Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Blog Tour Review: Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
Published: February 6th, 2018
Publisher: Berkley
394 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary women’s fiction/historical fiction
Acquired this book: From the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for honest consideration
Rating: 4 stars
Warning: May contain spoilers
GoodReads || Buy the book: Amazon US ~ CAN || Chapters || B&N}

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.

I’ve been a fan of Chanel Cleeton’s books since her debut I See London. After her Wild Aces trilogy, she became an auto-buy author for me. I was certain her newest book, Next Year in Havana, wouldn’t disappoint, and I was right. This story weaves together an alternating narrative between present day and late 1950s Cuba and tells the stories of Elisa Perez and her granddaughter Marisol Ferrera. It’s a story of love, sacrifice, hope, and perseverance.

As someone who was extremely close to her grandmother and still feels the loss of her almost seven years later, I connected to Marisol’s grief and her desire to find answers about Elisa. Both women were strong, tenacious, and learned so much throughout the course of the book.

I’ll admit, I knew little to nothing about Cuba and its history. It was fascinating, horrifying, and heartbreaking to learn about the struggles and oppression its people have faced and continue to face. At times I felt like I was reading about a post-apocalyptic, dystopian society, because it’s hard to believe a place like that could really exist outside fiction. That being said, I was deeply touched by the pride of the Cubans who lived in the country as well as those who had left, and those, like Marisol, who had always considered herself Cuban despite never stepping foot in the country until after her grandmother died. As heartbreaking and at times bittersweet as this story was, it was also full of so much hope.

Romantic and rich in detail, Next Year in Havana is a beautiful, compelling story that’s sure to surprise you and touch you. It’s certainly a story that will stick with me for a long time to come.


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. 

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Learn more about Next Year in Havana including downloading the book club guide and more here

Add Beatriz Perez’s story When We Left Cuba on Goodreads 


Have you read Next Year in Havana? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to? Have you read any of Chanel's other books?

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