Review: NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA by Chanel Cleeton
THE JULY PICK FOR REESE WITHERSPOON’S HELLO SUNSHINE BOOK CLUB
“A beautiful novel that’s full of forbidden passions, family secrets and a lot of courage and sacrifice.”–Reese Witherspoon
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
NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA is a dual timeline that weaves that past and the current time. It’s two stories with parallel timelines.
Marisol was raised by her beloved grandmother, Elisa. Elisa has died and left Marisol with one wish- for Marisol to take her grandmother’s ashes from America to Cuba and leave her ashes in that country.
Marisol grew up listening to her grandmother tell her all about Cuban life. Those stories gave Marisol the desire to visit it someday. The reader is treated to hearing the story from Elisa’s point of view as a young lady living with her sister’s and parents prior to escaping to America.
At the same time, we hear from Marisol about her traveling to Cuba to honor her grandmother’s wishes.
Both of these women find themselves in dire situations with the Cuban governments and a forbidden love situation. Even though there are decades differences in their timelines, they still are going through similar situations. Sometimes family history is bound to repeat itself.
I listened to the audiobook and it was easy to follow each storyline because there were 2 different narrators for Marisol and Elisa. The telling of the story simply wowed me. I felt like I was right there along with the characters experiencing their heartbreak and joy at every turn. The subtle twist in the story is the lifeblood of the plot.
NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA is a standalone book set in Cuba both from the past and the present. There are two heroines within this story who are both plagued by government corruption and the hope for a better future. This book is deep and involved which challenges the reader to look at our modern day lives and what is happening in the world. A MUST READ!
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