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Instagram Twitter Facebook PinterestI 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, 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 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 extensive research and, as a Chilean, is writing about a time she lived through provides a compelling insider s look at events I knew very little about Thanks to Random House and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC. 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 Etc Page after page.I ve read academic history books with feeling. 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 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 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. 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. 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 than I did but I have to be honest I m giving it 3 stars because it would probably be unfair to give fewer. |DOWNLOAD EPUB ♄ Largo pétalo de mar ♖ 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 HomeIn The Late S, Civil War Gripped Spain When General Franco And His Fascists Succeed In Overthrowing The Government, Hundreds Of Thousands Are Forced To Flee In A Treacherous Journey Over The Mountains To The French Border Among Them Is Roser, A Pregnant Young Widow, Who Finds Her Life Irreversibly Intertwined With That Of Victor Dalmau, An Army Doctor And The Brother Of Her Deceased Love In Order To Survive, The Two Must Unite In A Marriage Neither Of Them Wants, And Together Are Sponsored By Poet Pablo Neruda To Embark On The SS Winnipeg Along With , Other Refugees In Search Of A New Life As Unlikely Partners, They Embrace Exile And Emigrate To Chile As The Rest Of Europe Erupts In World WarStarting Over On A New Continent, Their Trials Are Just Beginning Over The Course Of Their Lives, They Will Face Test After Test But They Will Also Find Joy As They Wait Patiently For A Day When They Are Exiles No , And Will Find Friends In The Most Unlikely Of Places Through It All, It Is That Hope Of Being Reunited With Their Home That Keeps Them Going And In The End, They Will Find That Home Might Have Been Closer Than They Thought All Along 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. 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 after many years of it being in the hands of multinational companies Victor is again at the behest of his surroundings as Allende s government is toppled by another brutal military dictatorship, that of Augusto Pinochet Victor once again has to flee his adopted country This is one of the best books I have read by Isabel Allende in recent years She writes convincingly because her personal story is tied to these events Her uncle was Salvador Allende I now have a much better understanding of what life is like when living under a military dictatorship. 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 between the characters I am disappointed, and frustrated, because when Allende remembers to pay attention to the story she is telling, and to the characters she s introduced, the writing can be luminous and poetic, but there is too little of that to satisfy the reader looking to dive into the events through the eyes and lives of these characters.