A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende

Literary Loop

From New York Times bestselling author Isabel Allende comes this epic historical fiction novel that spans decades and crosses continents, following two young people as they flee the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War.

In the late 1930s, civil war grips Spain. When General Franco and his Fascists succeed in overthrowing the government, hundreds of thousands are forced to flee. Among them is Roser, a pregnant young widow, who finds her life 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 desires.

Together with two thousand other refugees, they embark on the SS Winnipeg, a ship chartered by the poet Pablo Neruda, to Chile: “the long petal of sea and wine and snow.” Starting over on a new continent, their trials are just beginning, and over the course of their lives, they will face many more. But they will also find joy as they patiently await the day when they will be exiles no more.

Through it all, their hope of returning to Spain keeps them going. Destined to witness the battle between freedom and repression as it plays out across the world, Roser and Victor will find that home might have been closer than they thought all along.