Review: Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

Author: Chanel Cleeton
Release Date: February 6, 2018
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Publisher
Pages: 394
Reviewer: Marie
Rating: 4 Stars
Add to Goodreads
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.

Marie's Thoughts
Ooooooookay. This book was kind of like 2 stories in one, so let me… explain.

Marisol is our main character of the book. After her beloved grandmother passes away, she is drawn to the stories and the romanticism that was her grandmother, Elisa’s, life. Swept up in what she’s heard of her grandmother’s life in Cuba, Marisol plans a trip there, and finds out there’s more than she bargained for when it comes to her family’s past.

What makes this so unique, however, is that the book is written in past and present – it tells the story of Elisa’s life in 1950s Cuba, and Marisol’s life in real-time. So, because of that, I’ll review this one a little differently.

Elisa’s Storyline
This was, by far, my favorite storyline of the book. The amount of detail that was put in to describing life in Cuba at this time, transported me there. Living every detail and every moment with each word. It was absolutely beautiful. The culture, the life, the romance… I was swept up in it and was so disappointed when I had to leave this storyline as I was reading. Elisa’s relationship with Pablo was so…… *sigh* Their love was so genuine, so beautiful… so pure. My heart broke at their struggle to steal precious moments with one another during the revolution. Just… wow.

Marisol’s Storyline
Her storyline was incredibly sweet, until it wasn’t. She meets Luis at the Havana International Airport, and spends a week with him. I really enjoyed them together. But then Luis, quite frankly, pissed me off. His inability to make good decisions irritated me… which then made me irritated with Marisol. A week in to a relationship and home girl is spewing “I love you” to this man. Really?

The Secret 
Yeah, don’t worry. I won’t reveal WHAT it is. But I can tell you that it was written very nicely as a HUGE plot twist that I never would have seen coming. However, once the revelation of the twist happens, Marisol, yet again, gets… annoying. Enter a reader’s worst nightmare: WAY. TOO. MUCH. INNER. MONOLOGUE. Please, please stop with the head ramblings, authors. It’s in no way beneficial to the story whatsoever.

Cuba
I’ve already said… the details that the author went in to to describe Cuba were incredible. I seriously felt like I was there.

Overall
This book had over-the-top great parts… and then some not so great parts. But overall, it was an enjoyable read with a lot of history. I really did enjoy it, for the most part, and would even go so far as to say that if a few things had been done differently, it may have been the best book I’d read all year.

I voluntarily read a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings are my own.

No comments:

Post a Comment