- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Berkley (February 6, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0399586687
- ISBN-13: 978-0399586682
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 427 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,859 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Next Year in Havana Paperback – February 6, 2018
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Praise for Next Year in Havana
“A sweeping love story and tale of courage and familial and patriotic legacy that spans generations.”—Entertainment Weekly
"This Cuban-set historical novel is just what you need to get that ~extra-summery~ feeling.”—Bustle
"The Ultimate Beach Read"—Real Simple
“Next Year in Havana reminds us that while love is complicated and occasionally heartbreaking, it's always worth the risk.”—NPR
“A flat-out stunner of a book, at once a dual-timeline mystery, a passionate romance, and paean to the tragedy and beauty of war-torn Cuba. Simply wonderful!”—Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network
"Cleeton has penned an atmospheric, politically insightful, and highly hopeful homage to a lost world. Devour Next Year in Havana and you, too, will smell the perfumed groves, taste the ropa vieja, and feel the sun on your face."—Stephanie Dray, New York Times bestselling coauthor of America's First Daughter
“Don’t miss this smart, moving, and romantic story.”—HelloGiggles.com
“A vivid, transporting novel. Next Year in Havana is about journeys—into exile, into history, and into questions of home and identity. It's an engrossing read.”—David Ebershoff, author of The Danish Girl and The 19th Wife
“An evocative, passionate story of family loyalty and forbidden love that moves seamlessly between the past and present of Cuba’s turbulent history...Next Year in Havana kept me enthralled and savoring every word.”—Shelley Noble, New York Times bestselling author of Whisper Beach
“Chanel Cleeton’s prose is as beautiful as Cuba itself, and the story she weaves—of exile and loss, memory and myth, forbidden love and enduring friendship—is at once sweeping and beautifully intimate.”—Jennifer Robson, USA Today bestselling author of Somewhere in France
"A poignant tale of aristocracy, subterfuge, tyranny, conflict, corruption and courage during the Cuban Revolution…Next Year In Havana is an extraordinary journey that connects the past and present and will enthrall readers until the very end."—RT Book Review (starred review)
“An enticing and wonderful read for lovers of historical fiction and soul-searching journeys.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“An undeniably personal and intimate look at Cuba then and now, wrapped around the gripping story of two women torn between love and country.”—Renee Rosen, author of Windy City Blues
“Chanel Cleeton delivers an amazing and captivating read!”—Alix Rickloff, author of On the Way to London
“With graceful prose, Cleeton evokes the former grandeur of 1950s Cuba, and contrasts it with modern day Miami in this sweeping family saga of loss and love.”—Heather Webb, author of Last Christmas in Paris
“A compelling, un-put-downable page-turner told from two equally powerful female narratives...A must read.”—Lia Riley, author of It Happened on Love Street
“Next Year in Havana is a ravishing jewel of romance, hope, family, and the history in Cuba.”—Weina Dai Randel, author of The Moon in the Palace
“This gritty tale pulls back the curtain on revolutionary and modern Cuba, allowing us a glimpse of the courage, heartache, and sacrifices of those who left their country in exile, and also those who stayed behind.”—Stephanie Thornton, author The Conqueror's Wife
“Next Year in Havana is a riveting, moving novel that explores the ever-relevant themes of love and sacrifice, family and duty, patriotism and resistance. Cleeton describes Havana so vividly that I felt I was there. I could not put this book down!”—Alyssa Palombo, author of The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence
About the Author
Chanel Cleeton is the USA Today bestselling author of Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick Next Year in Havana. She received a bachelor's degree in International Relations from Richmond, The American International University in London and a master's degree in Global Politics from the London School of Economics & Political Science. Chanel also received her Juris Docto from the University of South Carolina School of Law. She loves to travel and has lived in the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia.
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Elisa Perez is from a wealthy background, secure in what her role was to be, not only as a Perez, but also as a Cuban. Under Batista’s rule, her family had favor but at what cost? We see Cuba through Elisa’s innocent eyes. From the rush of excitement meeting her first love and revolutionary, and her naïveté of a reality facing Cuba outside her gilded walls, to her world crumbling as the political regime fails and her heartsick worry over an unknown future comes to fruition, the Cuba she knew is ending. The love for her family pulled her in one direction, while the love of a man fighting for his country pulled her in yet another, but it forced Elisa to see life past her safety bubble and realize how much more she had to offer...if she only took that first step.
