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En plena Guerra Civil española, el joven médico Víctor Dalmau, junto a su amiga pianista Roser Bruguera, se ven obligados a abandonar Barcelona, exiliarse y cruzar los Pirineos rumbo a Francia. A bordo del Winnipeg, un navío fletado por el poeta Pablo Neruda que llevó a más de dos mil españoles rumbo a Valparaíso, embarcarán en busca de la paz y la libertad que no tuvieron En plena Guerra Civil española, el joven médico Víctor Dalmau, junto a su amiga pianista Roser Bruguera, se ven obligados a abandonar Barcelona, exiliarse y cruzar los Pirineos rumbo a Francia. A bordo del Winnipeg, un navío fletado por el poeta Pablo Neruda que llevó a más de dos mil españoles rumbo a Valparaíso, embarcarán en busca de la paz y la libertad que no tuvieron en su país. Recibidos como héroes en Chile -ese «largo pétalo de mar y nieve», en palabras del poeta chileno-, se integrarán en la vida social del país durante varias décadas hasta el golpe de Estado que derrocó al doctor Salvador Allende, amigo de Victor por su común afición al ajedrez. Víctor y Roser se encontrarán nuevamente desarraigados, pero como dice la autora: «si uno vive lo suficiente, todos los círculos se cierran». Un viaje a través de la historia del siglo XX de la mano de unos personajes inolvidables que descubrirán que en una sola vida caben muchas vidas y que, a veces, lo difícil no es huir sino volver.


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En plena Guerra Civil española, el joven médico Víctor Dalmau, junto a su amiga pianista Roser Bruguera, se ven obligados a abandonar Barcelona, exiliarse y cruzar los Pirineos rumbo a Francia. A bordo del Winnipeg, un navío fletado por el poeta Pablo Neruda que llevó a más de dos mil españoles rumbo a Valparaíso, embarcarán en busca de la paz y la libertad que no tuvieron En plena Guerra Civil española, el joven médico Víctor Dalmau, junto a su amiga pianista Roser Bruguera, se ven obligados a abandonar Barcelona, exiliarse y cruzar los Pirineos rumbo a Francia. A bordo del Winnipeg, un navío fletado por el poeta Pablo Neruda que llevó a más de dos mil españoles rumbo a Valparaíso, embarcarán en busca de la paz y la libertad que no tuvieron en su país. Recibidos como héroes en Chile -ese «largo pétalo de mar y nieve», en palabras del poeta chileno-, se integrarán en la vida social del país durante varias décadas hasta el golpe de Estado que derrocó al doctor Salvador Allende, amigo de Victor por su común afición al ajedrez. Víctor y Roser se encontrarán nuevamente desarraigados, pero como dice la autora: «si uno vive lo suficiente, todos los círculos se cierran». Un viaje a través de la historia del siglo XX de la mano de unos personajes inolvidables que descubrirán que en una sola vida caben muchas vidas y que, a veces, lo difícil no es huir sino volver.

