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A Long Petal of the Sea

by Isabel Allende

Book Club Recommendations Books of the Month Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel Family Drama Historical Fiction Literary Fiction Modern and Contemporary Fiction Relationship Stories Sharing Diverse Voices Star Books Translated Fiction

LoveReading View on A Long Petal of the Sea

An incredibly engaging, fascinating, and rather beautiful read, this book will stay with me for some time. A couple seek refuge after the Spanish Civil War and end up in Chile, where years later they again face exile. Covering the period from 1938 through to 1994, this is a story that crosses continents, examines topics such as fascism, war, and migration, yet is as intimate as intimate can be. I entered and thought no more about the fact that this was translated from Spanish by Nick Caister and Amanda Hopkinson, it is so clearly, simply, and fabulously done. Within the first few pages there were tears in my eyes. I couldn’t stop reading, thoughtful and sensitive, yet not afraid to focus on unbearable sorrow, this feels as though it could be a biography. As Isabelle Allende explains in the acknowledgments, while this is a novel, with fictional characters (though based on people she has known), the historical events and people are real. She says: “This book wrote itself, as if it had been dictated to me” and I truly felt that. A Long Petal of the Sea opened my eyes and my heart, and has left me wanting to know more. Coming as highly recommended by me, it has also been chosen as a LoveReading Star Book.

Liz Robinson

A Long Petal of the Sea Synopsis

That September 2, 1939, the day of the Spanish exiles' splendid arrival in Chile, the Second World War broke out in Europe.

Victor Dalmau is a young doctor when he is caught up in the Spanish Civil War, a tragedy that leaves his life - and the fate of his country - forever changed. Together with his sister-in-law, the pianist Roser Bruguera, he is forced out of his beloved Barcelona and into exile.

When opportunity to seek refuge in Chile arises, they take it, boarding a ship chartered by the poet Pablo Neruda to the promised 'long petal of sea and wine and snow' over the seas. There, they find themselves enmeshed in a rich web of characters who come together in love and tragedy over the course of four generations, destined to witness the battle between freedom and repression as it plays out across the world.

A masterful work of historical fiction about hope, exile and belonging, A Long Petal of the Sea is Isabel Allende at the height of her powers.

A Long Petal of the Sea Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

An intense read about an awful time in Europe's history, bringing to life the suffering of many people. Full review

christine woolfenden

A Long Petal of the Sea is part family saga, part history lesson. It adds a deep level of humanity to its representation of historical events. Full review

Alison Burns

Follow the fates of Roser and Victor as they flee the brutalities of the Spanish civil war to find a better life in Chile. This couple who are forced together out of necessity face adversity again and again. Full review

Jo Corrado

Epic story of the less familiar (to me at least) Spanish immigrant experience in Chile. Full review


An engaging novel. A family saga and history lesson, based around A Long Petal Of The Sea. Full review

Heather Byrne

Isabel Allende’s A Long Petal of the Sea is about people, exiled not once but twice, who are determined to survive and even thrive in their adopted countries, and what home signifies. Full review

Kathryn Eastman

History and human resilience combined. An epic journey of exile, adversity, bravery, hope and a search for home. Full review

Barbara Gaskell

A Long Petal of the Sea Press Reviews

Allende has everything it takes: the ear, the eye, the mind, the heart, the all-encompassing humanity - New York Times

Isabel Allende is a grand storyteller who writes with surpassing compassion and insight. Her place as an icon of world literature was secured long ago. She will be celebrated, by readers and writers alike, for generations to come -- Khaled Hosseini

This is a novel not just for those of us who have been Allende fans for decades, but also for those who are brand new to her work: what a joy it must be to come upon Allende for the first time. She knows that all stories are love stories, and the greatest love stories are told by time -- Colum McCann

If Allende's life depended on her narrative gifts, she'd not only survive, but reign - Los Angeles Times

Allende's stories are delicate, their images akin to poetry -- Barbara Kingsolver

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781526627605
Publication date: 04/03/2021
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781526615909
Publication date: 21/01/2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781526615909
Publication date: 21st January 2020
Author: Isabel Allende
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Hardback
Genres: Book Club Recommendations, Books of the Month, Reader Reviewed Books, Family Drama, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Modern and Contemporary Fiction, Relationship Stories, Diverse Voices, Star Books, Translated Fiction,
Collections: 50 Books To Transport You To Another World, Our Favourite Books of 2020,

About Isabel Allende

Isabel Allende was born in Chile, and now lives in California. She worked for many years as a journalist before writing the internationally bestselling novel The House of the Spirits. Since then she has published the equally highly-acclaimed Of Love and Shadows, Eva Luna, The Stories of Eva Luna, ‘The Infinite Plan and ‘Paula.

More About Isabel Allende

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