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A Long Petal of the Sea

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  3,116 ratings  ·  592 reviews
From the New York Times bestselling author of The House of the Spirits comes an epic novel spanning decades and crossing continents, following two young people as they flee the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War in search of a new place to call home.

In the late 1930s, civil war gripped Spain. When General Franco and his Fascists succeed in overthrowing the government,
Hardcover, 353 pages
Published January 21st 2020 by Ballantine Books (first published May 21st 2019)
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Brianna Skierka English edition to be released in Janurary 2020

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 ·  3,116 ratings  ·  592 reviews

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Angela M
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Jan 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
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 ...more
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Nov 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 writtenbooks 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
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.
Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ Campbell

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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
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
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
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 ...more
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 ...more
Allende’s latest novel starts out in 1938 Spain, at the height of the Spanish Civil War. After the triumph of Franco and the Fascists, Victor and his late brother’s pregnant girlfriend, Roser, set out to cross the Pyrenees into France. Against all odds, they survive, and eventually make their way to Chile. There, Victor attends medical school, marries Roser, who is a concert pianist, and they live in peace until the 1973 right wing coup causes them to suffer once again. Allende, who has done ...more
Nov 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
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
Sharon Huether
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
After the Spanish Civil War the people were fleeing the country; many on foot. They climbed the mountains to the French border.
Roser a pregnant widow and her husbands brother Victor Dalmau were among the thousands.
They were able to charter a boat that took them to Chile with other refugees . This exile kept them safe from the war in Europe.
The generations of the Dalmau family thrived and had a long life.
I liked how the author's writing flowed.
Sep 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Three stars because it is Isabelle Allende, but overall, I'd really give it just two. I have loved so many of Isabelle Allende’s novels, but this one was a struggle for me, as I did not like the style of the writing. It read like a list of events, sprinkled here and there with bits of character development and plot. I could not connect to the characters because it felt like they took a backseat to the unfolding of historical events. There was too little emotion, too little real interaction ...more
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is quite a story. Chilean-(Peruvian)-American Isabel Allende, one of Latin America's most internationally-known contemporary writers, takes us from 1938 Spain and the Spanish Civil War to Chile and the immigrant experience, complete with the political unrest there of the 1970s, ending her tale in 1994.

The root causes of the Spanish Civil War are quite complicated and Allende doesn't try to explain much of this. Instead we get a vivid picture of the horror, tragedy, and life-altering
Heather Fineisen
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
A generational saga is Allende at her best. Starting with the Spanish Civil War, characters are created that the reader feels vested in. A doctor, a brother lost, a pregnant girlfriend, a family friend, a worrying mother. Real to life characters that are refugees to France and then Pablo Neruda and the Winnepeg carry refugees to Chile. There is so much factual information available for the creation of the family's story that some events are glossed over. Overall, this is a satisfying fact based ...more
Maine Colonial
I read a free publisher's advance review copy.

Allende fans, the first thing you should know is that this isn’t a magical realism novel of the kind she’s known for. It’s a historical novel, though focused on the effect of historical events on the people caught up in their tide.

The story plays out over decades, starting in 1938 Spain, during the horrific Spanish Civil War sparked when the Nationalists (right-wing factions led by General Francisco Franco’s army group) revolted against the Second
Perhaps I was expecting too much. After all, all the ingredients are here for a masterful story. I've always been fascinated by the Spanish Civil War and that along with the undeniably talented author, was what drew me towards this title. Unfortunately I failed to connect with the characters and their journey as much as I'd anticipated. Disappointingly, The Long Petal waned somewhat for me.

A Random House - Ballantine ARC via NetGalley
Victoria Sadler
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think it’s been over a decade since I last read one of Isabel’s books. The House of the Spirits remains her masterclass and, many years ago, after I read that I threw myself into her writings. However, after a while I felt a bit exhausted by them – sentences that went on for pages and overdoses of magical realism left me a bit numb – so I wondered what I would find back in her world.