30 review for Largo pétalo de mar

  1. 4 out of 5

    Angela M

    I enjoyed a number of Allende’s earlier books, but a few of the more recent ones have not been quite as satisfying. Yet, I could not resist the opportunity to read this one because I was looking for the Allende of those earlier novels and I found her . It felt like Allende at her best - a family saga with richly defined characters deeply connected to their family, their culture, their country, their lives shaped by the political landscape. There were times when I felt a bit bogged down by the po I enjoyed a number of Allende’s earlier books, but a few of the more recent ones have not been quite as satisfying. Yet, I could not resist the opportunity to read this one because I was looking for the Allende of those earlier novels and I found her . It felt like Allende at her best - a family saga with richly defined characters deeply connected to their family, their culture, their country, their lives shaped by the political landscape. There were times when I felt a bit bogged down by the political details later in the book, even though it is the political events which drive the story. Having said that, she does a wonderful job of depicting the effects of the Spanish Civil War, the ravages of that war and I learned things that I never knew about that war , about concentration camps there and about a ship carrying refugees to Chile. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Wi.... Victor and Roser Dalmau, who leave their home at the brink of WWII, after much hardship, loss and suffering arrive in Chile and it becomes their home for many years . They have married out of the need to survive, out of family loyalty, out of love for her son and his nephew and they stay together for many years out of love. The story of their relationship, who they are as individuals, and who they become together is the heart of the story, but the soul of this family saga is what Allende herself knows and experienced in the Chile where she was raised. The story was even more poignant after reading Allende’s Acknowledgements at the end of the book, where she says : “This is a novel, but the events and historical individuals are real. The characters are fictional, inspired by people I’ve known. I have had to imagine very little ....” I received an advanced copy of this book from Ballantine through NetGalley.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    “One of the most richly imagined portrayals of the Spanish Civil War to date, and one of the strongest and affecting works in [Isabelle Allende’s] long career” — —The New York Times book review. AGREE!!!!!! I’ve read 15 books by this powerhouse pint-size extraordinary author.... both fiction, and nonfiction. I’ve met Isabel Allende three times... I admire Isabel Allende’s exceptional storytelling skills while educating me about history: ( people, places, and dates) — This global humanitarian- feisty “One of the most richly imagined portrayals of the Spanish Civil War to date, and one of the strongest and affecting works in [Isabelle Allende’s] long career” — —The New York Times book review. AGREE!!!!!! I’ve read 15 books by this powerhouse pint-size extraordinary author.... both fiction, and nonfiction. I’ve met Isabel Allende three times... I admire Isabel Allende’s exceptional storytelling skills while educating me about history: ( people, places, and dates) — This global humanitarian- feisty-strong-as-bull-woman - took my breath away in “A Long Petal of the Sea”. I’m one of her fans who has enjoyed all of her books - different topics and styles..... from her early days...to a pause - (grief from her daughter’s Paula’s death), to two very special non-fiction books: “Paula” and “The Sum of Our Days”.... to books she has written in more recent years... to..... our present day: Jan. 2020. I like reading what Isabel Allende writes: period!!! That said... this is my favorite ‘fiction’ book of the many other wonderful novels she’s written. I took twice as long to read it than was necessary... I have pages of notes. I did it for my own educational study. I had no agreement to write a review. I paid for the book myself —took notes for myself. Looked up information to fill in holes on Google. I’m happy to share with others - have discussions - but I didn’t feel an ounce of obligation in reading/learning/ and enjoying it. There are a few more details I’d like to say in this review - have some fun sharing more tidbits.... ....I’m too tired to do it now... but I’ll return. Nobody has to read my updated review later - ( I want to write more - for my own memory pleasure & completion), but thank you ahead of time, for those who do read more of my chatter. I’m grateful having ‘ ‘learned’ as much as I did. I studied it - poured my entire soul into this novel.... looking up names information... wanting to explore specific details more — ...it took a lot of extra time to read this book the way I did...And.... I had a darn great time doing it! I’ll be back in a day or two for part II of this review. I’m BACK: From war-torn Spain to Chile.... ....incredible history teachings, dramatic storytelling, epic in scope, ( spans decades), love and survival. General Francisco Franco ruled over Spain from 1939 to 1975. During his rule Franco assumed the title ‘Caudillo’ (powerful political leader). His dictatorship changed over time; people feared his brutal repression. Much of the civilian population were escaping to the French borders by any means possible, escaping Franco’s dictatorship. Victor Dalmau, a young paramedic for three years during the Spanish Civil War - (in Spain -from 1936-1939) ...along with other doctors transported the wounded from the hospital and trains, ambulances, and trucks. They had to make so many quick harrowing decisions to leave the most seriously wounded behind, since they were bound to die of the journey. “Crammed into cattle trucks or battered vehicles, lying on the floor, freezing cold, constantly jolted, with no food, combatants who had just been operated on, or the wounded, blind, had amputated limbs, or were delirious from fever, typhus, dysentery, or gangrene, made their way out of Barcelona. The medical staff had nothing with which to relieve their suffering, and could offer only water, words of comfort, and sometimes, if a dying man asked for it, a final prayer”. “Victor had seen dreadful wounds, assisted at amputations without anesthetics, helped more than one unfortunate youngster die, and thought he had developed the hide of a crocodile; and yet the tragic journey in the wagons he was in charge of destroyed his spirit”. France was watching in horror as the border became jammed with a crush of people that the authorities managed to keep barely in check by employing armed soldiers and the fearsome colonial troops from Senegal and Algeria, with their turbines, rifles,’s and whips. The whole country was overwhelmed by this massive influx of undesirables, as they were officially called. “Undesirables” .... is what the French government called the refugees coming into their borders. Women, children, soldiers, totally exhausted from anger and fatigued.... marched across the border into France -in a country that didn’t want them- singing with their fists raised. After arriving in France, tens of thousands of Spanish refugees were taken to the camp of Argeles-sur-Mer. (fenced off on the beach) Senegalese and armed police guarded the fenced off camp. Roser Bruguera, was very pregnant, bearing Guillem Dalmau’s child. She was strong. She knew could deal with whatever was thrown at her for the sake of her child and meeting Guillem again, but... ....she didn’t know that Guillem had died. It was maddening to know that the French government left the refugees out in the open day and night exposed to the cold and rain. Hygiene was nonexistent. They had no latrines or drinkable water. Women gathered and tight groups to defend themselves against sexual aggression of the guards. Between 30 and 40 people died every day, first of children from dysentery, then the elderly from pneumonia. One woman woke up one morning to find her dead five month old daughter after the temperature had fallen below freezing. Later that night, the grieving mother went out to the waters edge and waited out into the sea until she disappeared. She was not the only one. Many years later the exact statistics became known: Almost 15,000 people died in those French camps, from hunger, starvation, mistreatment, and illnesses, Nine out of every ten children perished. Elizabeth Eidenbenz -a real historical figure in Isabell Allende’s book.... was a teacher and a nurse. She saved approximately 600 children who were mostly the children of Spanish Republicans, jewish refugees and gypsies fleeing the Nazi invasion. Camp commanders in France were trying to get rid of the refugees. They were trying to force them back to Spain. Elizabeth Eidenbenz was determined to set up a proper maternity home in an abandoned mansion in Elne ( in the Country of Roussillon, France)... Anyone who was able to find a sponsor or a job we’re allowed to go free. So Elizabeth took Roser (who was still very pregnant), with her. They arrived at Perpignan first... where a house was being used as a maternity unit. There were eight young women, pregnant, and others with newborn babies in their arms. A little relief....a place to give birth, ( a baby boy named Marcel), a little replenishing .....but not much time to rest.... Eventually, Victor and Roser escape together, with the help from Pablo Neruda. Victor says he will marry Roser....take care of her and be the father to baby Marcel. ( a complete marriage-agreement -arrangement). Victor doesn’t expect Roser to ‘do-the-duty’....( a sexless marriage in other words). But loveless? ..... No....I wouldn’t say loveless.... Pablo Neruda, ( famous poet), arranged and organized the transport of refugees of the war to Chile. Two thousand people traveled on ‘The Winnipeg’ to Chile. LEARNING ABOUT PABLO NERUDA ....was a highlight for me. Pablo Neruda - thirty four - was considered the best poet of his generation. Neruda had been passionate for Spain; but he loathed Fascism and was so concerned about the fate of the defeated Republicans that he had managed to convince the new Chilean president to allow a certain number to come into Chile... in defiance of the right wing parties and Catholic Church. The second part of this novel portrays the political, and social divisions among the Chileans. We meet the upper class Solar Family: ......Isidro, del Solar, his wife, Laura, and their 19 year old daughter, Ofelia (Beautiful and flirtatious), were all together. There were six del Solar children in all. The year was 1939: “The Reina Del Pacifico”- was the fastest motor liner of its time, which offered movies, theater, music, circuses, and ventriloquists), left the Chilean port of Valparaiso at the start of May, to dock in Liverpool twenty-seven days later. There were 162 passengers in second class, and 446 in third.... of several different languages being spoken. ( Isidro, Laura, and Ofelia were on the boat too). There was an orchestra and a female String Quartet on the ship.... and a Captain’s dinner ( foie gras, caviar, Champagne, and desserts), gathering one evening. I had my first laugh, when Laura groaned as she struggled into her ‘girdle’. I’ve never worn a girdle in my life - I value breathing. Lol But I know what it feels like to feel yucky from putting on weight. Laura tried to get out of that dinner, as she obviously didn’t feel great about herself... but her husband, Isidro, wanted her to make an effort, for him... for his business connections. I laughed as the couple argued about basic personal things. Laura worried about not being able to fit in her dress. Isidro told her she always looked pretty... just wear something else. A horrific ‘war’ was going on....and Laura worried about beauty. I found it amazing that such little things, ( clothes, jewelry, body image), still what mattered to a persons self-esteem. Laura was aware of her privileged good fortune at being born into the Vizcarra family, of marrying Isidro del Solar. She knew she had been protected and waited on. She also gave birth to six children without ever having changed a diaper or prepares a bottle. Juana Nancucheo was in charge of all of the childcare-she’s supervised the wet nurses and servants. Juana was a wonderful memorable character to me. Juana Nancucheo: mixed criollo and Mapuche... had been in charge of the del Solar household. She supervised three maids, cook, laundress, Gardner, etc. Felipe taught Juana to read, write and do sums which created a close bond - Juana covered up any mischief he got into Later he helped her invest her savings in shares of stock exchange Felipe had such a gentle character that people took advantage of him His dad, Isidro, didn’t appreciate his son’s charitable impulses. The worse earthquake( which left twenty thousand dead and whole towns flattened), to hit Chile - 1960 - coincided with the exodus of people from Catalonia toward the border of France. The Spanish Civil War left hundreds and thousands dead, wounded, or refugees- by comparison was a far greater tragedy. TONS TONS TONS ..... more I could say for this masterpiece achievement. But I’ll end with words from Pablo Neruda...... “Let’s keep anger, pain, and tears, Let’s fill the desolate void And may the nightly bonfire recall The light at the deceased stars”. .... Pablo Neruda ( “Jose Miguel Carrera,1810”)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    I really struggled with this book and was shocked as I really enjoy Allende's work. Ines of My Soul being my favorite of her books. I enjoyed the beginning, Roser comes from nothing and is adopted by a wealthy man and she has a gift for the piano. She falls in love with a young soldier who dies before their son is born. His brother Victor marries her to give the boy a father and to help her get to Chile with him. You see, people are fleeing Spain and Roser and Victor can get on a boat sailing to I really struggled with this book and was shocked as I really enjoy Allende's work. Ines of My Soul being my favorite of her books. I enjoyed the beginning, Roser comes from nothing and is adopted by a wealthy man and she has a gift for the piano. She falls in love with a young soldier who dies before their son is born. His brother Victor marries her to give the boy a father and to help her get to Chile with him. You see, people are fleeing Spain and Roser and Victor can get on a boat sailing to Chile. He is a doctor and she is a musician. They can contribute to their new country and make a life for themselves there. Their book follows their life together, how they grow individually and together. How they share a deep bond and how they survive through their travels. There are many themes here and this book is based on historical facts, but it just failed to grab me. It is slow moving and that is part of the issue. It is a slow burn and normally I don't mind that but, in this case, it didn't work for me. I don't know if it was my mood at the time or my inability to connect with her story telling. This is one of those books that I can say, I enjoyed but it won’t stay with me for long. Again, this took me by surprise as I normally have thoroughly enjoyed all her books. I encourage readers to read all reviews are decide for yourselves. Thank you to Random House Publishing House Publishing Group - Ballantine and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    I just can't get into this one. The historical period was specifically what attracted me to the book but it overwhelms the story- too much research, too little character- all feeding into the list-like nature of the prose. It's impossible to feel any kind of emotional connection to a catalogue of: this happened and then this happened, this is what this person thought of it. And then this happened. Page after page. I've read academic history books with more feeling. I just can't get into this one. The historical period was specifically what attracted me to the book but it overwhelms the story- too much research, too little character- all feeding into the list-like nature of the prose. It's impossible to feel any kind of emotional connection to a catalogue of: this happened and then this happened, this is what this person thought of it. And then this happened. Page after page. I've read academic history books with more feeling.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brina

