As issues around immigration have come to dominate the news cycle this year, this book by Isabel Allende could not be more prescient or timely. A story told by three people who unexpectedly encounter one another under bizarre and terrifying circumstances, their stories of loss, the meaning of “home,”the will to survive, and the power of love are both heartbreaking and uplifting.
Lucia had been living in the basement apartment of her boss and colleague, Richard Bowmaster for a few months. It has been a difficult transition moving from Chile to Brooklyn, and although Richard has been kind enough to let her use his apartment until she finds a place of her own, he has not been the most attentive landlord. Now after the biggest snowstorm in recent memory, she is still trapped in her apartment with the stairs and walkway still unshoveled. So when Richard calls and asks her to quickly come upstairs to his apartment she is a bit put out and plans to give him a piece of her mind. When she arrives, however, she is greeted by a panicked Richard and a crying young woman named Evelyn, an undocumented nanny for a family in the neighborhood. Slowly, Lucia gets Evelyn to calm down and talk and it turns out that earlier in the day Richard, while doing some errands in his car, had inadvertently slipped in the snow and rear ended Evelyn’s car. It was just a small fender bender, but it had damaged the latch on the trunk of Evelyn’s car. Richard had told her he would contact his insurance and have it fixed, and thought the matter was taken care of, but then Evelyn showed up on his door step, crying as if the world had ended. Which in some ways it had, since Evelyn has used the car without the permission of her family, and there was something in the trunk of the car that could completely change her life.
As three people in a brownstone in Brooklyn try to decide what to do and how to help Evelyn, we learn their difficult stories of love and loss. For each it has been a different path: Evelyn’s difficult and treacherous journey fleeing MS-13 and certain death in Guatemala; Lucia’s complicated life in Chile and the political unrest that changed her life and family, and Richard’s bout of alcoholism and the loss of his wife and daughter. But somehow in that snow bound brownstone something new emerges, and together their lives are forever transformed.
Brenda’s Rating: *****(5 Out of 5 Stars)
Recommend this book to: Keith, Sharon, Lauren and Marian
Book Study Worthy? Yes, and the ebook contains book study questions!
Read in ebook format.