A Long Petal of the Sea: A Novel

If there is any region in the United States that knows the anxiety of living in an authoritarian regime, manufactured coup d’etats and the hope of resilience, it is Latin American. To be more specific, it is Chile. Isabel Allende’s A Long Petal Of The Sea is one of those gifted novels that beautifully narrates love, survival and one’s own capacity to live in a mad world. The story of this novel revolves around the time of Spanish Civil War and it begins as a huge number of people cross the border into France to free themselves of the atrocities of the new regime. Displacement is in the fate of these people as they settle for temporary safeties. Among these people is a refugee named Roser. She is a pianist who is widowed and pregnant with the child of her dead husband. Roser gets an offer from her husband’s brother, Victor, to get married as it will increase their chances of survival. Though neither of them wants to get married yet this partnership connects them in a strong bond.

A Long Petal of the sea

4.5 out of 5


Along with other Spanish refugees, Victor and Roser embark on a journey to Chile on a rescue ship that was chartered by a poet named Pablo Neruda. As both of them gradually fall in love with each other, the readers fall in love with them. This story is a roller coaster of emotions so fasten your seatbelts and get ready for a wonderful experience.

Book Details

Print length 336 pages
Language English
Publisher Ballantine Books
Publication date January 21, 2020
Weight 1.25 pounds
Dimensions 6.44 x 1.04 x 9.45 inches

About the Author

Isabel Allende

Isabel Allende -philanthropist, novelist, feminist- is one of the most read authors around the globe and has sold over 75 million books. Born in Peru, Allende won worldwide recognition in 1982 as her first novel, The House of Spirits, got published. Since then, she has written over 25 critically acclaimed and best-selling books, including The Japanese Lover, An Island Beneath The Sea, Paula, The Soul of a Woman, A Long Petal of the Sea and many more. Translated into over 42 languages, Isabel’s work educates and entertains people by weaving imaginative stories with important historical events.

Along with being a writer, she devotes most of her time to social work. In 1996, after the death of her daughter Paula, Allende opened a charitable foundation in her honor. This foundation has provided grants to various nonprofit organizations and has provided life-changing care to thousands of girls and women all around the globe. This famous author has received 15 doctores and has been inducted in California Hall of Fame. Along with these, she has also received the Anisfield-Wolf Lifetime Achievement Award and the PEN Center Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2014, Allende was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama. In 2018, the National Book Foundation presented Isabel Allende with the Medal for Distinguished Contribution for American Letters. View Amazon Profile

Our Take

Written by the author of The Soul of a Woman, the story of this novel spans over decades and crosses continents. It follows the life of two young people who started a new journey after getting away from the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. Their journey began in search of a place to call home; however, they became each other’s home. We believe that this is one of the best books written by Isabel Allende. She has beautifully written about the Civil War which makes the readers create a vivid imagination in their heads while reading it. It is a strategically charming story that is timeless yet perfectly timed for today. This inspirational story is not only about history or historical facts but it parallels the current issues of the world as well.

We believe that it is a book where you will get a chance to know two people who fall in love with each other, how they grow individually and together. It will also narrate the bond that Victor and Roser shared and how it helped them survive through their travels. This novel revolves around various themes. From war to love and from growth to survival, this story has it all.
If you are thinking that this story is all about history and facts then don’t be fooled as it encompasses a lot more than this. It is an intimate tale filled with a plethora of emotions.

Along with getting to know each other, Victor and Roser also find them in a clash of new and old cultures. As they keep traveling they are exposed to different cultures where they discover new things. Allende gracefully narrates the struggle of letting go of culture and embracing a new culture. People who enjoy reading about different cultures would also love to read this novel. It also encompasses debate and policy surrounding the issues of immigration and refugees.

People who have read this novel are thoroughly impressed with the way Allende has portrayed the characters. Most of these people loved how she vividly evokes not only fictional characters but the historical figures as well. The book also gives an excellent introduction of the Spanish revolution which helps people learn about it. Some people got to know more about the Spanish revolution through this book, while others got a chance to revisit the event.

While many readers loved the experience of reading A Long Petal of the Sea, some found the story to be too slow and overwhelming. They are of the opinion that the style of writing used by Isabele in this book has made it boring. A lot of readers have said that the historical period initially attracted them to read this novel; however, they felt that it overshadows the story with too many facts. Some readers are of the opinion that there is too much history in this story and the journey of the characters is merely discussed.
Since everybody has a different point of view, there are a lot of fiction lovers who loved this book. We suggest you read it yourself and decide what you think of it.

What we Liked

A Long Petal of the Sea is a book that is a beautiful fusion of history and imagination. It is one of those historical fiction novels that we believe everyone should read. We loved how Isabele has intertwined two very strong concepts- war and love. Along with love and war, the story is also about growing as a person and embracing changes. We think that the way Isabel Allende has explained the Spanish revolution and the problems that it created for people is commendable. Not only does this novel impart knowledge but entertains the readers.