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Havana Lost Kindle Edition
|Length: 302 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Note: Comments may contain "spoiler" information. Read at own risk.
Once I began reading this book, I could NOT put it down. I mostly read the book on my iPad, but when the battery began to fail, I picked up my phone to continue reading as I charged the iPad's battery. I could not put the book down! I continued my eReading game of tag because I simply could not put the book down.
I am disappointed as I still have 5 more days at the beach and am left with a dried and curled old Agatha Christie paperback. I did not want HAVANA LOST to end!
HAVANA LOST begins as the story of the headstrong 18-year old Francesca Pacelli, daughter of a connected American casino owner in old Havana, Cuba, at the end of the 1950's. Francesca runs away with her lover, a freedom fighter with Fidel Castro as her father turns the island upside down trying to find her and send her to safety in the US. The story follows three generations of the Pacelli family, from the troubled streets of revolutionary Havana to the present as the past catches up in Chicago.
Ms. Hellmann paints a vivid and colorful picture of Cuba as Fidel Castro and Che Guevara fight the corruption of Batista as well as the post Soviet Union Cuba of abject poverty and a failed ideal.
Be prepared. Once you begin reading this book, you WILL NOT be able to put it down until you turn the last page. And you'll turn that last page with reluctance because it will mean the end of a riveting story.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Ms. Hellmann’s Havana Lost is a delightful and intriguing step back in time to another era on the colorful island of Cuba, with a well drawn and paced mystery. Read morePublished 25 days ago by greg jolley
Having recently visited Cuba, I enjoyed the parts of the book that shined a light on the everyday lives of Cubans during and after the revolution. Read morePublished 2 months ago by BeeGee
Easy to read, fast paced. Would have liked it a little better if she had gone into the revolution a little more but over a great little read.Published 4 months ago by Catherine E. Evans
Not nearly as good as I was hoping. The connection of characters was boring and predictible.Published 4 months ago by catchis
A well-researched book that introduces you to interesting people in a variety of places and times, all woven together in a story that spans a few generations. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Honeybee
Interesting but a little long. History piece was good but story line became very repetitious. 3 generations looking for a map!Published 5 months ago by janet zettler
Cuba with all it's beauty and tragedy is the backdrop for this family saga. Beginning with the last days of the Batista regime and continuing through Castro's rule to 2008, the... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Melodie Bennett
Well written and held my interest. However, I felt it left some things hanging at the end.Published 6 months ago by Cathy
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