by Cathryn Conroy (Gaithersburg, Maryland): This book is a hybrid: part memoir, part feminist manifesto, part meditation, and part romantic advice. It’s a bit of everything!

Written by the brilliant novelist Isabel Allende, this short nonfiction book primarily examines the role of women in society, as well as offering powerful, but concise, life lessons. And for the most part, it’s excellent. That said, there are times, especially in the last third of the book, that the text rambles and is a bit disjointed.

Allende’s take on feminism is slightly different than so many others I have read. She is by her own definition a romantic feminist. Married three times, including the last time in her 70s, she is a woman who believes in romantic love and how it enriches her life. The life lessons in the book are wide-ranging, including her candid thoughts not only romance, but also sex, aging, motherhood, the patriarchy, family, and the power of female friendship.

And this may make curious men want to read this book: Isabel Allende reveals what women want the most. And it’s exactly right!