    It is January and that means the winter doldrums. I am afflicted with seasonal affective disorder each winter and combat it with a jolt of vitamin d and an annual trip to Florida. A week in the sun under the palm trees usually does the trick until I return to the winter gloom. There have been years where I haven’t picked up a book for five weeks and been miserable until this year when I realized the best way to combat winter blues- magic, or more specifically books by my favorite authors. I firs It is January and that means the winter doldrums. I am afflicted with seasonal affective disorder each winter and combat it with a jolt of vitamin d and an annual trip to Florida. A week in the sun under the palm trees usually does the trick until I return to the winter gloom. There have been years where I haven’t picked up a book for five weeks and been miserable until this year when I realized the best way to combat winter blues- magic, or more specifically books by my favorite authors. I first found out about Isabel Allende’s new book last summer and was giddy with anticipation. Allende has been my favorite author since she first introduced me to Hispanic magical realism and the Latina amiga authors way back when I was in middle school. I have journeyed through her books over most of my life, rereading my favorites multiple times. Her last book In the Midst of Winter left a bad taste in my mouth because it was devoid of both the magical realism and historical fiction that has made her a leading author of her generation. With reviews heralding A Long Petal of the Sea as a book that places Allende at the peak of her powers, I knew that this would be a must read for me and a highlight of my reading year. Suffice it to say, this time around Allende did not let me down. Upon reading the first lines of A Long Petal of the Sea, I knew that Allende had returned to her bread and butter. The premise reminded me of Daughter of Fortune, a quality historical fiction novel that she wrote from the heart but has little magical realism. In both cases, the fast moving story that still takes the time to develop complex characters is magic in itself. It is 1936 in Barcelona, Catalonia. The Spanish Civil War has threatened to destroy the country as Franco and his forces have attacked both communist and resister forces to their breaking point. Told on the eve of a war that threatened to destroy the European continent, Allende introduces her readers to the Dalmau family: Marcel Lluis, a music professor, and his wife Carme, a teacher, along with their two sons Victor, a doctor serving along the front lines of the war, and Guillém, one who has yet to find himself but is serving in the army as an able bodied person. The Dalmaus are also the surrogate parents to Roser Bruguera, a promising pianist, the heart and soul of this novel and the love of Guillem’s life. Although Franco threatens to ruin the Spain that citizens like the Dalmaus call home, the love between Guillem and Roser give hope for a new generation until Guillem is killed at the battle of the Ebro, and Victor promises to get his mother and sister in law to safety in France. Europe is on the verge of exploding so 1939 France is no safer than Spain. Forward thinking citizens are fleeing to any North or South American country that will take them in, leading to a mass migration of humanity. Pablo Neruda, a communist who is also the leading poet of his generation and future Nobel laureate, sponsors a ship named that Winnipeg that will allow Spanish refugees to find a new home in Chile, that long petal of the sea at the end of the world. Carme is separated from Roser but Victor pleads his case to Neruda after he hastily marries Roser so that she and her son Marcel can have a better future. Neruda admires Victor’s quick thinking skills and tells him that there will always be a place in Chile for people like him, also setting a course for the two to enjoy a life long friendship. The doctor who at the time is married in name only earns a place on the Winnipeg, ensuring that his family will take root in a foreign country. Mirroring Daughter of Fortune twenty years earlier when Eliza Sommers seeks to immigrate to California from Chile, the Dalmaus set sail from Spain to Chile, setting the stage for a saga that spans another fifty years against the backdrop of a country that undergoes immense political and internal upheaval. Victor Dalmau will become a symbol for many of these changes as Allende tells a more intricate tale of her country than the one that first made her famous more than thirty years ago. Quality historical fiction tells the story of a time and place while also weaving the tale of a complex characters over the span of time. At her best, Allende does this as well as anyone. A Long Petal of the Sea is the story of both her country and her family. In the course of parts two and three of this novel, she includes anecdotes of Pablo Neruda, her uncle Salvador Allende, the Pinochet regime, and the refugees who were forced to seek asylum in Venezuela. This is her personal story so one can sense that it was told from the heart. Victor Dalmau through his relationship with Felipe del Solar and his wealthy family becomes a respected surgeon in Santiago. He had put down roots for himself by establishing the Winnipeg tavern as a Catalonian watering hole so that new immigrants would feel comfortable in their new country, while paying homage to the ship that brought them to freedom. While running the tavern, Roser went to work at the university making a name for herself as a gifted pianist and teacher. Marcel grows up behind the bar in an environment permeated by adults and is gifted beyond belief, earning a PhD in mineral engineering. Over time, Victor and Roser’s marriage becomes one of tender love rather than just convenience, and members of Allende’s family begin to show themselves in the peripheral characters in the novel, resulting in a story that is powerful at the close. Isabel Allende notes that this story tells itself. She got the inspiration for parts of the prose while her family was exiled in Venezuela and she met fellow refugee Victor Pey, who had a lifetime of stories to tell her about their homeland. At the time, Allende did not think that she was going to be a writer, yet, the magical part of her family’s story was already on her mind as she began to write House of the Spirits. When it came time to write A Long Petal of the Sea, the story began to tell itself. There are so many themes here that are prevalent in Allende’s novels that make this a special novel: an homage to Chile, strong female characters in Roser Bruguera and Ofelia del Solar, forbidden romance between lovers of different stations of society and the ensuing consequences. I have revisited these in Allende’s opus and complementary trilogy, which makes her reinventing herself toward the end of her career all the more special. Her uncle President Salvador Allende and Pablo Neruda play prominent roles to advance the plot, ensuring that Victor Dalmau is not only forever grateful to the Chilean people for furthering his family’s existence but that he also has a front row seat to the history unfolding before him. With a sparkling cover to symbolize the hope the Spanish war refugees must have felt upon arriving in Chile, A Long Petal of the Sea is sure to reel in a reader from its first pages. It may not be permeated in magical realism, but it is a moving historical saga that has all the key elements of a quality Allende novel. Historical figures, love triangles, the story of her own family, and appearances by recurring characters all play a role in the development of this novel. Isabel Allende has told the story of the Spanish Civil War while also weaving the history of Chile during the course of the 20th century. If this is the novel that she has written as a swan song to her illustrious career, then the story of the Dalmaus and Del Solar families is sure to merit a place next to her award winning novels. This time, Isabel Allende did not disappoint. Her homage to Chile has helped to rescue me from the winter doldrums and while it is not rich in magical realism, the story is pure magic. *5 stars*

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ceecee

    Isabel Allende is one of my favourite authors and I have read a lot of her books over the years. This one is a real epic in every sense of the word and I read with fascination, admiration and at times horror at what humans inflict on fellow humans. The central characters are Victor Dalmau and Roser Bruguera and the novel takes us from the Spanish Civil War to Chile in 1994. Victor and Roser fight on the Republican side against Franco’s Nationalists, they flee Spain and go to France, from there t Isabel Allende is one of my favourite authors and I have read a lot of her books over the years. This one is a real epic in every sense of the word and I read with fascination, admiration and at times horror at what humans inflict on fellow humans. The central characters are Victor Dalmau and Roser Bruguera and the novel takes us from the Spanish Civil War to Chile in 1994. Victor and Roser fight on the Republican side against Franco’s Nationalists, they flee Spain and go to France, from there they eventually go to Chile as poet Pablo Neruda hires a ship The Winnipeg to rescue some the trapped Spanish citizens. The long petal of the sea in Chile and this is how Neruda describes it to those he has rescued. Each chapter has some of Neruda’s words or poetry which is lovely. Here are real events combined with fictional characters to create an amazing historical novel. This is an incredible story which takes an overarching look at real events and to me it felt like a docu-drama. I like the first part of the book more than the second as I think the storytelling of the Spanish Civil War is very compelling. I had Picasso’s masterpiece Guernica in my mind as I read about the shocking events. The part of the story in Chile is very good and at times shocking - Pinochet’s military dictatorship is well documented and is part of other books by Isabel Allende. I think perhaps because I knew less about the story set in France and Spain and so I enjoyed those sections more. My one criticism is that the story is told in the third person and at times this feels a bit impersonal but I’m assuming this is a deliberate choice as at times the characters have to detach themselves from horrific events around them. The book has many themes. There is love especially between Victor and Roser, there is hope symbolised by The Winnipeg and a new life in Chile, there is a desire to find a place to belong as Victor and Roser’s life journey took them to several countries, there is war and dictatorship, there is bravery and survival. This is a massively ambitious book and tremendous respect goes to the author for daring to tell such a huge story. There are some fantastic descriptions and one of the ones that I will remember is when Victor felt his heart physically break with the reality of the Nationalist victory in Spain and the consequences of that for him and others. The characters real and imaginary are fantastic- I especially love Roser as her optimism in the face of terrible odds is inspirational and Victor is brave, loyal and deeply caring. Some of the events are heartbreaking and shocking both in Spain and Chile. I had no idea that France called the Spanish refugees Undesirables and either sent them back to Spain or put them in concentration camps where many died. That Roser and Victor survive to live on so successfully in Chile is miraculous. This is a soaring, inspirational tale which had me gripped from start to finish and I like that the book finishes on an optimistic note for Victor. Many thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publishing.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    4.5 So very glad that Allende has returned to form. I had trouble with her last few books, though her earlier novels were outstanding. Historicals are definitely her forte as this book about demonstrated. This is the story of Victor and Roser who get together under tragic circumstances. It is also a story of war, refugees, displacement and making a new country one's home. The Spanish Civil War, Franco and his terror, which sends many fleeing to France where they are not welcomed. Pablo Neruda, an 4.5 So very glad that Allende has returned to form. I had trouble with her last few books, though her earlier novels were outstanding. Historicals are definitely her forte as this book about demonstrated. This is the story of Victor and Roser who get together under tragic circumstances. It is also a story of war, refugees, displacement and making a new country one's home. The Spanish Civil War, Franco and his terror, which sends many fleeing to France where they are not welcomed. Pablo Neruda, and his ship the Winnipeg. Neruda sponsored and chose a group of refugees that would settle in Chile. Roser and Victor are among this group and will result in a lifelong friendship. In Chile Victor plays chess with Allende, a duly elected President, though not for long. Replaced by the Generals in a coup that will result in Pinchocets dictatorship. The historical facts are true, as are the people. A book that shows love can grow, even under the worst possible circumstances. Victor and Roser are wonderful, fully realized characters. The prose is terrific, and resulted in a very readable, well flowing story. The status and non welcoming of refugees is current today, where many are fleeing danger in their own countries, trying to find safety, a new life. The refugee camps, also still present today, are found I many countries , detention centers in my own. As always when reading historicals I am disturbed to find how much my own country is involved in the fate of others. Wish it wasn't so, but it is what it is. We can't change history but one would think we could learn from it and do better. Wishful thinking.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    Allende can romanticize the simple things Just as she does with this title to describe where Chile snuggles into South America and the Pacific Ocean. Her descriptions are so vivid you can smell the ocean; see the vibrant colours; hear the voices of country. A story of the Spanish war that leads to a migration. Another generational story rich with characters, relationships and history. Maybe a little slower than some of her other works but appreciated the work that went into the research. Gives me Allende can romanticize the simple things Just as she does with this title to describe where Chile snuggles into South America and the Pacific Ocean. Her descriptions are so vivid you can smell the ocean; see the vibrant colours; hear the voices of country. A story of the Spanish war that leads to a migration. Another generational story rich with characters, relationships and history. Maybe a little slower than some of her other works but appreciated the work that went into the research. Gives me a wanderlust to travel. My adoration for Allende continues 4⭐️

