Next Year in Havana
Next Year in Havana
Yesterday I finally finished reading the novel, “Next year in Havana,” by Chanel Cleeton. It is one of those historical fiction novels that go between dual timelines. This time its from the point of view of Elisa Perez, the daughter of a sugar baron during Batista’s dictatorship and from the point of view of Elisa’s granddaughter Marisol Fererra. Marisol’s timeline takes place in 2017, not so long ago, her grandmother Elisa just passed away and the request is to put Elisa’s ashes back in Cuba. Marisol also wants to write a column about how Cuba is now and she grew up with stories from her grandmother about how Cuba once was before Fidel took over. I honestly knew that I would like it but I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would.
Elisa is one of the main characters of the story. She has a comfortable life as being the daughter of a sugar baron and having 3 sisters, and a brother fighting against Batista and Fidel’s forces. At a party two of her sisters and her sneak off to is where she meets the man she falls in love with called Pablo Garcia which begins the course of events.
Pablo Garcia is a man passionate about Cuba. Pablo is willing to fight for change and not sit around complaining or doing nothing. I give Pablo credit for he is passionate and stands by his convictions. Though unfortunately what he doesn’t know is he’s about to trade one dictator in for another one. Also he’s got disdain for those who are rich which makes me how in the heck is he in love with Elisa then?
Marisol Fererra is a woman who grew up on stories of Cuba that her grandmother told her before Fidel took power. Marisol I can tell loves adventure and wants so much to see Cuba, despite her great aunt’s warning her not to go or if she goes to be careful. Marisol is a bit naïve and she’s about to be in a shock when she sees that things in her grandmothers country hasn’t changed because Fidel passed away.
Luiz Rodriguiz is Marisol’s love interest, and the granddaughter of Elisa’s best friend Ana. Luis shows Marisol around Cuba. He’s a professor and we find out he’s also fighting for change through his blog rather than violence.
Chanel Cleeton’s writing is excellent, it’s very descriptive and you feel as though you’re stepping back through time and back to the present. I like the characters and the story. Also toward the end there were a lot of shocking twists that I didn’t see coming. I also enjoy Luiz and Marisol’s love story.
Elisa and Pablo’s romance didn’t feel believable to me. True there was an attraction between them, and Elisa likes that Pablo is passionate. I just didn’t see the two of them having much in common, and felt if they did marry their differences would hinder them for a while. I also wished we saw more of Elisa’s life in America and how she fell for the second man that became her husband.
Overall I enjoyed the story. I can’t wait to read Chanel Cleeton’s other novels about Cuba. If you enjoy historical fiction novels with dual timelines, you’ll enjoy this book. The next one “When we left Cuba,” is about Elisa’s sister Beatriz. I already have “When we left Cuba,” and “Last Train to Keywest,” (as well as other books) on hold at the library.