In The Midst Of Winter by Isabel Allende

Isabel Allende

In The Midst of Winter

There’s a blizzard in Brooklyn  when Richard Bowmaster runs into the back of a car driven by Evelyn Ortega. It seems like such a trivial thing. Just a mere fender bender.  But Miss Ortega is an undocumented immigrant, driving a car not her own…

Why on earth are either of them out in this God- awful weather? Richard was rushing one of his four cats to the vet. Evelyn was  off to the store to fetch diapers for the young boy in her charge.

Later that evening the door bell rings and it’s Evelyn in desperate need of Richard’s help. She speaks very uneven and sparse English so Richard fetches  his tenant Lucia from the basement apartment she leases from him. And the story that pours out becomes the basis for Allende’s novel.

Allende digs deep into the past of all three characters. Why is Evelyn here illegally? And where is she from? Why is she scared? Who is Richard? And who is Lucia?

Richard owns the old brownstone. He got a great deal from an old friend when he moved to Brooklyn from Brazil after a tragic accident involving his child. He’s been living a spartan life and keeping mostly to himself. Lucia is from Chile. She’s sixty and has been hired to lecture at the same school where Richard teaches.  She’s been secretly hoping to become more than friends with Richard.  And we see a winter love story blossoming. But Richard is a tough nut to crack. And there are so many variables.

Suddenly these three most unlikely people are thrown together in the midst of more than winter: a secret in the trunk of the car…

It’s certainly intriguing and yet harrowing to read as Evelyn’s story of risking her life to escape the violence of Guatamala’s gangs, and fleeing north after experiencing the murders of her brothers.  And Lucia has a harrowing story as well. She left her mother behind in Chile as she fled for her own life. Richard, the American-born son of Holocaust survivors, travelled to Brazil, where he found love, but also death and despair. 

This novel is both timely and timeless. Allende does a stellar job of exploring the lives of immigrants and refugees.


Isabel Allende

Isabel Allende was born in  Peru and raised in Chile. She’s written more than twenty books.  She is very dedicated to issues of human rights.  You can visit her website

I n 2014 President O’bama awarded Allende the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. She lives in California now.

I enjoyed reading about all the cold weather and the snow since it was still quite hot and muggy here in S.W. Florida.

My gorgeous finished hardcover of IN THE MIDST OF WINTER was very generously sent to me by Atria publishing, a division of Simon and Schuster in exchange for an honest review. Another winner from Allende!


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