Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

4 Star

After the death of her beloved grandmother, a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana, where she discovers the roots of her identity--and unearths a family secret hidden since the revolution...

Havana, 1958. The daughter of a sugar baron, nineteen-year-old Elisa Perez is part of Cuba's high society, where she is largely sheltered from the country's growing political unrest--until she embarks on a clandestine affair with a passionate revolutionary...

Miami, 2017. Freelance writer Marisol Ferrera grew up hearing romantic stories of Cuba from her late grandmother Elisa, who was forced to flee with her family during the revolution. Elisa's last wish was for Marisol to scatter her ashes in the country of her birth.

Arriving in Havana, Marisol comes face-to-face with the contrast of Cuba's tropical, timeless beauty and its perilous political climate. When more family history comes to light and Marisol finds herself attracted to a man with secrets of his own, she'll need the lessons of her grandmother's past to help her understand the true meaning of courage.

Kathryn - 4 Star

I was conveniently heading to Cuba on a family vacation a few weeks after I picked up this novel by Chanel Cleeton.  Though I had some idea of the history of this fascinating country I learnt an awful lot from the book and it inspired me to read a lot more about the waves of history, struggle and strength of the people of Cuba.  I think the most important thing to remember is that though Cuba and America have recently had a tenuous history there was a lot more to their fight than just the past 100 years.

Next Year in Havana though is not only a history lesson, the people and situation were fictional but the characters very much seemed real to me.  The descriptions of the buildings, the streets and the interiors of the places Marisol discovered when she visits her grand-mother’s home-land in current day (2017) worked perfectly and drew me in completely.  Flipping back to the grand-mother Elisa’s day was also transitioned perfectly and I was equally invested in both parts of the story.

I read the novel quickly with passion and heart and found myself yearning to be able to help them reach the country’s potential.  When I visited Cuba afterwards I looked at every person with the same heart and determination that I’d read through in these characters.

This isn’t the only novel about the Cuban people certainly, but I felt a connection to Cleeton’s characters from the first pages.

Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Chanel Cleeton:
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