I needn’t have worried as this new novel sees Isabel in top form blending the personal and political to
Polly Vella
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The settings of this book were crucial to understanding the main character, Victor. As a young man, he has to flee Spain as the dictator Francisco Franco comes to power after a brutal civil war. He emigrates to Chile and manages to build a life for himself that includes friendships with powerful people such as the poet Pablo Neruda and the Socialist politician, Salvador Allende. Allende is elected to the presidency and promptly enacts socialist reforms such as nationalising the Copper industry ...more
Sotiris Karaiskos
In this book, the great Chilean writer comes back to the beginning with another story about the struggle of people in the storm of the political history of the Spanish world. Starting from the efforts of two people in the Spanish Civil War, in all of this violence and hatred but also in the hope that the rightness of their struggle makes all this effort worthwhile, the exit of the Republicans in the harshest conditions where the human determination is tested but at the same time flourishes ...more
Olga Miret
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to NetGalley and to Bloomsbury Publishing for providing me an ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review.
I have long been a fan of Isabel Allende’s novels, although I haven’t read any of her recent books, despite my best intentions. I read many of her early novels, in Spanish, and I enjoyed her take on Magic Realism, which I found inspiring. When I saw this novel, which combined Allende’s writing with a historical subject close to my heart (I’m from Barcelona, like the
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Historical fiction at it's best!!!!! The gripping story of a family caught up in the Civil War in Spain. I had no idea of the history. How Neruda the Chilien poet and diplomat sponsored the ship the Winnipeg to bring hundreds of refugees to freedom in Chile. As I said before historical fiction but based on fact!!!! This read had me hooked from the first and transported me back to this period. An eye opening and at times heartbraking insight on what a family endured to be
Alyssia Cooke
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this, but I will say that it probably isn't for everyone and it is a very slow and measured novel that revels in the detail. The writing style is also one that takes some getting used to as Allende certainly tells rather than shows, the entire book is her documenting things that have happened so you always feel as though you are looking in from the outside. Strangely enough, this actually works here and it might be because it is so clearly a deliberate stylistic choice rather ...more
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book! I had been looking forward to reading this author again.
This was a historical novel that took place starting at the end of the Spanish Civil War, which is something I knew very little to nothing about. It discusses turmoil in Spain, France and then in the 2nd half, Chile - which is where the main characters immigrated to.
Chile history was again, something I knew little, to nothing about. It was very fascinating and I love stories that follow families throughout their
Dec 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Thank you Goodreads for this ARC...
Somewhere between 'just ok' and 'I like this book', I rounded up to 3 stars, but admittedly had trouble understanding the political turmoil of both Spain and Chile throughout the book, and I also had difficulty connecting with the characters. After all the politics, we raced through Victor's life, as if nothing else besides the politics of the time mattered, which is a disservice to the story. I believe this book would have been more engaging with a better
3.5 stars. This book reads like a history lesson of the Spanish Civil War. I was lost at times while trying to absorb all the historical events. Even though the story was beautifully written all this information slowed down the story and I found myself skimming over many pages. This ARC was a goodreads win. Allende is an amazing writer and researcher and any history buff would enjoy this latest novel by her.
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This gorgeous, epic novel is a tremendous achievement. This is a story of Chile, of immigrants, of revolution and dissent, of loss and regret and sacrifice and family and love and everything that together form the blueprints of life, told across two continents over the course of nearly a century.

Allende is a brilliant writer. The prose in this novel is gorgeous and effortless, and the wide cast of characters Allende creates are complex, beautifully drawn, and feel incredibly real. I was
Nov 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, netgalley
A Long Petal of the Sea is Isabel Allende's semi fictionalized account (the historical figures are real, other characters are invented) of a pair of Republican refugees from Spain's Civil War who immigrate to Chile on a voyage arranged by poet Pablo Neruda. Yes, that voyage actually happened, and Neruda was the man behind it. Neruda was charged with choosing individuals with useful technical skills. He chose some people like these, but he also apparently chose people he found intelligent or ...more
Aug 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the first book that I have read from Isabel Allende. I understand why she has won so many awards. This book was amazing. The story pulls you in from the beginning, and you are on a roller coaster ride throughout. There is a beauty, a pain, a sadness, and unexpected joy in this book. While this is a work of historical fiction, the history here is spot on. Allende has certainly put a lot of research into this work, and it shows. This book is especially relevant as we think in our current ...more
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Isabel Allende Llona is a Chilean-American novelist. Allende, who writes in the "magic realism" tradition, is considered one of the first successful women novelists in Latin America. She has written novels based in part on her own experiences, often focusing on the experiences of women, weaving myth and realism together. She has lectured and done extensive book tours and has taught literature at ...more

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“Tenían pocos motivos de discusión y ninguno de pelea, estaban de acuerdo en lo fundamental y se sentían tan cómodos y contentos en presencia del otro como si estuvieran solos.” 0 likes
“«Si tienes vocación para la pintura, tarde o temprano vas a pintar y es mejor que sea temprano. ¿Por qué tiene que ser en París o Buenos Aires? Sólo necesitas disciplina. Es como el piano, ¿sabes? Rara vez da para vivir, pero hay que intentarlo», argumentó Roser.” 0 likes
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