I really enjoy how strongly the characters are drawn in Allende's novels, and this is no exception. From the main heroine who travels from Chile to San Francisco, disguised as a boy - to the madame with a heart of gold - to the spinster aunt - these women are nobody's fool.
Except maybe, fools for love. All of them have scars to prove it. The author brings an exciting decade of history alive, making the time of the gold rush seem as current as modern day.
What I appreciate most in this story is the quest for true love and where it leads the seeker. In the end you may not find what you're looking for, but the journey itself becomes the revelation.
"What is truer than truth? The story," says Allende in this clip on You Tube labelled 'Tales of Passion.' Watch this 20 minute clip and you'll see for yourself that Allende is hilarious, warm and smart - a strong, sexy mature woman delivering a sound argument on the virtues of feminism.