I love Chanel Cleeton’s writing. I’ve enjoyed her earlier books but NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA was kind of a departure in tone and style for her and I was so happy that I still loved it. I was dying to know more about Beatriz and her story when I finished HAVANA. I definitely feel that reading the books in order gives a much richer reading experience for these books. They’re still stand alones and can be read as such, but I got so much more out of this book by knowing this world and these characters going. She was so different from her sister Elisa and I knew her life would be vastly different. WHEN WE LEFT CUBA delivered what I was hoping to get.
I’m a very heroine-centric reader and WHEN WE LEFT CUBA delivered a heroine I could love in Beatriz. She’s bold, seemingly fearless, and fiercely independent and I was here for that the entire time. Cleeton also does a masterful job of weaving Cuban history throughout in such a way that I felt like I was learning, yet also was in the background of the book. This has to be challenging to attain that exact balance, readers don’t want to see an info dump because frankly that can incredibly boring, but having that kind of history in the text can enrich a book so much. I felt that Cleeton did that here, and did it incredibly well.
There’s a lot of suspense and political intrigue but also has plenty of familial drama and romance, which I desperately need in my books. Overall, I was really pleased with this and can’t wait to read more from this author.
Rating: 4 stars
Title: When We Left Cuba
Author: Chanel Cleeton
Release Date: April 9, 2019