When The Law of Love was published in 1996, Laura Esquivel was already a successful author. Her first novel, Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments, with Recipes, Romances and Home Remedies, published in 1989, became a bestseller in Mexico and the United States and has been translated into numerous languages. Her second novel, The Law of Love, however, did not receive the critical acclaim of the first. As in Like Water for Chocolate, in The Law of Love Esquivel focuses on the redemptive power of love. In this novel, which takes place in the twenty-third century and includes several "regressions" into past centuries, the main character, astroanalyst Azucena, struggles to reunite with her "twin soul" Rodrigo and, at the same time, restore peace to the universe by reinstating the Law of Love. This law states that when a person opens her heart enough to forgive all enemies, she will help perpetuate a Divine Will, a "cosmic order" that will bring peace and harmony to all. Esquivel's multimedia presentation, including color illustrations by Spanish artist Miguelano Prado and poetry and accompanied by a CD that contains arias by Puccini and Mexican danzones, results in a clever tale of love and understanding.


The Law of Love mixes science fiction and magic realism with a sprinkling of New Age philosophy as it tells the story of Azucena, an astroanalyst in twenty-third-century Mexico City. Throughout the novel Azucena tries to help others as well as herself to remember and cope with their past lives. Along the way, she struggles to escape villains who threaten world peace and to reunite with her "twin soul'' Rodrigo. Her multimedia story, interspersed with color illustrations by Spanish artist Miguelano Prado and poetry and accompanied by a CD that contains arias by Puccini and Mexican danzones, ultimately asserts the unifying power of love.

The novel begins with the Spanish wresting control of Tenochtitlan, Mexico from the Aztecs in the sixteenth century and constructing a new city—which will eventually become Mexico City—upon its ruins. Rodrigo Diaz, one of Cortes's captains, demolishes a pyramid on a site where the Aztecs had conducted pagan ceremonies honoring a goddess of love, and builds his house there. As Rodrigo moves the stone that had formed the apex of the pyramid, he sees Citlali, one of his Aztec slaves, and rapes her on the spot. During the conquest of the city, Rodrigo had killed her son. Eventually, Citlali takes her revenge by killing Rodrigo's son. When his wife Isabel learns that after her son had died, her husband murdered Citlali and then took his own life, she does not have the strength to live.

The story then shifts to Mexico City in the twenty-third century and Azucena's pursuit of Rodrigo, her ‘‘twin soul.’’ Anacreonte, Azucena's Guardian Angel, explains the spiritual system of this future world, governed by a ‘‘Divine Will’’ or cosmic order that has been disrupted by "Wreckoncilers" who substitute ‘‘lies for truth, death for life, and hatred for love inside our hearts.'' The Wreckoncilers are allowed to ‘‘straighten out their screw-ups’’ through several reincarnations ‘‘until finally they learn how to love.’’ Anacreonte insists that Azucena and Rodrigo both still have ‘‘some outstanding debts to...

(The entire section is 855 words.)