Next Year in Havana

Next Year in Havana

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--...

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Title:Next Year in Havana
Author:Chanel Cleeton
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Next Year in Havana Reviews

  • Cindy Burnett

    Every once in a while I start a book and from page one I am completely enamored with the every aspect of the book - the plot, the characters, the setting, and the relationships. Next Year in Havana is this type of book; as I read, I was constantly ruminating about how fabulous the book was. I love that feeling, and to me, it is the sign of an exceptionally good book.

    Next Year in Havana is told in a dual timeline format, alternating between the late 1950’s and present day. Both story lines are e

    Every once in a while I start a book and from page one I am completely enamored with the every aspect of the book - the plot, the characters, the setting, and the relationships. Next Year in Havana is this type of book; as I read, I was constantly ruminating about how fabulous the book was. I love that feeling, and to me, it is the sign of an exceptionally good book.

    Next Year in Havana is told in a dual timeline format, alternating between the late 1950’s and present day. Both story lines are equally compelling, and Chanel Cleeton artfully incorporates both the beauty and history of Cuba into her tale about courage in the face of family and loss. Cleeton’s family fled Cuba in 1967, and the personal connection and love she feels for the country are reflected in her tale. Cuba is a fascinating place to me, and stories set there always appeal to me. Next Year in Havana stands out because the author effectively integrates a significant amount of Cuban history while crafting a beautiful tale of family, love, and enduring relationships. I had never really understood the schism between those who left Cuba after Fidel Castro came into power versus those that remained. Without taking sides, Cleeton engenders sympathy for both groups and the difficult choices that those individuals had to make when choosing which path to take.

    I was curious about the title of the book when I began reading and thankfully she explains it: “As exiles, … hope is embedded in the very essence of our soul. ‘Next Year in Havana. It’s the toast we never stop saying, because the dream of it never comes true.’ ” What a beautiful tribute to Cuba that decades later those exiled still hope year after year that they can one day return, and how incredibly sad that it has still not come to pass.

    Sadly, I think it is easy for Americans to forget how lucky we are to live in a country where freedom is taken for granted. Reading about present day Cuba is scary: internet and cell phone coverage is scarce, the government controls what information is disseminated, food shortages are common, and retribution for speaking out can be punishable by death. The reminder is helpful in our current political environment; freedom and equality are worth protecting, and it is important to speak out against those attempting to infringe on those rights.

    Next Year in Havana is spectacular. I loved the entire book and was thrilled with the small surprise at the end. I had an inkling that the surprise might be coming and was glad when it worked out that way. I struggled a bit with the resolution of the present day story line but am not sure that there was any other way for it to end; it certainly did not impact my view of the book. The cover of Next Year in Havana deserves to be mentioned also; it is simply stunning and fits the book beautifully. Thanks to Berkley Publishing and BookBrowse for the chance to read this ARC. All opinions are my own.

  • Rachel Reads Ravenously

    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,

    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.

    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.

    Follow me on ♥

  • Patty Belongs To Kellan~Jesse~Lautner~Miller~Jack~Racer~Rafe~Liam~Prince Nicholas~Hayes~Simon~Gianluca & Archer

    {ARC Generously Provided by Author}

    is beautifully written and at times excessive in the detailed description of the surroundings and landscape of Cuba and its inhabitants. It did enable

    {ARC Generously Provided by Author}

    is beautifully written and at times excessive in the detailed description of the surroundings and landscape of Cuba and its inhabitants. It did enable me to picture a Country I will never get to see in my lifetime and in that aspect, I did appreciate the descriptive narrative. This read more like a history book than a romance. While there are two sets of couples, they seemed to play a secondary role to that of the main characters which were Cuba and its history of unrest and rebellion.

    The story switches from past to present. The past being 1958-59 Havana, where Elisa Perez lives with her parents and sisters. In the present, Elisa’s granddaughter, Marisol Ferrera, is on a journey from Miami to Cuba where she has been assigned the task to spread her grandmother’s ashes. Although having been exiled from Cuba for nearly sixty years, Elisa always yearned for a chance to someday return to the Country she called

    . When she was nineteen she fled Cuba with her family after Fidel Castro came into power. Her family was one of the wealthiest and powerful in Havana and a prime target for Castro.

