ABOUT “NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA” by Chanel Cleeton
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.
February 6, 2018
LINDAS BOOK OBSESSION REVIEW OF “Next Year in Havana” by Chanel Cleeton
I loved everything about “Next Year in Havana” by Chanel Cleeton. The genres for this novel are Historical Fiction and Fiction. I appreciate the descriptions of the beauty and destruction of Cuba, and both the hope and despair of the Cuban people.
The timelines for this story are 1958 in Havana Cuba, where we meet Elisa Perez, a 19-year-old unaware of Cuba’s political problems. Elisa’s family is very wealthy and produces sugar. Elisa happens to meet a young revolutionary, and her life changes forever. When Fidel Castro takes over Cuba, the Perez family is forced to leave Cuba to go to Miami.
In 2017, in Miami, Journalist Marisol Ferrara, granddaughter of Elisa is dealing with her grandmother’s death. Marisol was brought up by Elisa and has always heard stories about growing up in Cuba. Elisa honors her grandmother’s written request to take her ashes to Cuba, and find the appropriate place to scatter them.
The author describes her colorful cast of characters as complex and complicated, perhaps due to the political climate of the times. The characters are brave, courageous, and have secrets. In both timelines, it is evident that no one lives in a “free” society in Cuba. Marisol gets to see the Cuba of her grandmother’s dreams. It is an eye-opening experience in Cuba, to see how the people live today.
Kudos to the author for weaving her novel with two stories with such appropriate and descriptive detail. The author describes the importance of family, friends, loyalty, courage, love and hope. I would highly recommend this novel to readers of Historical Fiction. I received An Advanced Reading Copy for my honest review.
Originally from Florida, Chanel Cleeton grew up on stories of her family’s exodus from Cuba following the events of the Cuban Revolution. Her passion for politics and history continued during her years spent studying in England where she earned a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Richmond, The American International University in London and a master’s degree in Global Politics from the London School of Economics & Political Science. Chanel also received her Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law. She loves to travel and has lived in the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia.
Chanel is represented by Kevan Lyon of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. The author of ten books, her latest novel, NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA, will be published by Penguin/Berkley in February 2018.
Next Year in Havana out February 6, 2018