This book was set for a book club and coming from having recently read but struggled with One Hundred Years of Solitude I must admit I was a bit anxious about it. I needn’t have worried. Allende’s prose in this book is stylistically similar but more coherent and more linear than 100 Years. It would be a great book to read *before* reading 100 Years. The magical realism is subtler here but the repeated use of phrases “notebooks that bore witness to life” and the leitmotif of Clara’s birds all are giving me an idea of what South American Literature does, obviously not *everything* it does. But just that some things I like about Marquez’s work are shown here so perhaps there is a style commonality to South American Literature – or I’ve read two books and they were similar and I’m making things up.
Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I loved the female characters, their various strengths and weaknesses. The love that they share for each other throughout was beautiful. How resilient they all are in their own ways, they undergo different difficulties but still have the capacity for love and kindness. But also all the women around them, Nana, Ferula, and Nivea. Just women being tough as nails while still being ethereal, or mystical, or charitable, or stubborn.