    Marisol was very close to her grandmother and her death affected Marisol deeply. She knows that it still isn’t safe for her to be going to Cuba but is determined to fulfill her grandmother’s dying wish. She’s also excited to be going to the place that her grandmother spent so many nights telling stories about. Marisol embraces her heritage. When she meets Ana Rodriguez, Elisa’s childhood best friend, Marisol is given a box that Elisa left behind. What she discovers inside is a secret that Elisa took with her to her grave and Marisol questions whether she ever truly knew her grandmother. Marisol sets off on a mission to uncover her grandmother’s secret past and along the way finds her own romance with Luis, a history professor at the University of Cuba and also Ana’s grandson.

    During flashbacks, we learn how Elisa meets her one true love and how a happily ever after for them is nearly impossible. When we are back in the present we see that history is repeating itself with Marisol and Luis.

    Will Marisol have the HEA that her grandmother was unable to attain?

    Here are my overall ratings on the book:

    releases tomorrow.

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  • Julie

    Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton is a 2018 Penguin/Berkley publication.

    Cuba- 1958

    Elisa Perez, a sugar heiress, falls in love with a revolutionary. But, their lives are so far removed from one another the relationship is one that seems doomed from the start. Sure enough, she and Pablo are separated, and Elisa’s family fled to America, never to return to their beloved Cuba.

    Fast forward to 2017-

    Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton is a 2018 Penguin/Berkley publication.

    Cuba- 1958

    Elisa Perez, a sugar heiress, falls in love with a revolutionary. But, their lives are so far removed from one another the relationship is one that seems doomed from the start. Sure enough, she and Pablo are separated, and Elisa’s family fled to America, never to return to their beloved Cuba.

    Fast forward to 2017-

    Marisol’s grandmother dies and to honor her last wishes, Marisol smuggles her ashes into Cuba. But, arriving in Cuba is only the beginning of her adventure. She must pick the perfect spot to spread her grandmother’s ashes, so that end, she touches base with Elisa’s best friend, hoping to gain some insight. This is how she meets Luis, who escorts her around the city and helps her play amateur detective as she searches for Pablo, the love of Elisa’s life.

    However, Luis’s job as a professor has him under scrutiny and Marisol has been watched since she first stepped foot in Cuba. They begin to fall in love, playing a very dangerous game with their futures and maybe even their lives. Eventually they will face a heartbreaking fork in the road where they will both have to make the most difficult choice of their lives.

    This story was absolutely amazing!! It’s epic, grand, sweeping, emotional, and heart wrenching.

    The family saga is told in bold, rich details, so vivid I felt like I was there taking in all the sights and sounds of Cuba. The atmosphere is heavy with foreboding and tension, danger always lurking in the shadows. Love, at times, chooses the most inopportune moments to invade one’s heart, but also has a knack for knowing just the right time and place, knowing somehow, someway that it’s now or never. Both scenarios come with hard choices and consequences.

    The book is also very informative, giving readers an up close and personal look at what life is really like in Cuba. While I did find all of this very interesting, at times the ‘lectures’ or history lessons slowed the momentum of the story, but I still think readers need to absorb at least some of this information because this knowledge contributes to the high level of anguish and suspense that builds as the novel reaches its climax.

    This history also serves as a cautionary tale in many ways, but it is also very complicated, with people making choices they believed were the right ones to make at the time, while others clung to the way of life they had established, suddenly finding themselves in exile.

    Naturally, for me, the love stories- plural- is what brought out the strongest emotions in me. Their stories parallel one another in many ways, with one being tragic and the other filled with danger- but also one filled with hope for a better outcome and maybe even a better way of life for those living in Cuba.

    4 stars

  • Diane S ☔

    3.5 There are so many fantastic elements to this novel. The book opens with the Perez family fleeing Cuba after the revolution. This is the first thread of the story. The second is Elise Perez's granddaughter Marisol, traveling to Cuba, sixty years later to scatter her ashes in the country she had loved.