  9. 4 out of 5

    ✨ A ✨

    ‘Years later, Neruda was to define it as a long petal of sea and wine and snow…with a belt of black and white foam...’ Keep in mind that this was my first adult book my Allende that I've read (I read her YA books as a teen). I didn't know anything about the Spanish Civil war and I struggled to keep up with everything in the beginning. The first 50 pages were a bit hard for me to get through but once the plot started moving forward, I got used to her writing style and I became hooked. None of ‘Years later, Neruda was to define it as a long petal of sea and wine and snow…with a belt of black and white foam...’ Keep in mind that this was my first adult book my Allende that I've read (I read her YA books as a teen). I didn't know anything about the Spanish Civil war and I struggled to keep up with everything in the beginning. The first 50 pages were a bit hard for me to get through but once the plot started moving forward, I got used to her writing style and I became hooked. None of the characters were perfect, they all had their own flaws, made bad choices. But ultimately that's what made them so incredibly realistic. A lot of this book was based on real events. Even some of the characters that our MC interacts with were real people. Like Pablo Naruda and Salvador Allende. You could really tell how much research the author did and that she drew from her own experiences as an exile. “So much hatred, so much cruelty . . . I don't understand,' said Victor. His mouth was dry and the words stuck in his throat. 'We can all turn into savages if we're given a rifle and an order,' said another prisoner who had come over to them.” So many things about this story was a new experience for me. From reading about the civil war and the Chile setting. What I really loved was how we follow the characters through out their life until old age. I thought that was really brilliant. I don't have much experience reading about characters in their old age. It seems most authors seem to avoid this period of life and I thought Allende did a beautiful job. The only reason I didn't give this 5 stars is because of how long it took me to get into the story at the beginning but I found the second half (especially the last quarter) of the book to be so gripping and beautiful and by that time I didn't want the story to end. I finished this with a smile on my face and tears in my eyes. « Thank you to the publishers for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review. » Thoughts on the audiobook: I alternated between reading the book and listening to the audio version. The narrator was really good. His pacing was great and he did every accent exceptionally as well as the words in Spanish or French.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    Thank you, Random House and Ballantine Books, for the gifted copy. Isabel Allende has long been one of my favorite storytellers, ever since I read The House of the Spirits/La Casa de los Espiritus in Spanish while in college. I was lost in A Long Petal of the Sea. So much so, I slowly savored reading it over a month’s time, which I rarely do. I needed to read it slowly because I never wanted to leave these characters. It also gave me time to reflect on this book’s brilliance. This type of charac Thank you, Random House and Ballantine Books, for the gifted copy. Isabel Allende has long been one of my favorite storytellers, ever since I read The House of the Spirits/La Casa de los Espiritus in Spanish while in college. I was lost in A Long Petal of the Sea. So much so, I slowly savored reading it over a month’s time, which I rarely do. I needed to read it slowly because I never wanted to leave these characters. It also gave me time to reflect on this book’s brilliance. This type of characterization and storytelling is exactly why I read. Bonus points for learning more about Spain during this time period. I know it's probably clear: A Long Petal of the Sea is at the top of my favorites list. If you love a story you can fall into, please don’t miss it. No one weaves a story like Isabel Allende. Many of my reviews can also be found on instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nadia

    I came across Isabel Allende when I was 16 and was looking for books similar to One Hundred Years of Solitude. Somebody recommended The House of the Spirits (her first novel) to me which I read in a day and is one of my all time favourites. I've read a couple of other novels from Isabel Allende who in my opinion consistently delivers well written books often with aspects of magical realism intertwined with the rich history of Chile, and political and social insights.  A Long Petal of the Sea is I came across Isabel Allende when I was 16 and was looking for books similar to One Hundred Years of Solitude. Somebody recommended The House of the Spirits (her first novel) to me which I read in a day and is one of my all time favourites. I've read a couple of other novels from Isabel Allende who in my opinion consistently delivers well written books often with aspects of magical realism intertwined with the rich history of Chile, and political and social insights.  A Long Petal of the Sea is a historical fiction novel (with no elements of magical realism), a family saga spanning from 1936 to 1994. Based on the true events of the ship Winnipeg which carried over 2,000 Spanish refugees from France to Chile in 1939 organised by the poet Pablo Neruda, the story follows the lives of a young doctor Victor Dalmau and his wife Roser. While the story is fictional, the book provides a realistic account of the Spanish Civil War, the political situation in Chile during WWII and after. While I enjoyed learning about the historic events depicted in the novel, the story itself can lack excitement at times as some of the plot events are described more than once and felt a bit repetitive.    3.5 stars Many thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing for my review opy in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    AnnaLuce

    ★★★✰✰ 3 stars Isabel Allende is one of my all time favourite writers. When I was in middle-grade I fell in love with her Eagle and Jaguar series and in the years since I’ve enjoyed other novels by her. Having loved her memoir of Chile, My Invented Country, I was looking forward to A Long Petal of the Sea as it promised to be an evocative account of Spanish refugees in Chile. Set against the tumultuous backdrop of the Spanish Civil War, this novel tells the story of a young doctor, Victor Dalmau, ★★★✰✰ 3 stars Isabel Allende is one of my all time favourite writers. When I was in middle-grade I fell in love with her Eagle and Jaguar series and in the years since I’ve enjoyed other novels by her. Having loved her memoir of Chile, My Invented Country, I was looking forward to A Long Petal of the Sea as it promised to be an evocative account of Spanish refugees in Chile. Set against the tumultuous backdrop of the Spanish Civil War, this novel tells the story of a young doctor, Victor Dalmau, who alongside his sister-in-law and many of their compatriots are forced into exile. The narrative opens in Spain, introducing us to Victor, his family, and Roser. Here Allende spends large sections to detailing the causes and consequences of the Spanish Civil War. We read of the bleak reality of soldiers such as Victor’s brother as well as the dangers faced by civilians. Victor, who is fighting against the fascist regime of Francisco Franco, soon realises that the only way he and his loved ones can survive is by leaving their once beloved but now unrecognisable country. Enter the poet Pablo Neruda. It is thanks to him and the Winnipeg ship that around 2,000 refugees were able to escape a war torn Europe. In Chile Victor and Roser will have to learn to acclimate to a culture that is different from their own one. Their new status as refugees is not an easy one to embrace and both Victor and Roser will find difficulties in adjusting themselves to their new home. On paper the story sounded like a tragic yet poignant epic. Sadly, within the first pages I soon picked up on the fact that in this novel Allende’s writing is all-telling and no-showing. There are a few brief dialogues here and there, but for the most part it is an act-by-act account of historical events with a few uninspired soap-operish elements thrown into the mix. This ‘happened’, and then this ‘happened’, and years later this ‘happened’. Maybe I wouldn't have minded as much if the style hadn't been so very dry. I never grew connected to the people she was writing of because they didn’t really strike me as real people (which is ironic given that there are a few cameos of real-life people). I managed to make my way through this narrative but only out of a sense of duty (towards Allende, whom I still consider to be an excellent writer and towards NetGalley). Usually it takes me a few days to finish a book...A Long Petal of the Sea took me over a week. In the acknowledgments section Allende writes that “This book wrote itself, as if it had been dictated to me”. And in some ways it makes sense. This book feels like a blow by blow recital. The story lacks spontaneity and life, the characters are expandable. While I recognise the vast amount of research that Allende must have carried out in order to write this book, and that she was inspired by the story of someone she personally knew...the writing is this novel far too passive for my taste. Read more reviews on my blog / / / View all my reviews on Goodreads

