There are some authors that just make you feel giddy with excitement whenever you hear that they have a new book on the horizon. For me, Isabel Allende fits into that category. In college, I read her beloved novel The House of the Spirits, and I've been hooked ever since on her strong, fully developed heroines and sensual, evocative imagery.

On April 23, you'll be able to get your hands on Maya's Notebook, her newest novel. (If you read Spanish you can purchase it now; the Spanish edition was published by Vintage in 2011.)

Allende is known for historical fiction, although this story is set in the present day. The main character is 19-year-old Maya Vidal, a girl who was raised by her grandparents and who falls into trouble when her grandfather dies. Maya's grandmother is an immigrant from Chile, and Maya eventually finds refuge on an island off the coast of Chile.

According to Allende's website: "There, in the company of a torture survivor, a lame dog, and other unforgettable characters, Maya Vidal writes her story, which includes pursuit by a gang of assassins, the police, the FBI, and Interpol."

If anyone can weave together these disparate elements, it's Allende. You can bet I'll snatch up an advance review copy (and share an excerpt with you!) as soon as one arrives at our office.

In the meantime, read an interview with Allende about her memoir My Invented Country or visit her author page on Allende's latest novel, Island Beneath the Sea, was our Top Pick in Fiction in May 2010.

Best of all? Allende is going on an eight-city tour to promote this book . . . including to Nashville! Cue squealing.

Anyone else excited about Maya's Notebook?

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