    The history of Cuba, Batista, Che and Castro are told in bold, detailed fashion using the Perez family to add a human element and interest to the story. This story would be my favorite part of t

    3.5 There are so many fantastic elements to this novel. The book opens with the Perez family fleeing Cuba after the revolution. This is the first thread of the story. The second is Elise Perez's granddaughter Marisol, traveling to Cuba, sixty years later to scatter her ashes in the country she had loved.

    The history of Cuba, Batista, Che and Castro are told in bold, detailed fashion using the Perez family to add a human element and interest to the story. This story would be my favorite part of the book, a look back at what happened to the Perez family, and a revolution that promised much be delivered little. Said to have ended Batista's cruelty, in effect, in one quote by the author, it just replaced one dictator with another.

    Marisol would find love in Havana but also many other things she didn't know she was looking for. Again the descriptions of Havana we're done well, but that in one week two people would fall in love, was a bit unbelievable. I enjoyed the characters, the different looks at the people who fled Cuba, and those who stayed. There are a few surprises along the way, in this very readable book. Things may be more open in Cuba but as the book shows the danger for some is far from over.

    Very well written, the history, thankfully for me but maybe all readers will not feel the same, overshadowed the love story. The ending poignant, heartfelt but a little to pat. All in all z good read about a country of which I am still learning.

    ARC from Netgalley.

  • Angela M

    I always enjoy knowing an author’s inspiration for a story. In the acknowledgments, which introduce the book, Chanel Cleeeton call this “the book of my heart” and thanks her family for sharing their stories. It wasn’t until I heard her in an interview relating a story that her father told her about how people would put their valuables in boxes and bury the box before they left Cuba, that I knew the specific thing. This seemed to reflect a hope that they would someday return. A box buried by a yo

    I always enjoy knowing an author’s inspiration for a story. In the acknowledgments, which introduce the book, Chanel Cleeeton call this “the book of my heart” and thanks her family for sharing their stories. It wasn’t until I heard her in an interview relating a story that her father told her about how people would put their valuables in boxes and bury the box before they left Cuba, that I knew the specific thing. This seemed to reflect a hope that they would someday return. A box buried by a young girl as she and her family flee Cuba in 1958 is a meaningful part of this novel. I loved knowing that this was the spark that started this story and that she is connected to the narrative because her family did indeed flee Cuba after the revolution.

    In Havana, in the late 1950s we meet Elisa from an affluent family, sugar barons as they are leaving Cuba. This narrative alternates with her granddaughter Marisol’s in 2017 as she goes to Cuba to spread her grandmother’s ashes. The past story is a love story where the political history of Cuba in the late 1950s is played out. I have to admit how little I really knew about this complicated history from the not too distant past. That made it all the more interesting to me.

    On one level you could read this as a love story and then there is another love story in the present day (which is not as believable as the earlier one ) or you could see the history and the politics, the Cuba of the past and present through these relationships. A story of family ties, love, and friendship woven into the politics and history of pre-revolutionary Cuba connecting it to the present day. Loyalty, love of country , the dangerous business of beliefs contrary to those in power told with the natural beauty of the island as the backdrop and the ambiance of Havana. I felt confident of the details of the politics given that the author has academic degrees in international politics. I thoroughly enjoyed this even with an ending that was a little too pat. It was well written and appealed to me from the beginning to the end.

    I received an advanced copy of this book from Berkeley through NetGalley.

  • Jen

    I’m a sucker for Cuba. It’s a destination of choice for a number of reasons including its history, its traditions, the people and of course, its coffee.

    This story takes us through 2 story lines: 1959 and decades later to 2017. With 2 love stories.

    After Marisol’s grandmother passes, she has been left the daunting task of scattering her ashes over her home country, Cuba. We read her story through love letters left behind.

    We are taken through the historical revolution and what it meant as a citizen

    I’m a sucker for Cuba. It’s a destination of choice for a number of reasons including its history, its traditions, the people and of course, its coffee.

    This story takes us through 2 story lines: 1959 and decades later to 2017. With 2 love stories.

    After Marisol’s grandmother passes, she has been left the daunting task of scattering her ashes over her home country, Cuba. We read her story through love letters left behind.

