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Next Year in Havana – Chanel Cleeton

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★★★★

“I promised I would never see you again.”
“So this is good-bye, then?”
“No.”

Elisa Perez, daughter of a sugar baron in Cuba, lived a vastly different life from her granddaughter, Marisol Ferrera.

Elisa’s world is of wealth, and intrigue. Tabloid newspapers and quiet, refined lives. She knows what to expect in her life – courtship, marriage and then children (undoubtedly, in that order).

We are useless birds in a gilded cage…

But soon, the Cuban rebellion against Batista impacts even her quiet, sheltered life – in the form of one, unforgettable revolutionary.

Pablo leans into me…My heartbeat thrums, equal parts nerves and anticipation running through my veins

Many years later, Marisol is tasked with returning to Cuba to scatter her grandmother (Elisa)’s ashes.

Marisol spent her childhood in her grandmother’s care and thus was raised on Cuban stories, food and culture. But hearing about Cuba and actually visiting it are two very different things.

Despite her worry and misgivings, Marisol decides to take the plunge and visit the world that had only existed in her imagination.

It’s funny how that little step can change everything…

And, much like her grandmother, Marisol finds love in an unexpected and rebellious place.

“I am not afraid to die for what I believe in.”
“Maybe not, but what does your death accomplish?”

Oh. My. Gosh. This one just swept me off my feet.

I read this one for the Reese Witherspoon Book Club – and all I can say is, wow. She sure knows how to pick them!

I was absolutely enthralled with the way the author wove together the two narratives – the back-and-forth between Elisa and Marisol was just perfect!

In addition, the author brought Cuba to life using both the perspective of Elisa (who lived there all her life) and Marisol (who was discovering the magic all along). Thus leaving me with a desperate need to visit it myself.

Now, the book was a bit slow in the beginning but don’t let that dissuade you. It really picks up towards the middle – and that ending was on fire. I just couldn’t put it down!

Excuse me, I need to check out everything this author has ever written!

With thanks to Berkley Publishing for a free copy in exchange for an honest review

Interested in this one from Chanel Cleeton? Buy it here:  Amazon

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