  13. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Pain is inevitable in this world. But what separates us as humans is how we react and respond to the relentless waves that pound against us in their fury. Who we become upon reaching the other side is telling in itself. Isabel Allende is a masterful narradora......a Chilean storyteller with an amazing experiential background. Born in Lima, Peru, she has lived through Latin American unrest. In A Long Petal of the Sea, Allende will focus on the horrendous impact upon the people because of the Spani Pain is inevitable in this world. But what separates us as humans is how we react and respond to the relentless waves that pound against us in their fury. Who we become upon reaching the other side is telling in itself. Isabel Allende is a masterful narradora......a Chilean storyteller with an amazing experiential background. Born in Lima, Peru, she has lived through Latin American unrest. In A Long Petal of the Sea, Allende will focus on the horrendous impact upon the people because of the Spanish Civil War beginning in 1936. There are parallels with Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls that was inspired by his years as a war correspondent in Spain. You feel it, you see it, you live it. A Long Petal of the Sea opens the door to 1938 in Spain and focuses on several families who have been caught up in the midst of the country's civil war. General Francisco Franco and his forces wish Spain to return to its imperial glories of the past. With his high and mighty mindset, he rules with an iron fist and spreads terror. Thousands of his own countrymen are slaughtered for speaking out and rising up against him. His atrocities are felt by the Lincoln Brigade of Americans who came to assist. Over 9,000 Americans are buried on Spanish soil. The aforementioned families include two brothers, Victor and Guillen Dalmau, whose lives we will track through Allende's outstanding writing. Survival will mean escaping Spain for France and then to South America, in particular Chile, through the appeal of the poet Pablo Neruda. Without Neruda's help thousands more Spaniards would have died at the hands of Franco. Allende's characters are so complex as their lives unfold. It's here that many readers will feel the intricacies of Allende's story and it may bog down at times with the weight of it. But this is Allende's gift for detail at which she excels so well. You will readily feel the frustrations and hope's deadends through her storytelling. A Long Petal of the Sea takes you to a place in history where you may have little or no experience. Compassion brews upward from allowing yourself to feel and experience another's pain. War and civil unrest create the sorrowful situations of people on the move seeking a far better existence and forcing themselves to rebuild their lives under dire circumstances. Resilience comes with guarding your heart while taking on the mantle of a new identity. I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Ballantine Books (Random House) and to the highly talented Isabel Allende.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alice Lippart

    Loved it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Travel.with.a.book

    Isabel is that kind of person that you'd wish to live forever so she can write books in eternity because every book she puts out it is more and more complexed filled with many details that are compelling and captivated! You could feel the ocean right beneath your feet reading this amazing historic fiction novel based on the true events, the vibrant colours and the fascinating background of the waters were something to enjoy a lot! . This is a Spanish war story which leads to immigration, the conne Isabel is that kind of person that you'd wish to live forever so she can write books in eternity because every book she puts out it is more and more complexed filled with many details that are compelling and captivated! You could feel the ocean right beneath your feet reading this amazing historic fiction novel based on the true events, the vibrant colours and the fascinating background of the waters were something to enjoy a lot! . This is a Spanish war story which leads to immigration, the connections between history and the political characters are structered in epic admiration! The story is told in the third person and it made this even more understandable, the merged topics like love, hope, desire, bravery are crafted in the most perfect way that Isabel could and brings us this masterpiece that has amazed us with the outstanding interesting story of the young doctor Victor and his wife Roser! . The heartbreaking and shocking moments are in mixed emotions that don't let your brain fly out outside the lines of the book! The book very likely tells you that the Author has done a lot of research to write such a complete book with an amazing historical period! The realistic Spanish Civil war and the political situation in Chile during WWII are incredible detailed merged in the fabulous characters that elaborated a mind-blowing story that has dark and light moments!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nenia ✨️ I yeet my books back and forth ✨️ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest I've read a lot of Isabel Allende's stuff before and I really like some of it, but some of it is also too weird for me. A LONG PETAL OF THE SEA is actually a pretty good introduction to Isabel Allende because it's mild, and doesn't have any magic realism, so you get a sense of her literary style without the surrealism that can sometimes make her stories hard to follow. A LONG PETAL OF THE SEA is set in Spain in the 1930s, under the fascis Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest I've read a lot of Isabel Allende's stuff before and I really like some of it, but some of it is also too weird for me. A LONG PETAL OF THE SEA is actually a pretty good introduction to Isabel Allende because it's mild, and doesn't have any magic realism, so you get a sense of her literary style without the surrealism that can sometimes make her stories hard to follow. A LONG PETAL OF THE SEA is set in Spain in the 1930s, under the fascist regime of Francisco Franco. A rift is beginning to form, and those who do not follow his tyrannical ways suffer or disappear. Roser and Victor are a young couple who end up fleeing as refugees to Chile. Their marriage is one of convenience so they can both be sponsored by Pablo Neruda to contribute to Chile's economy in new positions (as a musician and a doctor). One of the things I liked best about this book is that it's like one of those epics from the 1970s and 80s-- it follows Roser and Victor throughout their entire lives. Roser's history is especially interesting, as she came from nothing, and was adopted by a rich old man, only to fall in love with a soldier who died before they could be officially married, leaving her as a single mother. When she marries Victor, her brother-in-law, they aren't attracted to each other at all. He only marries her to be a father to her son, Marcel, and help get her into Chile as his wife. Victor is definitely a kind man, although he makes mistakes (one of which is having an affair with the daughter of a wealthy landowner, Ofelia). It's not really cheating since their relationship (the one he has with Roser) is open, and both of them plan to get divorced eventually, once they go back to Spain. Their platonic relationship actually gives them a really strong bond, though, and eventually, after so many years of companionship and shared experiences, Victor begins to fall for her for real. The end of the book is a little sad and bittersweet, but not for the reasons you might think. A LONG PETAL OF THE SEA is a very timely book, because it shows how immigrants and refugees can contribute and add to a country's culture and economy, as well as the inevitability of our mortal ends, and the importance of having a life well-lived, surrounded by family. It's definitely a much better book than THE FOUNTAINS OF SILENCE, another book about fascist Spain that definitely skates over the oppression. In A LONG PETAL OF THE SEA, you feel the stakes-- and they are weighty. I'm not giving this a higher rating because it could be boring at times. Allende does a lot of recounting, more telling and less showing. It gives it an almost fairy-tale quality at times, but at other times this matter-of-fact play-by-play of every character's actions was hard to pay attention to, and I occasionally caught my mind drifting while I was attempting to read. I did like the story, and the characters, and-- again-- not to hate on Ruta Sepetys, but I'd take Isabel Allende over Ruta Sepetys any day, and if you're going to read a book about fascist Spain, this is the one you should pick. Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!  3 to 3.5 stars

  17. 4 out of 5

    Maxwell

    Sometimes you should judge a book by its cover. A few weeks ago I stopped at one of my local Little Free Libraries and saw the spine of this book. It jumped out at me with its shimmering gold foil lettering and bright aquamarine cover. Then I saw the author's name as one I recognized having read one of her novels before and always intending to pick up more from her. So I grabbed it from the shelf and brought it home to be read. And wow am I glad I did! This story spans decades, continents and liv Sometimes you should judge a book by its cover. A few weeks ago I stopped at one of my local Little Free Libraries and saw the spine of this book. It jumped out at me with its shimmering gold foil lettering and bright aquamarine cover. Then I saw the author's name as one I recognized having read one of her novels before and always intending to pick up more from her. So I grabbed it from the shelf and brought it home to be read. And wow am I glad I did! This story spans decades, continents and lives of many characters. It examines what it means to be a human in motion, whether by choice or by necessity, as refugees or travelers. We follow Victor Dalmau and his brother, Guillem, in Spain at the start of the Spanish Civil War. We follow Victor and Roser, his brother's pregnant girlfriend, to Chile years later after years in limbo having escaped to France during the militant reign of Francisco Franco. We follow Ofelia del Solar and her brother, Felipe, privileged youth in Chile who are odds with their conservative, wealthy parents. In an ever-changing world, where it feels no one truly sees eye to eye, we witness these characters lives intertwine, fall in and out of contact with each other as fate plays its hand. It's a moving story rooted in love and the works of Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda. Allende deftly recounts the lives of these fictional characters based in heavily researched historical fact. And Nick Caistor and Amanda Hopkinson do an excellent job with the translation. It taught me a lot and moved me deeply and is a story I'll be contemplating for a while. I definitely can't wait to read more of her work.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Libby

