Allende has a rare and precious gift for simultaneously challenging and entrancing readers by dramatizing with startling intimacy such dire situations as the desperation behind illegal immigration and domestic violence, then reveling, a page later, in spiritual visions or mischievous sexiness or heroic levity."
— Booklist (starred review)
"This winter's tale has something to melt each frozen heart."