The New York Times bestselling author of The House of the Spirits and A Long Petal of the Sea tells the story of one unforgettable woman—a slave and concubine determined to take control of her own destiny—in this sweeping historical novel that moves from the sugar plantations of Saint-Domingue to the lavish parlors of New Orleans at the turn of the nineteenth century.
“Allende is a master storyteller at the peak of her powers.”—Los Angeles Times
The daughter of an African mother she never knew and a white sailor, Zarité—known as Tété—was born a slave on the island of Saint-Domingue. Growing up amid brutality and fear, Tété found solace in the traditional rhythms of African drums and the mysteries of voodoo.
Her life changes when twenty-year-old Toulouse Valmorain arrives on the island in 1770 to run his father’s plantation, Saint Lazare. Overwhelmed by the challenges of his responsibilities and trapped in a painful marriage, Valmorain turns to his teenaged slave Tété, who becomes his most important confidant. The indelible bond they share will connect them across four tumultuous decades and ultimately define their lives.