Zorro by Isabel Allende
I’ve now read a second Allende novel, and I’m definitely in love. While Zorro does not have the same gravitas and impact that The House of the Spirits did, it’s still thoughtful and substantive, but also a lot of fun to read. I’ll definitely be adding “read more Allende” on my 2016 reading goals list.
Diego de la Vega is born in Southern California (long before it joined the United States) to a Spanish landowner and a Shoshone warrior. He is raised alongside his “milk brother” Bernardo and grows to appreciate both his father’s traditional gentlemanly arts (including sword-fighting) and his mother’s connection to the land and her people. When he is sixteen, Diego is sent off to Spain to come of age. There, he sees a land toiling under Napoleonic rule, and he joins a secret society dedicated to justice and fairness for the people of Spain. His host family has two daughters, the bookish and tomboyish younger sister Isabel and the beautiful, romantic Juliana—with whom he falls hopelessly in love. Diego’s senses and loyalties are tested, and it is amidst these adventures that he finds the fox (“zorro” in Spanish) in the mask who will allow him to set his family free from their suffering.
Allende touches on political ideas here, but she also examines the issue of class, birth, and nature versus nurture. It’s fascinating and engaging all at once. Also, this novel is waaaaay better than the Antonio Banderas movie that came out in the 1990s. If you like adventure and romance, then you definitely need to check this novel out. I’m looking forward to seeing what our Book Club thinks of this novel.