Dear Fellow Reader,
You know how some subjects just grab your attention more than others? I will admit I am a bit of a sucker for books of quotes. Yes, I know that sounds a bit sappy but I can live with that. I find quotes interesting – sometimes for who said them more than the quote itself.
I also have a fascination with Cuba. I bet you didn’t expect that. Well, I have a friend who escaped from Cuba back in the early ’60s. I find her family story interesting and amazing. She and her family went back to visit last summer and I loved hearing about her trip. She and her husband and adult children made a pilgrimage to the places that held special interest to her family. Her parents are gone now but she knew their stories and wanted to see where her family history happened.
For that reason, I picked up the book Next Year Havana by Chanel Cleeton. The story is told from two perspectives. Elisa grew up in Havana as the daughter of “the sugar king”. Her family is in the upper reaches of society in Cuba. She and her sisters attend balls and have clothes from all the best stores. In the other part of the story, we follow Marisol who goes to visit Cuba in 2017 to scatter her grandmother’s ashes. Marisol has grown up in Miami but feels she is as Cuban as she is American. While she is told to be careful in Cuba she had no idea of the type of life she will find there. While being drawn to the natural beauty, she underestimated the political climate.
In other books where perspectives switch, there can be those moments where you aren’t sure at the beginning of a chapter which character is in the chapter. I did not have that problem with this book. The two characters and times are very different.
I found the story very interesting and it moved along well. I liked the historical perspective of 1958 Havana and what was happening. It was also interesting to see that when the book was written that there was hope that there would be a further opening of Cuba to Americans. It has not gone that way. But it could change, right?
And it was nice to read a historical fiction book that was not set in World War II or the time surrounding it. It seems that has taken over and I was ready for a change.
Thanks for reading!