“At the end of the day, the only thing you have left is what you stand for.”
Pablo, Elisa’s revolutionary love, fought for his convictions and was determined to free his countrymen from a dictator. Granted, we know Cuba traded one for another, but at the time, Castro seemed like a good choice to Pablo to help break free of Batista’s tyranny. Meeting Pablo changed Elisa’s life in many ways, some painful and some unexpectedly joyful, but I believe it changed Pablo too. He saw his fight in a different light because she gave him hope a better future existed, one he had never considered before.
60 years after her grandmother and her family escape Cuba, Elisa’s granddaughter, Marisol, returns to Cuba to lay her grandmother’s ashes to rest. Staying with her grandmother’s childhood friend Ana and her family, including her grandson Luis, Marisol’s trip takes a few...personal, unexpected turns. Growing up on stories from her grandmother and her great aunts left Marisol with a romanticized version of Cuba, one that was frozen in time through memories and a longing of the way things used to be before Castro came to power. However, when faced with the true reality of what was truly left behind, Marisol is left floundering on where she truly fits in as a Cuban-American. As she tells Luis
“...I’m a visitor here, a guest in my own country.”
“Then you know what it means to be Cuban...We always reach for something beyond our grasp.”
Luis was a modern day revolutionary. Teaching history at the University by day, while working his family’s restaurant at night, Luis was a fascinating take on the current political climate. I could draw so many parallels between Luis and Pablo in their beliefs and identity, but simply put, they were strong individuals in their own right fighting for the same thing, just in two different eras and with mixed results.
“...the double-edged sword to being Cuban-we are both pragmatic realists and consummate dreamers.”
This book was an amazing read! Chanel Cleeton did her research and captures the romance and myth, of old and new Cuba with so much passion, it bleeds all over the pages! She conveys so much emotion in these characters...it was hard not to get sucked into their daily lives, even when you know what’s coming for Cuba. I could not tear my eyes away from the magic this story wove! (Seriously, I was reading at work whenever I had the chance to snatch a few pages in.) Passionate, riveting, heartbreaking, romantic, raw...I don’t know if I can find the appropriate words to justify the feelings this book provoked, but I can say this book is worth its weight in gold. Chanel Cleeton took a dark bit of history and brought it to light with characters full of hope and zest for a better chance at life. I find myself looking at Cuba with new eyes and a hefty dose of respect, for the struggles the people have overcome in order to survive. Definitely recommend this read!
The book follows the lives of two women decades apart - Elisa and Marisol. Elise has grown up in the 1950s version of Cuba when Batista fell and Fidel rises to power. In the midst of her privileged upbringing she meets Pablo, a revolutionary fighting against everything her father has supported. Elisa is torn between her family and the man she loves, and when her family flees Cuba in order to escape the prosecution of Fidel's rise to power, she has to leave all that she loves behind. Making a new life for herself in Miami - she marries, she moves on, she has children - and those children have children and enter onto the scene Marisol. Marisol is living her grandmother's life decades away after Fidel has died. And her grandmother has passed. Her grandmother's wish is for Marisol to return to Cuba and spread her ashes in the land that she loved. But travel to Cuba is precarious and when Marisol finds herself on native soil, she learns the truth about her grandmother's life in Cuba and the battles there are still to fight there.
Next Year in Havana runs parallel stories between a grandmother and granddaughter that heighten the understanding of genuine love. The novel is part romance, part love story, part political lecture, and part redemption. The life Marisol chases in an attempted to learn more about her grandmother Elisa past takes the reader (and Marisol) on a journey through the history of Cuba and its fate for the future.
I learned a lot in the book about not only the extraordinary lives of the characters, but also about Cuba and its deep roots and shallow government. The juxtaposition of the United States against the turmoil backdrop of Cuba creates a powerful lesson in what it means to have freedom not only on paper, but in real life. As Marisol learns and articulates in the novel, "The United States isn't perfect; there's injustice everywhere I turn. But there's also a mechanism that protects its citizens - the right to question when something is wrong, to speak out, to protest, to be heard. It doesn't always work, sometimes the system fails those it was designed to protect, but at least that opportunity - the hope of it - exists" (Cleeton 305).