    Isabel Allende brings the history of the 1936-1939 Spanish Civil War and the 1973 Chilean coup d’etat to vivid life as the backdrop of this dramatic story. She begins each chapter with the powerful and heartfelt poetry of Pablo Neruda, setting an emotional tone for the terrible cost of war, longing for one’s country, romantic ardor, and political ideology. Like little jewels, her fictional characters are carefully set into the tapestry of historical fact. In 1939, it is Pablo Neruda as Special C Isabel Allende brings the history of the 1936-1939 Spanish Civil War and the 1973 Chilean coup d’etat to vivid life as the backdrop of this dramatic story. She begins each chapter with the powerful and heartfelt poetry of Pablo Neruda, setting an emotional tone for the terrible cost of war, longing for one’s country, romantic ardor, and political ideology. Like little jewels, her fictional characters are carefully set into the tapestry of historical fact. In 1939, it is Pablo Neruda as Special Consul in Paris for Immigration that bears the responsibility for seeing to it that 2,200 Spanish refugees make their way onboard the Winnipeg bound for Chile. Victor Dalmau had three years of medical studies under his belt and thus had worked as part of a medical team during the Spanish Civil War. When one day, Victor brings a young soldier back to life by massaging his heart through an open chest wound, he feels the call of his destiny. After a long and harrowing journey (fleeing the Nationalist soldiers), he finds himself applying to Neruda for the opportunity to emigrate to Chile by way of the Winnipeg along with his deceased brother’s girlfriend and their baby boy. When Neruda tells him that preference is given to immediate family members, he and Roser are married for the sake of convenience. In this story, character development is masterful. I was in awe of Roser, rescued from being a goatherd by her adoptive father and taken under the wing of Professor Dalmau as his favorite music student. He tells his youngest son, Guillem, “that girl is sacred,” and instructs him to always show her respect. Guillem is a soldier and doesn’t suffer for lack of female attention, but when Roser nurses him back to health after a serious illness, the attraction is mutual. Throughout the novel, Roser is revealed as tough, rock-solid, and pragmatic. When she becomes Victor’s wife, there is initially no romance, but over time and their complex histories, something special takes root and flourishes. For all the interest I have in the historical context of this novel, I am happy that Allende creates characters that are so colorful and with such great depth. Although Victor served the apolitical purpose of medicine, his family came down solidly on the side of the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War. Interestingly, this was the left, sided with communists, anarchists, workers, and peasants and supported by Mexico and USSR. The Nationalists were generally upper class led by General Franciso Franco and supported by fascist Germany and Italy. Imagine how those people (the Republicans) who had to flee Spain for their lives in 1939 must have felt when Chile, the country that had become their new homeland began to have similar political problems in 1970. Unfortunately, our own country is heavily implicated in the black history of those times. Allende builds a beautiful story, always maintaining her focus on her characters while giving them the shape of loved ones as they rise from the soil of Spain and Chile's history and politics.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Fiona

    I was drawn to this book by its setting in the Spanish Civil War and by the story of the Winnipeg, the ship chartered by Pablo Neruda to take 2,000 refugees to Chile. The preface by Isabel Allende whet my appetite and the first few pages were a very strong and shocking opening. It soon became so, so dry though. I struggled to feel any emotion behind the words. This happened, then this happened, she said and he said, then this happened.......with a lot of historical detail behind events. The hist I was drawn to this book by its setting in the Spanish Civil War and by the story of the Winnipeg, the ship chartered by Pablo Neruda to take 2,000 refugees to Chile. The preface by Isabel Allende whet my appetite and the first few pages were a very strong and shocking opening. It soon became so, so dry though. I struggled to feel any emotion behind the words. This happened, then this happened, she said and he said, then this happened.......with a lot of historical detail behind events. The history was for me the most interesting part. I usually love learning about history through fiction but I’d rather read an actual history than this long-winded account. I’m not finishing this book as there are too many other books waiting on my shelves. I wanted to enjoy it much more than I did but I have to be honest. I’m giving it 3 stars because it would probably be unfair to give fewer. With thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing UK and NetGalley for a review copy.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bam cooks the books ;-)

    One thing I love about reading is the vicarious thrill I get from being immersed in situations beyond my own experiences, my own lifetime. Allende's latest book of historical fiction first takes us to Spain in the 1930s where we experience the Spanish Civil War firsthand through the lives of the Dalmau family and later their desperate escape to France when all hope is lost and General Francisco Franco grasps controls of their country. Eventually, with the help of poet Pablo Neruda and the ship o One thing I love about reading is the vicarious thrill I get from being immersed in situations beyond my own experiences, my own lifetime. Allende's latest book of historical fiction first takes us to Spain in the 1930s where we experience the Spanish Civil War firsthand through the lives of the Dalmau family and later their desperate escape to France when all hope is lost and General Francisco Franco grasps controls of their country. Eventually, with the help of poet Pablo Neruda and the ship of hope named The Winnipeg he has arranged to transport refugees of the war, the Dalmau family makes it to Chile just as the Second World War begins back in Europe. They have great hopes of starting over in this new country on a new continent, but even here, politics continue to make life unstable and precarious. One part sounded a warning, even for us in the U.S., of the need for compromise, as mother and son discuss the political situation in Chile in the 1970s: "What we saw in Spain can happen here." Mother warns. "Allende says there'll never be fratricidal conflict here. The government and people will prevent it." replies her son. "That comrade of yours is too naive by half. Chile is divided into irreconcilable groups, son. Friends are fighting, families are split down the middle; it's impossible to talk to anyone who doesn't think as you do. I don't see many of my old friends anymore so that we don't fight." Sound familiar? Although Allende's story is fictional, it is based on historical fact and she peoples it with several historical figures such as Neruda and Salvador Allende. But it is the characters she imagines that are the most touching as we follow the Dalmau family through their lives full of turmoil but also great love. The title of the book comes from Neruda's definition of Chile 'as a long petal of sea and wine and snow...with a belt of back and white foam.' Each chapter begins with a bit of Neruda's poetry--very lovely. Beautiful cover artwork too. I was fortunate to be given an arc of Allende's new book by the publisher via netGalley in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to them for the opportunity.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Margitte

