Novelist Isabel Allende in her new book A LONG PETAL OF THE SEA takes her readers on a journey beginning with the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s and ending in her native Chile.
Refugees from Franco’s takeover of Spain crowd over the French Border seeking asylum somewhere, anywhere. Poet-diplomat Pablo Neruda becomes a non-fiction co-narrator of the novel as the ship Winnipeg transports the disposed across the globe to his native Chile.
“Life is how we tell it” and so begins the story of lives lived and lost, loves of convenience and passion, glimpses of ruling classes, military juntas, Allende, Pinochet, escape to Venezuela and a return to the petal of the sea.
I have enjoyed Allende’s Daughter of Fortune, Island Beneath the Sea and The Japanese Lover. A LONG PETEL OF THE SEA is no exception. (Search this blog.) Wherever you may find yourself this summer, Allende’s new book or any of the aforementioned will be good company.
C.J. Sansom’s Winter in Madrid is a wonderful departure from his excellent Shardlake Series. Dissolution, Dark Fire, Sovereign, Revelation,and Heart-stone are all Sansom novels set in sixteenth century England. ( See my overviews of the aforementioned here at gordonsgoodreads.com).
Winter in Madrid is a novel set in 1940, just after the Spanish Civil War. It is a story of love, friendship and high adventure surrounding the rescue of a young veteran who left England after the evacuation of Dunkirk to join in the fight against the Fascists in Spain. English prep school friends find themselves together on Spanish soil some seeking their fortune, others justice and lost love.
Sansom delivers a bonus history of post Civil War Spain enveloped in an intriguing story that moves with a fine pace and bountiful energy. His writing is never flowery but captures the moment perfectly with a judicious vocabulary. One exception is ” coffee.” You will see what I mean as you devour this good read.
Samson’s latest in the Shardlake Series is Lamentation, which is next on my Sansom list. I will post upon completion.