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

  • Liz

    4.5 stars, rounded up.

    As a voracious reader and reviewer, I’m in favor of anything that promotes books and creates more interest in them. So, I view the proliferation of celebrity book clubs as a good thing. This is Reese Witherspoon’s July BOMC selection. And it’s a very worthy one.

    The book starts with the Perez family leaving Cuba after the success of the revolution. It quickly switches to Marisol Ferrera returning to Cuba 58 years later with her grandmother’s ashes. Cleeton paints that pictu

    4.5 stars, rounded up.

    As a voracious reader and reviewer, I’m in favor of anything that promotes books and creates more interest in them. So, I view the proliferation of celebrity book clubs as a good thing. This is Reese Witherspoon’s July BOMC selection. And it’s a very worthy one.

    The book starts with the Perez family leaving Cuba after the success of the revolution. It quickly switches to Marisol Ferrera returning to Cuba 58 years later with her grandmother’s ashes. Cleeton paints that picture of Cuba quickly and impressively. Things we take for granted, everything from seat belts to fancy pots and pans, are missing, everything is in some state of disrepair.

    The story alternates between the grandmother Elisa’s last year in Cuba as a nineteen year old and Marisol’s return.

    The book gives us a background of what it was like in that last year of Batista being in power. “Very few can afford the luxury of being political in Cuba.” “And no one can afford the luxury of not being political in Cuba.” And, of course, it also shows you, through Marisol’s eyes, how poorly that revolution turned out and how the people are still being oppressed. I loved the contrast between the vision of the Cubans that left, living with memories, and those that stayed, living with facts. “Even though we share the same heritage, as hard as I search for commonalities between us, as much as I want to belong here, the differences are glaring. I am Cuban and yet, I am not.”

    I could have done without the modern romance. It seemed unnecessary to me. But I loved how much Havana and Cuba was a love interest for all concerned. “Havana is a beautiful city shrouded in sadness, yet the remarkable thing is that it’s almost as if the people didn’t get the memo. They laugh, and there’s a jubilant quality to the air… The Cubans probably have the least to laugh about compared to everyone around them, but they laugh the loudest.”

    I knew of the Revolution, but what I didn’t know was the horrors that occurred after Castro came to power. It gave me a new insight into why the Cubans in the US are so bitter. Not just the loss of property, but the high loss of life. “We are Rome and this is the Coliseum.”

    What’s interesting is that this book can be read as much more than a romantic story or historical fiction. It delves into the need to stand up to injustice. Of not turning a blind eye to corruption if it doesn’t immediately affect you. The danger of being silent and creating deals with the devil.

    My thanks to Berkeley Publishing that provided me with a copy of this novel.

  • 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⭐️

  • Melanie

    is such an amazing book that had me crying all the happy tears, all the sad tears, and all the in-between tears. I feel like this ownvoices book, that Chanel Cleeton crafted, took a piece of my heart, and I’m fine living without it, because this book was such a work of art, inside and out. And this beautiful story is told in two different timel

    is such an amazing book that had me crying all the happy tears, all the sad tears, and all the in-between tears. I feel like this ownvoices book, that Chanel Cleeton crafted, took a piece of my heart, and I’m fine living without it, because this book was such a work of art, inside and out. And this beautiful story is told in two different timelines from two different women.

    - Who is living in 1958 Havana, which is constantly unsafe. Elisa has lived a more privileged life than most, because her family is wealthy, and her father works under the current president, Batista. But the people aren’t happy, and Fidel Castro and his revolutionary followers are on the rise. No one is safe, and Elisa realizes very quickly that her heart isn’t safe either.

    - Who is living in 2017 Miami, but currently taking a trip to Havana to lay Elisa’s ashes to rest, in the city that always had her heart. Even after being forced to leave so many years ago. Marisol sees first hand that impact that Fidel Castro has left on Cuba when her grandmother and her family were forced to flee.

    And each timeline follows a different heart-wrenching and heart-mending romance. And these two stories interweave together to create something more beautiful than I have words for. I was so addicted, and I couldn’t stop turning the pages.

    This book is also so atmospheric. I felt like I was alongside both of these girls in Cuba. And I could feel the sad, heartbreaking reality of what Cuba was like in 1950, and what it is still like in almost 2020. I was born and raised in the United States, and it just made me even more aware of my privilege. It also made me side-eye my country a bit more than usual, too.

    And one of my favorite aspects of this book was Marisol bringing up her thoughts and feelings about being biracial and feeling equal parts like an outsider and like at home while she is in Cuba. I’m a lot more white passing than Marisol, but the things she deals with and feels when she travels to Cuba, is something so real and something so very close to my Filipina heart.

    I also loved how this book celebrates all the different types of love we will have during our lifetime. Love that we will never forget. Love from second chances at love that will make us feel whole again. Love between friends who will never forget us. Love between people who are family, no matter the blood that runs through our veins. Love for a country that never loved back.

    Okay, so this book was amazing, but I did have two minor things that were the reason I didn’t give this five stars. The first being, it was very predictable to me. I mean, that didn’t stop all the tears from coming, but I knew where this was going as soon as Elisa snuck out with her sisters. The next being Elisa’s father/Marisol’s grandpa. Like, damn, I understand why, but what a dick. And I personally always really dislike the “miscommunication” trope, even though I loved this book with my whole heart.

    And overall, I recommend this book to any and every book lover. And I think this was such a wonderful pick for

    ! And I cannot wait to see where Chanel Cleeton takes Beatriz’s story in

    in 2019!

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    loss of a loved one, abandonment, and war themes. Also, off-screen captivity, torture, and murder.

    If you would have told little kid bookworm Melanie that Berkley would one day send her a book because it’s July’s pick for

    , she would not have believed you. (And probably ran, because I was a paranoid kid and I would have thought you were a kidnapper, but still!) 💕

  • Miranda Reads

    Elisa Perez, daughter of a sugar baron in Cuba, had a

    from her granddaughter, Marisol Ferrera.

    Elisa's world is of

    Tabloid newspapers and quiet, refined lives. She knows what to expect in her life -

    (undoubtedly, in that order).

    But soon, the Cuban rebellion against Batista impacts even her quiet,

    Elisa Perez, daughter of a sugar baron in Cuba, had a

    from her granddaughter, Marisol Ferrera.

    Elisa's world is of

    Tabloid newspapers and quiet, refined lives. She knows what to expect in her life -

    (undoubtedly, in that order).

    But soon, the Cuban rebellion against Batista impacts even her quiet, sheltered life - in the form of

    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

    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

    And, much like her grandmother, Marisol finds

    This one just swept me off my feet.

    I read this one for the

    - and all I can say is, wow. She sure knows how to pick them!

    I was

    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

    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.

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

  • Dem

    This is a romance style novel but it does give a little insight into Cuban history and the revolution which is insightful and interesting, enough information to wet my appetite and kept me interested throughout the story. The Novel is set in two time frames and this works quite well. I preferred the historical story. The author explores the themes of family, love, loss and sacrifices and while I enjoyed the book I did find it a little repetitive and quite a bit forced in places and I found the ending a little too contrived.

    Overall an easy read, nice sense of time and place and a book that many historical fiction readers will enjoy.

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