I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
by Chanel Cleeton
Released: February 6 2018
Published by Berkley
“…the way Ms. Cleeton delivers this story is masterful. It felt alive, intense, it had it’s own heartbeat…”
~ Under the Covers
When I first heard about this book, I was dying to read it. First of all, I’ve always had a fascination with stories about Havana especially around the Revolution period. Whether it’s movies or books, it just draws me in and I want to know more. And honestly, if that beautiful cover doesn’t make you want to pick it up then I don’t know what else can.
From the moment I cracked it open one thing was clear. This was going to be an emotional ride. NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA is a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, closure and new beginnings. About sacrifice and pride. And in the midst of that it also gives us a genuine glimpse into real life events from a perspective that is not often what we hear about from history books.
Marisol Ferrera is a young Cuban-American who travels to Cuba after her grandmother’s death to spread her ashes. Her grandmother’s last wish was that of returning to the homeland she was ripped away from without a choice when she was a young woman. In that process, Marisol gets to connect with a country and roots that she only ever heard of through stories. But aside from trying to find herself and where she belongs through the streets of 2017 Havana she also learns who her grandmother really was. That young woman that her grandmother had to leave behind all those years ago.
This story is narrated in dual POVs and two time periods. Marisol, the granddaughter in 2017 and Elisa Perez back in 1958-1959. Both stories had me riveted to the pages. Both stories heartbreaking for different reasons. And also both so intertwined and connected. It would’ve been easy to connect more with one than the other but the way Ms. Cleeton delivers this story is masterful. It felt alive, intense, it had it’s own heartbeat and I was enthralled with it. Truly riveting and unputdownable. I didn’t want this story to end while at the same time I needed to get to the end and find out what happened.
While both time periods feature a romance, there’s something about Elisa’s love story that gutted me. The love was deep and real, the sacrifices were immeasurable. While Marisol’s romance is nowhere near that and the ending to their love story was probably an easy out, I was still happy with it. But this is about so much more than the romance to me. The picture it vividly painted about Cuba then and now was touching and thought-provoking. Fair warning… this is most definitely an ugly cry book.
I don’t think I can recommend this book enough. It’s by far my favorite book by this author and I’m so excited that she’ll be releasing another book set in this world and this time give us the story about another one of the Perez sisters. I’m already impatiently waiting.
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