Isabel Allende was born in Lima, Peru, where her father, a first cousin of future Socialist President of Chile Salvador Allende, held a diplomatic post. His "disappearance" soon after she was born provoked that the family moved back to their natal Chile (which she has described in her novel "My Invented Country"), where they lived at her mother's father's family house. Her grandfather was a great influence on her throughout her life and his death moved her to write her first novel, "The House of the Spirits". The character of Esteban Trueba is more or less based on him.
Soon after her husband's leave, Isabel Allende's mother met a married Chilean diplomat, who turned out to be her life-long love. The impossibility of getting a divorced (his wife refused to and her husband could not be found anywhere) prevented their getting married till the 90s. However, they lived together as husband and wife in different countries where he held diplomatic posts, bringing Isabel and her two brothers with them. As a result, Isabel studied in a bilingual school in Beirut.
Back in Chile, she had several jobs as translator, secretary… She got married at a very early age and had two children. The premature death of her eldest daughter, Paula, at age 28, due to a strange disease of genetic origin, was told in her novel "Paula." The couple lived in Venezuela and then back in Chile, where Isabel got a job as journalist, first in a newspaper (where she even wrote the horoscope section) and then as an anchorwoman.
Chilean poet Pablo Neruda invited her to go visit him at his house in Isla Negra. She thought that he wanted her to interview him but he just encouraged her to write novels because the fiction she introduced in her journalistic pieces would be better appreciated in a novel form.
When her grandfather died, she was not in Chile, so she could not have say good-bye to him. As a result, she started writing. The date of her grandfather's death, January, 8, the very first day she started writing, is since then the date on which she starts writing all her novels.
After divorcing her husband, she moved to the US, where she met her second husband, Willy, a divorced man with several children.
- The House of the Spirits[/b] (1982 -- [i]La casa de los espíritus)
- [b]Of Love and Shadows[/b] (1984 -- [i]De amor y de sombra[/i])
- [b]Eva Luna[/b] (1985 -- [i]Eva Luna[/i])
- [b]The Infinite Plan[/b] ( 1991 -- [i]El plan infinito[/i])
- [b]The Stories of Eva Luna[/b] (1989 -- [i]Cuentos de Eva Luna[/i])
- [b]Paula [/b] (1994)
- [b]Aphrodite (recipes, stories and other aphrodisiacs[/b]( 1997 -- [i]Afrodita[/i])
- [b]Daughter of Fortune[/b](1999 -- [i]Hija de la fortuna[/i])
- [b]Portrait in Sepia[/b](2000 -- [i]Retrato en sepia[/i])
- [b]City of the Beasts[/b](2002 -- [i]La ciudad de las bestias[/i])
- El bosque de los pigmeos
- My Invented Country (Mi país inventado)