Books by Margaret Sayers Peden

INFINITY IN THE PALM OF HER HAND by Gioconda Belli
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: March 10, 2009

"A realistic portrayal of the children of a laissez-faire God."
Belli (The Scroll of Seduction, 2007, etc.) profiles the First Woman. Read full book review >
THE SUM OF OUR DAYS by Isabel Allende
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 1, 2008

"A turbulent life to be both pitied and envied, and a book to be savored and reread."
Loving tribute to an unorthodox family. Read full book review >
THE PAINTER OF BATTLES by Arturo Pérez-Reverte
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 15, 2008

"Pérez-Reverte ends the novel imaginatively, but not soon enough to rescue it from portentousness and redundancy. The author has done and can do better than this."
Dialectic replaces drama in a different kind of historical suspense novel, an international bestseller published in the U.S. for the first time, from the Spanish author (The Queen of the South, 2004, etc.). Read full book review >
THE SUN OVER BREDA by Arturo Pérez-Reverte
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 5, 2007

"Don't miss the exciting conclusions."
The siege of the Dutch city of Breda in the late-16th century near the end of the Hundred Years' War is the subject of this third installment in Pérez-Reverte's five-volume saga. Read full book review >
INÉS OF MY SOUL by Isabel Allende
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 7, 2006

"Turgid and detached—homework masquerading as epic."
Chilean author Allende (Zorro, 2005, etc.) recounts the life of a national heroine in this historical novel. Read full book review >
THE VALLEY OF THE WOLVES by Laura Gallego Garcia
FANTASY
Released: April 1, 2006

"Nonetheless, though shallow as a novel, Dana's story makes a sweet fairytale. (Fantasy. 9-12)"
Beautiful elves, loyal dwarves, secret unicorns and vengeful ghosts pepper this colorful but hollow coming-of-age fairytale. Read full book review >
ZORRO by Isabel Allende
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 4, 2005

"Allende's tale risks but resists descending into melodrama at every turn. The up-to-date, even postmodern ending makes for a nice touch, too, and will gladden the heart of anyone ready in his or her heart to carve a few Zs into the bad guys."
A graceful imagining of the saber-wielding, justice-dispensing freedom fighter of yore. Read full book review >
CAPTAIN ALATRISTE by Arturo Pérez-Reverte
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 2005

"A pleasure of swash, buckle and atmosphere, along with tidy infomercials on topics such as the poetry, theater and the traditions of the day."
The first of a projected five historicals from Pérez-Reverte (The Queen of the South, 2004, etc.) about the dashing fighter and gallant Alatriste. Read full book review >
KINGDOM OF THE GOLDEN DRAGON by Isabel Allende
ADVENTURE
Released: May 1, 2004

"Awkward and overly expository prose makes this otherwise promising offering waver between magical adventure and social-studies lesson. (Fiction. 13-15)"
The adolescent heroes of City of the Beasts are off for another journey with primitive peoples and spectacular creatures in this clunky sequel. Read full book review >
SEPHARAD by Antonio Muñoz Molina
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Dec. 1, 2003

"Beautifully constructed and very rich but, still, tales with a narrow focus that may seem foreign and strange to the majority of American readers."
Seventeen stories, most portraying historical figures trapped in the political convulsions of the 1930s and '40s, by award-winning Spanish novelist Muñoz Molina. Read full book review >
MY INVENTED COUNTRY by Isabel Allende
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 1, 2003

"Dazzling as a kaleidoscope: an artful tumbling and knocking that throws light and reveals strange depths."
"I can't be objective where Chile is concerned," writes novelist Allende (City of the Beasts, 2002, etc.) in this evocative and, yes, highly personal, social geography cum memoir. Read full book review >
CITY OF THE BEASTS by Isabel Allende
ADVENTURE
Released: Nov. 1, 2002

