A Long Petal of the Sea

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Mar 2020

Member Reviews

I struggled to get into this book.  I am usually a big fan of Isabel Allende however this novel didn't grab me within the first few pages. I will still recommend this to her other fans because they may enjoy it.
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This book follows two families who are living two very different lives, but who manage to have their lives intertwined with one another throughout time.
The families both survive the Spanish Civil War, as well as military coups, and one family in particular deals with the having family fighting in the wars and also some are exiled due to their beliefs. In the end they end up in Chile, even though they are part of two different social classes. Throughout the story we watch as some of the people pass on, and some people continue to show back up, which sometimes can complicate things. 
The main characters are Victor, Roser and Marcel; husband, wife and son, respectively.  Also, we have in the other family, Ofelia, Felipe, and Laura; daughter, son, and mother, respectively.   There are many other characters that intertwine in their lives throughout the story, however they are the main characters. 
This book makes you think about what is most important in life, and that's love and kindness. Ultimately that matters more than anything else.  I would definitely recommend this book to someone who enjoys historical fiction, because this book is based a lot on the author's actual experiences.
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Thank you to the publisher and author for providing me with a digital ARC of this title via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. 

I came across this author about 10 years ago when my husband gave me a paperback of Daughters of Fortune for Christmas. I loved it and have since then looked for more by Isabel Allende. She is a talented storyteller with deeply detailed, emotional stories and interesting characters told in different historical times and regions. Her newest title, A Long Petal of the Sea lived up to everything I expected and hoped for. I learned a lot about Spain's civil war and Chile's acceptance of many Spanish refugees sponsored by the poet Pablo Neruda. Fascinating events from history that came alive to me through Allende's deep and touching characters. I loved the relationship between Victor and Roser, which started very unconventionally but grew into a strong, long-lasting love through years of supporting each other during struggles. loss, and rebuilding.
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Love any book from Isabel Allende!! She is s great storyteller! All her books capture your attention. This book was no different! Can not wait for her next book!!!
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So right from the start, I could tell that this wasn't the book for me.  I made it about 1/3rd of the way through before I gave up.  That being said, the narration and writing style is beautiful.  The story just didn't pique my interest.  Allende has a way with words, absolutely and I would definitely try to read something on hers again  This time around, however, it didn't work out.

2/5 Stars
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Spanning almost 7 decades, this family saga is replete with details that paint a picture at once historical and personal. In this engaging and heart wrenching tale, Allende has woven a story that combines the true crossing of the Winnipeg, a ship chartered by Nobel-prize winning Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, with the fictionalized history of a fractured family fleeing the fascist regime of Franco in Spain. Allende's accounting of the actual events of the Spanish Civil War and the eventual coming-to-power of the Pinochet government are the more horrific due to the empathy one feels for the compelling characters of her creation. Intensely personal and sweepingly universal, this is a story of fortitude and resilience.
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Chile is the country described by the book's title, A Long Petal of the Sea. Roser and Victor traveled across several continents to escape Franco's Civil War. Victor was a young man with an interest in medicine, and Roser was Victor's sister-in-law. As things became utterly impossible in Spain, Roser and Victor began traveling, first to France where they lived in a refugee camp and then with Pablo Neruda's help, onto The Winnipeg, a ship whose refugees would be accepted by Chile.

The story is long and full of the small details we rarely know about when a person loses everything and almost starves to death. I stayed with this rather long this novel. I had to uncover all the mysteries of Roser and Victor and their friends and family. I needed to know how generations of refugees survive a horrific tragedy. Would they ever find peace and happiness? This novel left me with hope even when today, similar appalling conditions are being endured all over the world.

IA has written a loving war story, a hopeful love story, and a real bit of history. Thank you to the author, Random House, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this beautiful saga (Jan 21).
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In the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, a pregnant widow and her husband’s brother are left grieving all that they've lost, and fearing all that is to come in World War II. After climbing through mountains into France and being placed in concentration camps, the two are offered a new life in Chile thanks to a ship chartered by poet Pablo Neruda. Throughout the rest of their lives, they try to escape the ghosts of their past and find somewhere that feels like home.

This is a stunning tale, masterfully told by the incomparable Isabel Allende, with layers of history both political and personal. Roser and Victor have such spirit and resilience, and their journey together is incredibly touching. There's also so much to learn in this book about Spanish and Chilean history, and a truly moving depiction of the immigrant experience. Allende's prose is spellbinding, and this story of love, loss, and rebuilding is unforgettable.
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I was very intrigued by this book and am glad I got a chance to read it, but I couldn't quite connect to the story or the characters. I think it's the style of Allende's writing, which sometimes works for me and sometimes just doesn't. I think some readers will adore this book, but for me it was just ok.
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I’ve enjoyed some of Isabel Allende’s previous novels and her most recent was certainly no exception.  Allende is such a gifted storyteller.  Even better is the fact that this novel is based on historical events.

I must admit, I know very little about Spanish history, especially the Spanish Civil War that occurred during the late 1930’s.  I was surprised to read that Spanish citizens had to flee the country for safety.