    We are taken through the historical revolution and what it meant as a citizen to fight for Equality; never mind democracy. The moral dilemmas faced as a nation torn by radical leaders. And of the Cubans whom were forced into exile with only their personal belongings on their backs having to leave their homeland; and those who stayed with the hopes of change that never came to fruition.

    Great history; fantastic writing. 4⭐️

  • Astrid - The Bookish Sweet Tooth

    Boy, 2018 has been epic so far...

    My heart is full. Full with love for the characters of this book. With shame about my ignorance of the danger and problems Cuban people still face on a daily basis. Admiration for their bravery and pride. Affection for their good hearts. Sadness for their heartbreak. I struggle to get a grip on my emotions as I sit here and write my review.

    Marisol's exiled grandmother

    Boy, 2018 has been epic so far...

    My heart is full. Full with love for the characters of this book. With shame about my ignorance of the danger and problems Cuban people still face on a daily basis. Admiration for their bravery and pride. Affection for their good hearts. Sadness for their heartbreak. I struggle to get a grip on my emotions as I sit here and write my review.

    Marisol's exiled grandmother's last wish was for her remains to return to the home of her heart, Cuba, one of the priceless gems in the Caribbean Sea. Marisol only knows her country from stories her grandmother Elisa told her, who raised her and who she was closest to. Arriving in Cuba she traces back Elisa's life. At her side is Elisa's best friend Ana's grandson Luis. Together they uncover secrets only a few people apart from Elisa knew about.

    Two timelines follow alternating Elisa and Pablo as well as Marisol and Luis. There are parallels between Elisa's love for Pablo and Marisol's for Luis. Both of them love highly educated men, who have a deep love for their country. Patriotism isn't just a word for them, they live it, breathe it...die for it. And both of these men possess a quiet strength, an earnestness and intensity that draws both Elisa and Marisol in.

    It isn't surprising that Marisol and Elisa fall in love with men who have so similar character traits. Marisol and Elisa share the same kindness, brave heart, curiosity and love for their country. When Elisa's secrets start to surface it throws Marisol a little bit for a loop. Doubts about her knowledge of the woman who raised her arise, make her question if she knew her grandmother at all. Slowly she also realizes how romanticized her image of Cuba is.

    Luis and Marisol's instant attraction becomes complicated fast, their connection turns quickly into deep feelings. But how can they be together when neither of them fits into the world of the other? This stalemate situation makes you understand, however, that as divergent Luis and Marisol are, they also have a lot in common. It's exactly the same situation Marisol's grandmother and Pablo found themselves in, when they fell in love.

    As we follow Marisol and Elisa we learn about the Cuba pre-revolution and the Cuba of today. Chanel Cleeton draws the country in brilliant and rich colors and makes you want to get on a plane and visit, to see it with your own eyes. I adored all the main characters and Luis' grandmother Ana. There is a warmth, a gentleness to all of them despite the harshness they experience.

    Cuba is the fifth star in this story and she is as beautiful as she is terrifying. The author weaves her immense and profound knowledge of the country into the story and fascinates us with historical details. I suspect she also poured a lot of herself into Marisol and Elisa.

    This story is powerful and extraordinary. It's a history class with a handsome professor who has the ability to captivate and enchant you with spellbinding, informative and lovely narration about the people, politics and history of a beautiful country. Yes, there is a lot of historical details in the beginning and while this makes for a slower reading in the first 30 to 40% it is absolutely essential to understand the bigger picture. I loved learning about the Cuban revolution from somebody with such intimate knowledge about it.

    But do not fear, the story picks up at around 40% and then it reaches that level of unputdownable that I experience with all Chanel Cleeton books. I love all her stories but this time she has outdone herself.

     

    Heads up - this is not romance. I think it qualifies more as fiction with romantic elements. But don't let that keep you from reading it, it packs a good amount of romance and love.

    This is the book I never knew was missing from my life. It has made me richer and given me an insight into the dangers Cuban people are still dealing with. I can't stress how important this story is, how fascinating, emotional, wonderful and educating. I have a new understanding of the history and I hope one day Cuban people will be free and rid of the regime so that their inherent exuberance and vibrancy can shine again with full power.

     

     

    Next year in Havana. Ojalá.

  • Christy

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