    Isabel Allende is back with a multi-generational family saga. 1938 Get ready, lads, To kill again, to die once more And to cover the blood with flowers. —PABLO NERUDA “Bloody was all the earth of man” THE SEA AND THE BELLS The House of the Spirits; Of Love And Shadows; Eva Luna; and The Stories of Eva Luna, were my introductions to Isabel Allende's work. After all these years these four books still remain my all-time favorite reading experiences. Allende not only captured the magic realism of C Isabel Allende is back with a multi-generational family saga. 1938 Get ready, lads, To kill again, to die once more And to cover the blood with flowers. —PABLO NERUDA “Bloody was all the earth of man” THE SEA AND THE BELLS The House of the Spirits; Of Love And Shadows; Eva Luna; and The Stories of Eva Luna, were my introductions to Isabel Allende's work. After all these years these four books still remain my all-time favorite reading experiences. Allende not only captured the magic realism of Chilean culture, but also wrote this element into magical tales of her own. It became captivating reads. All her books about Chile were fictional biographies, or at least contained strong elements of it. This novel is no exception. The story of the Dalmau family, and Roser, who was rescued as a girl by Victor's father where she herded goats in the Catalina mountains, began in Spain during the civil war and just before the outbreak of Second World War. Victor, his mother, Charme, and Roser, who was in love with Victor's brother, had to keep the promise made to Victor's father on his deathbed to leave the country. The family was forced to abandon a good life and flee via France to Chile with the help of the poet Pablo Neruda who sponsored the evacuation of 2200 people on the Winnipeg. They would disembark the ship in the Chilean port of Valpraiso on the same day that WWII broke out. September 1st, 1939. Wealthy Isidro and Laura del Solar, with their two grown-up children, Felipe and Ofelia, entered the newly married couple's lives in Chile. Felipe offered them accommodation and met them on the ship. A medical doctor by the name of Salvadore Allende, who, days later, would become the minister of Health and some time later, the Socialist president of Chile, was there to assist them too. A new life awaited the couple with their son, but their challenges were not over. The two families would forever remain entangled. Isabel Allende mentioned in the Acknowledgments that this novel was based on the true story of Victor Fey, who was a refugee in Venezuela with her. The story told itself, she said. This novel does not fit into the Chilean realm of her first four novels, mentioned above. Once again the horrors of war, the plight of refugees, and the aftermath of Salvadore Allende's actions formed the background to this kind-of memoir in novel form. It felt more like a memoir than a novel. I loved the fast-paced, detailed, historical events, and the way the author constructed this multi-generational plot to include three generations of family and friends. Victor Dalmau, a man of few words, is the main focus of the story. As a young man he joined the Spanish Civil War and worked as a medical auxiliary to save the wounded. The story began where he held a sixteen-year-old boy's heart in his hand and resuscitate it. The young boy came back from death and later would tattoo Victor's name beneath the scar. Victor saved everyone in this novel and never demanded anything back. To me he is the true hero of this tale. This event served as a metaphor. A brilliant one. There are a few peripheral characters who carried the story forward. Actually, they were pivotal to the plot: Elizabeth Eidenbenz was a Swiss Red Cross nurse (with the face of a virgin and the courage of a battle-hardened veteran) who traveled from war zone to war zone to help children. She arranged for pregnant Roser to live with a Quaker family in France, while waiting for the baby's arrival. Roser had to marry Victor, a marriage of convenience, to be allowed onto the Winnipeg with him. Unbeknownst to Roser, her beloved already passed away. Aitor Ibarra - the immortal Basque, who constantly sang to himself and laughed out loud to mock death, and somehow managed to maneuver his motorbike with the sidecar through hell and damnation to the French border to ensure that Roser and Victor's mother would be safe; Father Vicente Urbina, Doña Laura's nephew; Juana, who took care of all the del Solar children. She would eventually tie all the knots and change the future of the two families. What a twist she brought to this tale! Salvador Allende featured again, and was depicted as the peaceful, respected leader who wanted a violent-free revolution through elections and Popular Unity. The experience of Popular Unity and its dramatic and bloody end is dealt with in a book titled 1000 Days of Revolution. The nine chapters of the book were written by Chilean communists as part of their party's attempt to self-critically analyses the weaknesses of Popular Unity. These articles were originally published in the Prague-based World Marxist Review... SOURCE Salvador Allende, peacefully, nationalized the banks and copper mines, expropriated land, destroyed the economy, and basically left a country in shock. These events lead to the dictatorial military junta of General Augusto Pinochet. Repression was instantaneous, brutal, and thorough. It was announced that no stone would remain unturned, that the Marxists would be dragged out of their hiding places wherever they were, and the fatherland would be cleansed of the communist cancer at any cost. Isabel Allende blamed the Americans for the events that followed after her uncle took up the reigns, as well as for the unrest which brought his political career to an end. In reality his victory was brittle, and his reign depended heavily on a coalition government with other leftist groups. It was a fragile majority. Too fragile. One of the conclusions reached in 1000 Days of Revolution was that the left cannot simply take over the existing machinery of government and the state from the existing ruling class and use it for different ends. Second that no successful revolutionary movement can succeed unless it can consolidate and maintain a political majority in society. Allende adds a lighter tone, a warmhearted, caring facade to her stories, just when the reader needs it. The grim events are balanced out, particularly towards the end. I appreciate the way she respected the characters, as well as the readers. It makes her books stand out. The characters were all flawed, but, in the end, good people, except one or maybe two of them. Her gripes lay more with the opponents of Socialism/Communism and particularly anti-feminist women. A Long Petal Of The Sea is Chile in spirit and soul. Once again, Isabel brought the heart of her homeland to her devoted readers in atmospheric, colorful prose. I thank her for this new Chilean experience. Although I steered clear of several of her later books, I just adore this author's writing style. This book was Allende as I want to remember her.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Helga

    “Someday, somewhere — anywhere, unfailingly, you'll find yourself, and that, and only that, can be the happiest or bitterest hour of your life.” -Pablo Neruda Moving, inspirational and poetic, A Long Petal of the Sea is a tale of endurance, love and survival despite inhumanity, violence, ruin and loss. A tale of strength in the face of a destructive and cruel hurricane called war. -“So much hatred, so much cruelty… I don’t understand…” -“We can all turn into savages if we’re given a rifle and an o “Someday, somewhere — anywhere, unfailingly, you'll find yourself, and that, and only that, can be the happiest or bitterest hour of your life.” -Pablo Neruda Moving, inspirational and poetic, A Long Petal of the Sea is a tale of endurance, love and survival despite inhumanity, violence, ruin and loss. A tale of strength in the face of a destructive and cruel hurricane called war. -“So much hatred, so much cruelty… I don’t understand…” -“We can all turn into savages if we’re given a rifle and an order.” It is during the Spanish Civil War and General Franco has become the leader. The opposition and the dispossessed can stay and die or they may choose to flee to France. Among the emigrants are Victor, an army doctor and his pregnant sister in law Roser, a pianist. How can I live so far from what I loved, from what I love? Hence begins this odd couple's journey across continents, facing adversity and oppression, encountering obstacles and misfortunes but never giving up, never losing hope. And what they come to realize is that you can never bring back the past but you can build steps towards a happy future. I have slept with you The whole night long While the dark earth turns With the living and the dead.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Elle

