First of all, pretty cover except for the blatant "Oprah's Book Club" sticker. Whatever Oprah--sure, her sticker gets quality books more exposure but I'm just not a fan.
Anyway, this book was written in Spanish and translated into English. Allende spent part of her life in Chile, so her experience set up part of the setting for this novel. Eliza is an abandoned orphan, raised by an English brother and sister who are living in Chile.
Eliza falls in love but then her lover leaves for the Gold Rush in California. That's when the action takes off. Eliza travels to California to find him, making friends like Tao Chi'en, a Chinese doctor.
The book explores all of the character's pasts, while adding to the story itself. The style of writing is somewhat reminiscent of magic realism and Gabriel García Márquez's writing.
If you're in the mood for excellent Latin American writing, give this a try.