Isabel Allende is a great writer. A serious writer. A very profound and emotional writer. She hails from Chile, where her father, renowned and devoted activist Salvador Allende, tried to change the world but ended up losing his life instead. She is fascinated with the ideas of war and virtue, about dedication to one's country and the need to change it, to love in all its splendor and the raucous power of emotion gone wrong. Although she doesn't use much in the way of magic in her work, her books reflect a certain belief in the universe as a spirit with power that manipulates and frustrates the human puppets it places on earth.