    ”Pain is unavoidable, but suffering is optional.” In a sweeping novel that encompasses the Spanish Civil War, the Second World War, multiple regime changes in Chile and various other locations throughout the world, Isabel Allende takes us on a journey through the history of the country she loves dearly. Despite being “the world’s most widely read Spanish-language author”, I was unfamiliar with her before picking up A Long Petal of the Sea. Nope, I was simply drawn in by the historical context, bl ”Pain is unavoidable, but suffering is optional.” In a sweeping novel that encompasses the Spanish Civil War, the Second World War, multiple regime changes in Chile and various other locations throughout the world, Isabel Allende takes us on a journey through the history of the country she loves dearly. Despite being “the world’s most widely read Spanish-language author”, I was unfamiliar with her before picking up A Long Petal of the Sea. Nope, I was simply drawn in by the historical context, blurb and how beautiful the book art was—like the cover slut I am. Adding her to the list of Acclaimed-Authors-I’ve-Never-Heard-Of, I ended up doing some research on her history and past books. Apparently the literary snobs of Chile don’t like Allende’s work, which honestly just makes me like her more. I was also surprised to see her own surname pop up in the book itself, as that of the former President of Chile, Salvador Allende. He was her father’s first cousin, and later his daughter, also named Isabel Allende [Bussi], was the first woman elected President of the Senate in Chile. But the former president wasn’t the only real person represented as a character in this novel. The two most significant examples being, Pablo Neruda and Elisabeth Eidenbenz. Neruda was a Chilean poet who’s poems begin each chapter of the book, and who was close with both the former president and one of the two fictional main characters, Victor Dalmau. The other real person, Elisabeth, was instrumental in getting Victor and Roser to safety...always in the nick of time. This seemed to be a theme in the book. Victor and Roser would fall into circumstances of the world around them, almost always entirely out of their control, and then would be saved by a friend in a high place before there could be much lasting damage. Honestly, for multiple-time refugees that survived all kinds of persecution, poverty and internment, they actually ended up being pretty privileged. This is one of my two complaints with the book, that it relies too heavily on real historical figures to the point where the fictional characters feel unsubstantial in comparison. The other thing was that her writing was really expositional. It read more like a really long recap than a meaningful examination of political conflict and war or how that impacts the average person. I feel like I barely knew Roser and Victor at all, despite knowing their entire biographies. I kept waiting to be swept away, but that momentum just never came. I will say that with Allende’s closeness to the subject matter, you get a really comprehensive historical account of those parts of Catalan and Chilean history. You may go into it with an idea of the politics surrounding the region, but I left with a lot more insight into how countries like Chile, Venezuela, etc. came to be the way that they are currently (spoiler: it’s the US’ doing). I’m not sure if I’ll read more of Allende’s work, her writing style may not be for me, but I appreciate her contributions to authentic Latin & South American storytelling.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Chilean-American Allende’s novel follows Victor Dalmau and Roser Bruguera as they become refugees in January 1939 when Francisco Franco defeated Spain’s Republican army at Barcelona. Each of them joined the half million other defeated Spaniards fleeing to France and placed into concentration camps. [Almost 15,000 people perished in the French camps—including 9 out of 10 children.] Victor marries Roser whom is pregnant with Victor’s dead brothers’ child in order to be included on the S.S. Winnipeg Chilean-American Allende’s novel follows Victor Dalmau and Roser Bruguera as they become refugees in January 1939 when Francisco Franco defeated Spain’s Republican army at Barcelona. Each of them joined the half million other defeated Spaniards fleeing to France and placed into concentration camps. [Almost 15,000 people perished in the French camps—including 9 out of 10 children.] Victor marries Roser whom is pregnant with Victor’s dead brothers’ child in order to be included on the S.S. Winnipeg. [The real-life poet Pablo Neruda persuaded Chile’s president to provide asylum for 2,000 Spanish refugees.] Victor had been studying medicine before becoming a medic for the Republicans, and Roser is a gifted pianist. They find a home in Santiago. They will become refugees again when General Pinochet takes over Chile in a military coup and repressed numerous civil liberties. This time they flee to Venezuela, before returning to Chile when the government changes once again. Throughout all of this displacement, Victor and Roser fall in love—and love is what endures.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    [3.4] I appreciated that this novel encompassed both the Spanish Civil War and Chile's history from the 1940s to present. I also loved Neruda's role and the poems that headed each chapter. That's what made it a worthwhile read for me. But I wouldn't call it a satisfying novel. I was often distracted by the forced storytelling and flat characters- too much "telling" with mostly summaries of events and feelings. I also found the audiobook narrator (Edoardo Ballerini) overly dramatic. [3.4] I appreciated that this novel encompassed both the Spanish Civil War and Chile's history from the 1940s to present. I also loved Neruda's role and the poems that headed each chapter. That's what made it a worthwhile read for me. But I wouldn't call it a satisfying novel. I was often distracted by the forced storytelling and flat characters- too much "telling" with mostly summaries of events and feelings. I also found the audiobook narrator (Edoardo Ballerini) overly dramatic.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    oops -- other book -- who knew it was posted twice? silly! lol Ohhhhhhhh ...now I see the problem -- THIS is s SPECIAL signed copy! -- oops. The book is great -- that's what is important!! :) oops -- other book -- who knew it was posted twice? silly! lol Ohhhhhhhh ...now I see the problem -- THIS is s SPECIAL signed copy! -- oops. The book is great -- that's what is important!! :)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    There are two things I like about Isabel Allende’s books. One she is a gifted writer and her prose is beautiful. The second is she puts her characters into a real historical/political situation. In this book there are a few key issues that have parallels similar to today’s world. The rise of fascism and the massive number of refugees. The story starts with the Spanish Civil War and follows our protagonist as refugees that are eventually accepted into Chile with the help of Chilean poet Pablo Neru There are two things I like about Isabel Allende’s books. One she is a gifted writer and her prose is beautiful. The second is she puts her characters into a real historical/political situation. In this book there are a few key issues that have parallels similar to today’s world. The rise of fascism and the massive number of refugees. The story starts with the Spanish Civil War and follows our protagonist as refugees that are eventually accepted into Chile with the help of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. Allende covers a number of societal problems such as women’s right or lack of and the treatment of unwed mothers by the Catholic church. I must admit I never realized the number of Spanish refugees that fled into France at the end of the Civil War. I was surprised by the number of parallels between then and now. The book grabbed my attention at the start and held it throughout. I highly recommend this book. I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book is nine hours and forty-six minutes. Edoardo Ballerini does an excellent job narrating the book. Ballerini is an actor and has won multiple Earphone Awards as well as an Audie Award. He won the best male narrator Award for 2019 and also the Audiofile Magazine 2019 Golden Voice Award.

  28. 4 out of 5

    BookOfCinz

    A Long Petal Of The Sea by Isabel Allende was one of my most anticipated read for 2020, so much so I requested an ARC from Random House. I have been such a great fan of Allende's I know this book was deliver. A Long Petal In The Sea opened in the late 1930s during the Spain Civil War where Spain is being ripped apart. Thousands of Spanish people are fleeing to safety to other nearby countries, there is not much food and not a lot of places to ide from the Fascists. Embroiled in all of this is A Long Petal Of The Sea by Isabel Allende was one of my most anticipated read for 2020, so much so I requested an ARC from Random House. I have been such a great fan of Allende's I know this book was deliver. A Long Petal In The Sea opened in the late 1930s during the Spain Civil War where Spain is being ripped apart. Thousands of Spanish people are fleeing to safety to other nearby countries, there is not much food and not a lot of places to ide from the Fascists. Embroiled in all of this is the Dalmau family. Father who is a piano teacher and lover of the arts, Mother who is the amiable giver and continues to dote on her two sons. The two sons went off to war, one died leaving his pregnant love interest Roser pregnant with no way to leave Spain. When renowned Chilean poet Pablo Neruda hearing about the civil war and wanting to help some Spanish people decided to sponsor the SS Winnipeg leave from Spain to Chile, taking with them over 2000 refugees who would help Chile create a better tomorrow. In order to get on the ship, Victor decides to marry his brother's wife Roser to ensure they get a new start away from the Civil War. Upon setting sail to Chile Europe was plunged into World War. Victor and Roser never heard of Chile until they started sailing off to this new continent. There are a lot of things for these two to get climatize to but being hard workers Victor and Roser carved out a great life in Chile while they patiently wait for a day when they can maybe be divorced and start a life separate from each other. I expected to be utterly enthralled with this book but if I am being honest, I was not. I loved hearing about the Spanish Civil War and how it had a ripple effect thorough the world including parts of South America. I absolutely LOVED reading about the history of Spain and Chile. There are so many things I did not know about Chile as a country so that really was an eye opener and I loved it. I felt that Allende in wanting to tell us about the history kinda let the characters suffered. It is clear that a lot of research went into writing in tis book, but I felt the editing could have been better. A lot of things included in the book was not necessary and didnt help with character develop or letting me have a deeper connection with the characters. I wanted to love this, absolutely love this book but I felt it missed the mark. I will say that if you want a book that talks about the Spanish Civil War and Chile's History, this is definitely the place to start. Overall, "an ok read"

  29. 5 out of 5

    Joan Happel

    Isabel Allende is a master story teller, blending history and fiction, painting a picture of a different time and place with masterful brush strokes, while writing characters and words that stay with the reader, long after we close the book. This time around she tells the story of Victor Dalmau and Roser Bruguera. Caught up in the Spanish Civil War and the atrocities of General Francisco Franco, they are forced to flee Spain for France, and eventually make it to Chile with the help of Pablo Neru Isabel Allende is a master story teller, blending history and fiction, painting a picture of a different time and place with masterful brush strokes, while writing characters and words that stay with the reader, long after we close the book. This time around she tells the story of Victor Dalmau and Roser Bruguera. Caught up in the Spanish Civil War and the atrocities of General Francisco Franco, they are forced to flee Spain for France, and eventually make it to Chile with the help of Pablo Neruda. Spanning form 1938 to 1994 the ebb and flow, the triumphs and failures of these two and their family paint a picture of the immigrants life and trials. The strength and courage it takes to leave everything behind you and start again in an unknown world shows the resilience of the human spirit. Readers will not be able to but draw the lines between the events of the past and what is happening around the world today. Beautifully written with a strong sense of time and place, with lyrical prose and well-developed characters. Readers of all sorts will be drawn to this novel and it is sure to be picked up by book clubs for a lively and timely book discussion. Thanks to Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine and NetGalley for the e-ARC.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    This is an epic tale of Victor and Roser’s plight as the leave the home they love. It is the story of the Spanish Civil War based on the true story of Victor Pey. Victor Dalmau is a Army doctor, Roser Bruguera is pregnant with Victor’s deceased brothers child. After Franco over throws the government. Victor decides to leave Spain immediately. They partake a dangerous journey over the mountains to the French border. Victor discovers that they can take a ship to Chili charted by Pablo Neruda, the po This is an epic tale of Victor and Roser’s plight as the leave the home they love. It is the story of the Spanish Civil War based on the true story of Victor Pey. Victor Dalmau is a Army doctor, Roser Bruguera is pregnant with Victor’s deceased brothers child. After Franco over throws the government. Victor decides to leave Spain immediately. They partake a dangerous journey over the mountains to the French border. Victor discovers that they can take a ship to Chili charted by Pablo Neruda, the poet, but he must marry Roser to accomplish this. Together with two thousand refugees they embark on the S.S. Winnipeg. Roser and Victor face many challenges along the way as they immigrate to a new country. Through all of this they hope to one day to return to Spain. This is a beautifully written work of historical fiction, with wonderful character development. You can feel the pain and suffering Victor and Roser endured. Each chapter begins with a quote from Pablo Neruda the famous poet. You will see in time how Victor and Roser’s relationship changes. It is a wonderful read.

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