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Blog Tour Review - The Only Way Out is Death by Varun Gwalani

 Blog Tour Review - The Only Way Out is Death by Varun Gwalani Twelve powerful people are kidnapped and imprisoned in an empty hotel. Each one of them has three choices: Live out the rest of their days peacefully in the hotel, Die by suicide so the rest of their companions can go free, Or murder one of their companions so they alone can go free. The Only Way Out is Death follows the story of these twelve people from the perspective of a young lawyer, Kiriaki, told as the events unfold. She has to forge messy alliances, navigate complex relationships and feuds, and, above all, try to stay alive. Meanwhile, the mastermind of this death game is lurking just out of view, watching them closely, making sure they are primed for murder. Will Kiriaki find the mastermind before it's too late for her? Will she outmanoeuvre the cutthroats before they cut her throat? There are twelve selfish lives in the hotel. Will it end in twelve selfish deaths? The Only Way Out is Death is a fascinating nov

Review - A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende

Review - A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende


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, he is forced out of his beloved Barcelona and into exile in Chile. 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 Long Petal of the Sea is a deep, complex and beautiful novel.

I knew absolutely nothing of the historical events covered when I began reading, mainly the Spanish civil war and events leading up to and proceeding from the military coup in Chile. I learned a lot of history reading this, and it was so fascinating seeing it from the inside like this.

A Long Petal of the Sea tenderly tells the story across a large period of the twentieth century, telling it from the perspective of the refugee and the immigrant, people who run from a war, or the ashes of an unsuccessful war, and have to move countries again and again. It's deeply moving and powerful, and as timely as ever. We see elements in the rise of fascism like the rejection of liberal thinkers, poets and artists and political philosophers, the demonization of the "other", people from different backgrounds and different cultures. We see working class people siding with their masters against those fighting for their best interests, and it's all so poignant and relevant today. 

There's so much more to this novel though. I loved its portrayal of love, especially the failed love affair between Victor and Ofelia. "It was a plant without roots that was bound to wither." That captured the swiftly burning and rapidly burned out flame of a brief affair so beautifully, so poetically and really moved me. Then we see how easily love can turn to resentment and bitterness.  But throughout it all, through that hurt and pain, there's this beautiful love between Roser and Victor, and I loved the platonic but complete nature of their love, and seeing that grow and develop. 

I also absolutely adored the use of the Pablo Neruda quotes at the start of each chapter. They were so appropriate and beautiful. 

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

A Long Petal of the Sea is a story about war, and seeking refuge, about what we're each prepared to do and to sacrifice. It's a story about loves of many different types and how they make us feel and grow as people. It's a story about loss and hardship, loss of homes, of countries, of loved ones but never hope. It's epic, powerful, sweeping and beautiful.

🌕🌕🌕🌕🌕

A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende is out now, published by Bloomsbury Publishing.

I was given a review copy via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

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