Title: Next Year in Havana
Author: Chanel Cleeton
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Reason Read: Hello Sunshine Book Club Reading Challenge
Official synopsis: 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. (Found on Penguin Randomhouse site)
My take on the plot:
Chanel Cleeton paints a very vivid picture of her characters and her story. She also uses words I had to look up which made me excited to expand my vocabulary while learning about the struggles the country of Cuba and its people face. The book follows Marisol in 2017 after the loss of her beloved grandmother and also looks back at her grandmother, Elisa, before she was forced to leave Cuba with her family in 1958. Marisol has snuck her grandmothers ashes into Cuba so they could be scattered in a special place. Marisol learns she may not have known her grandmother as well as she thought. Elisa had fallen in love with a man she shouldn’t have, and Marisol is on the same path. The book looks at the parallels of a grandmother and granddaughter during the moments they fall in love and how their choices will impact their lives forever. It’s definitely one of those generational stories, but I liked it a lot because I really don’t know anything about Cuba.
My take on the writing:
Cleeton writes so beautifully. I don’t say this often, but she uses language to create a world the reader gets so immersed in. I was able to envision The whole story very well. I know nothing about Cuba and the history so this was a different glimpse into a past many people lived but isn’t well known. Marisol has such fond memories of her grandmother, and this ties so well into the flashbacks of her grandmother to create a full spectrum of the young Elisa. I was so swept up in the past version of Cuba it made me sad when the family had to leave because of the political turmoil. The entire book is full of sadness but it is also beautiful and hopeful. I love how the story evokes so many emotions.
I understand why this book was picked for the book club. It’s just one so easy to get lost in and not be able to stop reading. This may be my favorite one I’ve read so far in The Reese Witherspoon book club choices. I was struggling with the book at times, but now I’ve had time to reflect, this book keeps growing on me.
Chanel Cleeton wrote a book definitely worth all of the hype. This was one I was dying to read, and it was worth every minute spent. I haven’t seen a lot of people talking about this online, but I know it’s popular because the long hold at the library and it says it’s a bestseller online. I hope they make this into a movie, and I can’t wait to read the next book related to this about Elisa’s sister, Beatriz. This is my sixth book complete for the Hello Sunshine Reading Challenge I’m doing.
Have you read this book? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Or even if you want to join me in reading all of the Hello Sunshine Book Club books, I would love that too.