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Of Love and Shadows Summary

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In 1973, Chile, under the dictatorship of General Pinochet, declared itself to be in "a permanent state of emergency." By 1978 as this story begins, the cruelty of one of the worst military takeovers in history, which simultaneously crushed the government of Allende and the spirit of the nation, has practically been forgotten, especially for those of the younger generation. When we first meet Francisco Leal and his brother Jose, they are dressed in clerical vestments, sneaking past armed guards at night to visit with victims of the regime's crimes. Irene Beltran, the daughter of a well-to-do Chilean family, holds a glamorous job at a fashion magazine and lives with her mother on the family's estate, which has been converted to a home for the aged. Here, behind the gates of the still-lovely house and gardens, Irene is living a sheltered life carefully guided by her mother. As she puts it: "My life was safe, until I began to wake up." Francisco will be the vehicle for her awakening.