Two of these citizens who fled were Roser and Victor.  Roser, who was pregnant with Victor’s brother’s child, fled with help from Victor and one of his friends.  She stays for a time in France and soon she and Victor are re-united.  After learning that Victor’s brother has died, the two make a decision to marry in order for them to be able to emigrate to Chile.

Unfortunately for the couple, in later years they will face more strife in Chile due to political upheaval.  On a more positive note, what began as a marriage of convenience, ends up being the love of a lifetime for Victor and Roser.  I found this to be a very engrossing story, although there was a bit more politics than I was expecting.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for allowing to read an advance copy and give an honest review
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The life story of Victor and Roser reflects the history of the Spanish Civil War, emigration of Spanish refugees to Chile, and the fraught political history of that country.  

I enjoy Isabel Allende’s non magical writing, and this saga is no exception.  The atrocities man inflicts upon man are told in a matter of fact manner, but this does not take away from their horrors.  Each chapter begins with a quote from poet Pablo Neruda, an important actor in the history and culture of Chile whose life is interwoven into this narrative. 

Written in third person gives the reader the feeling of being an observer not only of the lives of Victor and Roser, but also monumental historical events.  Some of those events gives one pause in reflecting on our current political climate as well.
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Simply a better writer than most! We all heard the names, Salvador Allende, Pablo Neruda - but what really happened in Chile in the early 70s? Excellent novel based on historical facts.
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I usually love Isabel Allende's books so I was eager to read this one.  For me, this one was hard to read.  As usual, Allende used beautiful, poetic language and descriptions and the book was obviously heavily researched.  But I never felt connected to any of the characters.  There was so much detail and descriptions of war, that the story of the characters bogged down for me.  This is just my opinion.  I'm sure many people will declare this her best work yet.  As for me, I'll just look forward to her next book.
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Interesting tale, well researched and written.  Allende knows how to capture us from the beginning.  Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher.
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Isabel Allende's personal history and extensive research  tells the story of a couple that escapes Spain's Civil War for Chile only to be caught up over the years in the trials and civil disruptions there as well.   A marriage of convenience between Victor and his pregnant, widowed sister-in-law set the stage for their escape from Spain and a long journey to a new and unexpected life in Chile.  This generational story weaves together factual events with the fiction of the plot line in a slow, graceful narrative waltz.  The characters are multi-dimensional and rich with emotion and life.  The plot runs the spectrum from suffering, sadness and great joy.  I'm a fan of the author and appreciate the opportunity from NetGalley to previous this book.
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This was a well written and very well researched trip to 1930's Spain and Argentina. I never did really connect with any of the characters but it was very interesting none the less.
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Isabel Allende is such a great storyteller. This book follows the lives of Roser and Victor, who flee Spain after the Civil War to Chile on board a boat commissioned by the poet Pablo Neruda. While the story is fiction, it's based on true events and real people. Allende creates complicated characters full of depth and perception who are responding to their worlds being turned upside down. The connections between Spain and Chile, the customs, cultures and plight of refugees is dealt with beautifully and poignantly. As a reader, I sympathized with the difficult and varied circumstances that so many of the characters found themselves in, and felt through her writing just how much war affects all humanity. Ultimately, this is a story of people, what they do to survive and how they make a life even when everything is collapsing around them. Themes of resilience, love and hope thread through the narrative. A throughly enjoyable read.
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Isabel Allende is a favorite author for me.  Allende's books always seem to allow travel to so many countries! This one started in Spain, and spent time France, Chile, Argentina, and the United States.  The focus of the book is an epic journey of the lives of  Victor Dalmau (an army doctor), and Roser (Victor's late brother's pregnant girlfriend.  They flee Spain during the Spanish Civil War, just before World War II, and cross the Pyranees into France.  Somehow they made it aboard a ship carrying refugees to Chile.  They made their home there and things are peaceful for awhile, but it seems trouble can't help but find these two people.  They face many hurdles during the course of the story.

I enjoyed following their lives and their remarkable journey.  Their lives were remarkable.  I found at the end that this book was based on actual events and historical figures even though the book is a work of fiction.  

Thanks to Isabel Allende and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine through Netgalley for an advance copy of this book.
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I love this author and just could not wait to get my hands on her latest work. She tells such an involved and developed story, I always feel like I have a bit of withdrawals when I'm done reading her novels! Love the story, love the writing, would definitely recommend!
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The novel spans the period 1938 to 1994, the novel focuses on Victor Dalmau, a 23-year-old medical student fighting in the Spanish Civil War on the Republican side. Victor and thousands of other Republican sympathizers flee Spain to avoid brutal reprisals. In France, he searches the packed refugee camps for Roser Bruguera, who is pregnant with his brother Guillem’s child. ( Guillem had died in battle)
Victor through Chilean poet Pablo Neruda has organized to transport Spanish refugees from Europe manages to win a place on the Winnipeg a ship destined for Chile. Victor persuades Roser to marry him in name only so they can take the journey to Chile. Victor begins to fall in love with Roser 
They raise Roser’s son, Marcel and create stable lives as a Cardiologist and Roser as a musician.
Through it all, their hope of returning to Spain keeps them going. 
 This is an engrossing novel of hope, exile, love, war and above all family.
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