I love the women in this story - Isabel Allende always makes her women so strong and powerful. I love Clara's spirituality and Blanca's independence and strong will. I think I identified most with Alba though - I loved her involvement with the politics of the time. Initially I think she was involved in the politics because of her love for Miguel. She is politically minded, but not in an active way. I believe it is her active love for Miguel that leads to her active involvement in politics. Regardless of how her love of politics starts, she immerses herself in what she believes to be the right cause, even though it is against her father's strongly held political beliefs and even though it ultimately causes her significant pain.
Having read later books by Isabel Allende, such as Paula and The Sum of Our Days, I appreciated reading Alba's story even more because I think that it reflects a lot of her struggle in Chile during the dictatorship. For a first novel, it is so thoroughly written, the language rolls along just describing events in such a manner as you barely notice time passing and the generations moving on. If you like Isabel Allende (and she is undoubtedly one of my favourite authors), then reading her first novel House of Spirits is something I highly recommend.