Published by Berkley on February 6, 2018
Genres: Adult, Historical, Realistic Fiction, Romance
Source: Kindle Purchase
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.
Next Year in Havana was…gosh, it was so much. It was a history lesson, a thought-provoking story and two poignant romances all rolled into one. And I adored it – every word.
The story is told from two POVs: that of Elisa, living in 1958 Cuba, and her granddaughter, Marisol, living in 2017 Miami. Elisa is the daughter of a sugar baron and lives a grand life with everything money can buy. That is until Fidel Castro overthrows Batista’s government and Elisa’s family is forced into exile. The majority of Elisa’s story, though, is about her falling in love with a revolutionary prior to her exile.
Marisol’s story, on the other hand, involves her returning to Cuba at her grandmother’s posthumous request in order that her ashes be spread in her homeland. While there, Marisol sees the Cuba that was, as detailed from Elisa’s memories. But she also sees it as it’s become. Oh, and she also meets a man.
I learned a lot about Cuban/American relations prior to Castro’s regime. I also learned more about Cuba’s history of colonialism, agriculture, and slavery. There are more than a few parallels between Cuba and the U.S. – our histories, how racism pervades, and how we treat those who are different.
However, it is the passionate love affairs that kept me turning the pages. These romances were both forbidden for different reasons. Both were dangerous because of the political climate. And both are/were strong enough to stand the test of time.
This was my first read from Chanel Cleeton and I’m kicking myself for having waited so long. I’m eager to continue this story with When We Left Cuba. If you’re in the mood for a romance with a side of history and politics, I highly recommend Next Year in Havana.
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