This was a book that had been highly recommended by several bloggers that I follow. I am very glad I read it as it is a part of history that I was not familiar with. The impact those events had on the humans that lived during this time and the generations that followed is sad and heartbreaking. Told using romance added a touch that I loved.
Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
Published February 6th 2018 by Penguin/Berkley
The story alternates between Havana in 1958 and Miami in 2017. It is told by Elisa in 1958 and her granddaughter Marisol in 2017. Elisa and the Perez sisters were daughters of a wealthy Cuban sugar baron and were living a luxurious life in Havana. Her parents were part of the elite in Cuba and friends and/or acquaintances of Batista. They were shielded from the horrors of the revolution going on as Fidel Castro and Che Guevara fought the dictator, Batista for control. At least until the family fled Cuba with nothing but one suitcase each and the clothes on their backs. Fast forward to 2017 and Elisa had died. Her granddaughter, Marisol heads to Cuba at her grandmother’s request, to spread her ashes in her beloved homeland. Marisol desperately wants to fulfill her wish and experience some of her family roots. She has to determine the best spot to spread the ashes, and as she learns about her family’s time in Havana, she learns much more than she bargained for. What she finds out about her mother’s love throws her for a loop, and history seems to be repeating itself when she falls for Luis.
I enjoyed learning about the Perez family and their lifestyle before the revolution, their anguish after the revolution and their life in the U.S. Marisol grows so much during this story. She is a reporter and how she digs for answers was wonderful, but what she finds and how it changes her is even better. If you have never read about how the Cuban Revolution came about, how it affected Cuba’s people, and how they are still dealing with all the poverty and control, then this is a good book to pick up. Yes, it is a romance, but there is a lot more to it.
About the Book: 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.
About the Author: Chanel Cleeton is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick Next Year in Havana and When We Left Cuba. Originally from Florida, Chanel grew up on stories of her family’s exodus from Cuba following the events of the Cuban Revolution. Her passion for politics and history continued during her years spent studying in England where she earned a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Richmond, The American International University in London and a master’s degree in Global Politics from the London School of Economics & Political Science. Chanel also received her Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law. She loves to travel and has lived in the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia.
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