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Havana Lost Kindle Edition
|Length: 302 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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Top Customer Reviews
From there, the story unfolds into a complex three-generation saga, winding its way from Cuba to Angola and in the end returning to modern-day Chicago, with unexpected twists and turns, including the loss of several characters that you may have found highly likeable. Be warned, the author won't leave you in peace. On one level, this is a slice of history, and a well-researched one. On another, you get the whole range of human emotions from greed and corruption to altruistic love. Be ready for a toboggan ride, it will take you to heights of happiness and down to melancholy meditation as you watch the unexpected death of people you've grown to like. But such is life...
The main character of course is Frankie and her evolution from a naive teenager to a mature woman in her seventies is fascinating. By the end of the book, she has become a stubborn, strong-willed character. This is a convincing portrait and the author should be congratulated for having the courage to draw a character that not every reader will like - yet it makes absolute sense given the sociological/historical context in which this woman grew and lived.
This is the first book I read of this author and I am impressed with her craft and research ability. I certainly look forward to reading more of her books.
Meticulously researched, this historical thriller will grab you from the beginning and keep you turning pages as you travel through 1950s and 1960s Fidel Castro Cuba. It is a truly moving tale of broken families and lost loves.
Cuba on the cusp of revolution makes for an interesting and highly relevant tale. The writing is flawless and truly captures the sights, sounds, sights and scents of Cuba. I've never been there, but reading this now makes me want to visit.
On the eve of the Cuban Revolution, headstrong 18-year-old Francesca Pacelli flees from her ruthless Mafia-boss father in Havana to the arms of her lover, a rebel fighting with Fidel Castro. Her father, desperate to send her to safety in the US, resorts to torture and blackmail as he searches the island for her.
So begins the first part of a spellbinding saga that spans three generations of the same family. It is sweeping saga of love and revenge.
This is Libby's 10th novel and her best. I was given an advance copy to read and review and it was my pleasure to do so.
If you read only one novel this year, make this it.
There are a number of things to really like about this book. It is clear the author did a lot of research about Cuba. This is a pleasant way to get the flavor of what Cuba was like toward the end of Batista's regime, how the rebels lived and thought, and what life was like under Castro's regime. This felt authentic.
On the other hand, the structure of the book is somewhat unusual. It seemed to have a very long prolog, lasting perhaps half of the book. Then, it had another long prolog. Finally, around chapter 50, we get to the actual story.
As far as a thriller goes, the first half or so was pleasant enough. It wasn't quite The Godfather on Sedatives, but wasn't The Godfather on Steroids either. We follow a mafia princess as she finds and loses the love of her life amidst the revolution, and then, bang, about 30 years pass and we begin to follow her son, then, bang (and I do mean bang), we are back to the mafia princess as an old woman, along with her college-age granddaughter, but without enough character development to care very much about either of them.
I suggest reading the book as three separate books. Read the first part as a history of the end of the Bastista regime and the pressures that led to the revolution. Read the next part for insight into the living conditions in Castro's Cuba. Read chapter 50 to the end as a short story.
Overall, it was pleasant, but not compelling, but a good way to learn something about Cuba's history.
In the end, Hellmann leaves the reader to decide whether or not the cycle is broken or if it is condemned to repeat again. Not quite a thriller, not quite a suspense novel, this is a totally absorbing story that keeps its interest throughout.
It's always a privilege and pleasure to find a story that won't be pigeon-holed into a particular genre or formula. HAVANA LOST is one such tale. Only the second Libby Fischer Hellmann novel I've read, I look forward to enjoying her many others.
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