Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
Genre: Historical Fiction
Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton is an emotional love letter to Cuba. The story is split between two point of views: Elisa Perez in 1959 and Marisol Ferrara in 2017. Both stories mirror each other.
I am absolutely enamored by Elisa’s story. Elisa is caught between the want and need to be loyal to her father, mother and sisters and her love for a revolutionary named Pablo.
Pablo and Elisa’s story is so tragic and heartbreaking in more ways than one. There are some stories you go into sensing that it is not going to end well. These stories are normally historical fiction or historical romances BECAUSE in the back of your mind, you already know what has happened. Pablo and Elisa’s story is no different. I felt for them. I mourned with them. I held on hope with them. Their story made Next Year in Havana a four star review.
Did hope prosper? Did Pablo and Elisa get their HEA? That, Reader, is for you to find out.
Marisol’s story is a parallel of Elisa’s story. She, too, falls for a modern day revolutionary. And although her story does have a little bit of action and adventure eventually, the first half of her story focuses on how she is Cuban but does not fit into Cuba. I get that. I do. I’m sure that is how some if not all Cuban exiles feel. However, I feel that Marisol and Luis’ story could have been so much more if written a bit differently.
On a personal note, Next Year in Havana hits a little close to home for me. My family and I are friends with several Cubans whose families fled Cuba just like the Perez Family in 1959/1960. Although this is historical fiction, it gave me a sense of what Cubans had to go thru / what Cubans still have to go thru. I am sad for them and hopeful for them.
Readers of historical fiction will really enjoy Next Year in Havana. Elisa and Pablo will pull at your heartstrings. Marisol and Luis will make you contemplate Cuba now. It’s a good, solid read.