"Whether this is the fault of the original writing or the translation from the Spanish is immaterial; this flaw, combined with the general pointlessness of the plot, makes this offering—all 416 pages of it—an excruciating experience. (Fiction. 10+)"
A moody American teen finds himself up the Amazon without a paddle in this aimlessly meandering and cliché-ridden fantasy. Read full book review >
PORTRAIT IN SEPIA by Isabel Allende
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 28, 2001

"Though her narrative spans nearly 50 years of Chilean and American history, it's Allende's remarkable flair for character that makes it all come alive."
Complex, intriguing, ambitious, and uneven sequel to Oprah selection Daughter of Fortune (1999), continuing the story of Eliza Sommers, as told by her granddaughter, Aurora del Valle. Read full book review >
THE NAUTICAL CHART by Arturo Pérez-Reverte
Released: Oct. 1, 2001

"A classic of its genre, equal to the best of Eric Ambler and Patrick O'Brian—and, beyond genre, not far below the levels and depths plumbed by Melville and Conrad themselves."
This marvelous thriller—a seafaring mystery that pointedly evokes the immortal romances of Melville, Stevenson, and Conrad—is the fifth (and best) fiction in English translation yet from the very popular Spanish author of The Club Dumas (1997) and The Seville Communion (1998). Read full book review >
INEZ by Carlos Fuentes
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 2001

""What was there between them," Fuentes's narrator asks, "that thwarted the continuation of what had been and prevented the occurrence of what never was?" If that makes sense to you, you'll probably enjoy Inez."
The power of music, and the passions aroused by the artistic impulse, are given inexplicably murky expression in this very odd, somewhat disappointing latest from Fuentes (The Years with Laura Díaz, 2000, etc.). Read full book review >
ANTIGUA AND MY LIFE BEFORE by marcela Serrano
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 1, 2000

"Only intermittently compelling."
This exploration of the mysteries of womanhood, artistic and political commitment, and identity focuses on the lifelong symbiotic friendship between rootless artist-architect Violeta Dasinski and famous pop singer Josefa Ferrer, who tells their story. Read full book review >
DAUGHTER OF FORTUNE by Isabel Allende
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 10, 1999

"With this novel, the same may not be said of readers who enjoy Allende's fiction. (Book-of-the-Month Club dual main selection; author tour)"
Allende's first novel in six years (The Infinite Plan, 1993, etc.) delivers her gentle, often plush style at extravagant length to tell the life of Eliza Sommers, a Chilean woman who immigrates to San Francisco in the 1840s. Read full book review >
APHRODITE by Isabel Allende
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: April 1, 1998

"Her tact amplifies the eros that pornography kills. ($125,000 ad/promo; radio satellite tour)"
An elegant grandmother ponders the erotic side of food and the most delicious aspects of eros. Read full book review >
PAULA by Isabel Allende
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 2, 1995

"A fascinating window into the creative world of Allende, who, with dignity and courage, tells her life's story as reflected through the tragic death of her daughter."
In her first nonfiction work, Allende (The Infinite Plan, 1993, etc.) produces a beautiful and deeply personal account of the process of grieving and the power of stories. Read full book review >
THE INFINITE PLAN by Isabel Allende
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1993

"Potentially original characters, denied their own voices as the writer does the telling, are ultimately overwhelmed by sentimental and overwrought gush. (First printing of 100,000)"
The first North America-set novel by Allende (The Stories of Eva Luna, 1991, etc.) begins with a beguiling freshness that rapidly degenerates into boring leftist commentary-cum-melodrama— in a plot that goes on and on until it mercifully fizzles out in platitudes. Read full book review >
THE STORIES OF EVA LUNA by Isabel Allende
FICTION & LITERATURE

"Allende can do better."
A collection of magical-realist short stories narrated by Allende's recent heroine, Eva Luna (Eva Luna, 1988; Of Love and Shadows, 1987; The House of Spirits, 1985), which are set in nameless Latin American countries, any time in the past, and peopled with characters who could be and probably are meant to be someone else. Read full book review >