Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
“Am I dangerous?”
“I have a feeling you just might be.”
I made a resolution to myself last year that I would make more of an effort to read new to me authors when selecting future books. Chanel Cleeton is a new to me author, and when I saw the cover and title of this book I knew I needed to get my hands on it. And man oh man am I so glad I did because I loved this story.
Next Year in Havana is told in present day by Marisol, a young woman grieving her recently deceased grandmother, Elisa, and goes to Cuba to spread her ashes. We also get Elisa’s story in 1958 Cuba, a story of love and a divided country.
That’s all I’m going to say about the plot, but know both stories present and past are beautiful and will surprise you.
“I walk down these streets, and I look out to the sea, and I want to feel as though I belong here, but I am a visitor here, a guest in my own country.”
“Then you know what it means to be Cuban.”
Cuba has always been a subject of interest for me, but not one strong enough for me to do some heavy research. Reading this book I felt I learned a lot about the country and its history, its present day happenings as well. At times the characters I felt got a little bit too political and by that I mean I did skim some political stuffs because it was feeling repetitive and preachy, but I honestly didn’t mind it that much because I’m giving it 4.5 stars.
Normally when a book is told from two point of views I find I like one more than the other, but that really wasn’t the case in this book. I loved Marisol and Elisa’s stories equally, wanting to know more about both and never wanting to skip a POV. Both women are caught in impossible situations because of issues beyond their control. They feel powerless, and yet do everything they can for the people they love.
Reading this book I felt as if I was transported to Cuba. I’ve never been but felt I have based on the descriptive nature of this book. Cleeton is excellent at bringing her readers into her story and I honestly can say I am dying for her to write more books like this one.
I know I will remember this book for years to come.
“No one warned me love would hurt so much.”
ARC provided by the publisher