Next Year in Havana
After the death of her beloved grandmother, a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana, where she discovers the roots of her identity--and unearths a family secret hidden since the revolution...Havana, 1958. The daughter of a sugar baron, nineteen-year-old Elisa Perez is part of Cuba's high society, where she is largely sheltered from the country's growing political unrest--until she embarks on a clandestine affair with a passionate revolutionary...Miami, 2017. Freelance writer Marisol Ferrera grew up hearing romantic stories of Cuba from her late grandmother Elisa, who was forced to flee with her family during the revolution. Elisa's last wish was for Marisol to scatter her ashes in the country of her birth. Arriving in Havana, Marisol comes face-to-face with the contrast of Cuba's tropical, timeless beauty and its perilous political climate. When more family history comes to light and Marisol finds herself attracted to a man with secrets of his own, she'll need the lessons of her grandmother's past to help her understand the true meaning of courage.

Next Year in Havana Details

TitleNext Year in Havana
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 6th, 2018
PublisherPenguin/Berkley
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Romance, Contemporary

Next Year in Havana Review

  • Angela M
    January 1, 1970
    I always enjoy knowing an author’s inspiration for a story. In the acknowledgments, which introduce the book, Chanel Cleeeton call this “the book of my heart” and thanks her family for sharing their stories. It wasn’t until I heard her in an interview relating a story that her father told her about how people would put their valuables in boxes and bury the box before they left Cuba, that I knew the specific thing. This seemed to reflect a hope that they would someday return. A box buried by a yo I always enjoy knowing an author’s inspiration for a story. In the acknowledgments, which introduce the book, Chanel Cleeeton call this “the book of my heart” and thanks her family for sharing their stories. It wasn’t until I heard her in an interview relating a story that her father told her about how people would put their valuables in boxes and bury the box before they left Cuba, that I knew the specific thing. This seemed to reflect a hope that they would someday return. A box buried by a young girl as she and her family flee Cuba in 1958 is a meaningful part of this novel. I loved knowing that this was the spark that started this story and that she is connected to the narrative because her family did indeed flee Cuba after the revolution. In Havana, in the late 1950s we meet Elisa from an affluent family, sugar barons as they are leaving Cuba. This narrative alternates with her granddaughter Marisol’s in 2017 as she goes to Cuba to spread her grandmother’s ashes. The past story is a love story where the political history of Cuba in the late 1950s is played out. I have to admit how little I really knew about this complicated history from the not too distant past. That made it all the more interesting to me.On one level you could read this as a love story and then there is another love story in the present day (which is not as believable as the earlier one ) or you could see the history and the politics, the Cuba of the past and present through these relationships. A story of family ties, love, and friendship woven into the politics and history of pre-revolutionary Cuba connecting it to the present day. Loyalty, love of country , the dangerous business of beliefs contrary to those in power told with the natural beauty of the island as the backdrop and the ambiance of Havana. I felt confident of the details of the politics given that the author has academic degrees in international politics. I thoroughly enjoyed this even with an ending that was a little too pat. It was well written and appealed to me from the beginning to the end. I received an advanced copy of this book from Berkeley through NetGalley.
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  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    I’m a sucker for Cuba. It’s a destination of choice for a number of reasons including its history, its traditions, the people and of course, its coffee.This story takes us through 2 story lines: 1959 and decades later to 2017. With 2 love stories.After Marisol’s grandmother passes, she has been left the daunting task of scattering her ashes over her home country, Cuba. We read her story through love letters left behind.We are taken through the historical revolution and what it meant as a citizen I’m a sucker for Cuba. It’s a destination of choice for a number of reasons including its history, its traditions, the people and of course, its coffee.This story takes us through 2 story lines: 1959 and decades later to 2017. With 2 love stories.After Marisol’s grandmother passes, she has been left the daunting task of scattering her ashes over her home country, Cuba. We read her story through love letters left behind.We are taken through the historical revolution and what it meant as a citizen to fight for Equality; never mind democracy. The moral dilemmas faced as a nation torn by radical leaders. And of the Cubans whom were forced into exile with only their personal belongings on their backs having to leave their homeland; and those who stayed with the hopes of change that never came to fruition.Great history; fantastic writing. 4⭐️
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  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton is a 2018 Penguin/Berkley publication. Cuba- 1958Elisa Perez, a sugar heiress, falls in love with a revolutionary. But, their lives are so far removed from one another the relationship is one that seems doomed from the start. Sure enough, she and Pablo are separated, and Elisa’s family fled to America, never to return to their beloved Cuba. Fast forward to 2017-“When I was younger, I begged my grandmother to tell me about Cuba. It was a mythical island, cont Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton is a 2018 Penguin/Berkley publication. Cuba- 1958Elisa Perez, a sugar heiress, falls in love with a revolutionary. But, their lives are so far removed from one another the relationship is one that seems doomed from the start. Sure enough, she and Pablo are separated, and Elisa’s family fled to America, never to return to their beloved Cuba. Fast forward to 2017-“When I was younger, I begged my grandmother to tell me about Cuba. It was a mythical island, contained in my heart, entirely drawn from the version of Cuba she created in exile in Miami and the stories she shared with me. I was caught between two lands- two iterations of myself- the one I inhabited in my body and the one I lived in my dreams.”Marisol’s grandmother dies and to honor her last wishes, Marisol smuggles her ashes into Cuba. But, arriving in Cuba is only the beginning of her adventure. She must pick the perfect spot to spread her grandmother’s ashes, so that end, she touches base with Elisa’s best friend, hoping to gain some insight. This is how she meets Luis, who escorts her around the city and helps her play amateur detective as she searches for Pablo, the love of Elisa’s life. However, Luis’s job as a professor has him under scrutiny and Marisol has been watched since she first stepped foot in Cuba. They begin to fall in love, playing a very dangerous game with their futures and maybe even their lives. Eventually they will face a heartbreaking fork in the road where they will both have to make the most difficult choice of their lives. This story was absolutely amazing!! It’s epic, grand, sweeping, emotional, and heart wrenching. The family saga is told in bold, rich details, so vivid I felt like I was there taking in all the sights and sounds of Cuba. The atmosphere is heavy with foreboding and tension, danger always lurking in the shadows. Love, at times, chooses the most inopportune moments to invade one’s heart, but also has a knack for knowing just the right time and place, knowing somehow, someway that it’s now or never. Both scenarios come with hard choices and consequences. The book is also very informative, giving readers an up close and personal look at what life is really like in Cuba. While I did find all of this very interesting, at times the ‘lectures’ or history lessons slowed the momentum of the story, but I still think readers need to absorb at least some of this information because this knowledge contributes to the high level of anguish and suspense that builds as the novel reaches its climax. “The world as we know it has died, and I do not recognize the one that has taken its place”This history also serves as a cautionary tale in many ways, but it is also very complicated, with people making choices they believed were the right ones to make at the time, while others clung to the way of life they had established, suddenly finding themselves in exile. “You never know what’s to come. That’s the beauty of life. If everything happened the way we wished, the way we planned, we’d miss out on the best parts, the unexpected pleasure.”Naturally, for me, the love stories- plural- is what brought out the strongest emotions in me. Their stories parallel one another in many ways, with one being tragic and the other filled with danger- but also one filled with hope for a better outcome and maybe even a better way of life for those living in Cuba. 4 stars
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  • Patty Belongs To Kellan~Jesse~Lautner~Miller~Jack~Racer~Rafe~Liam~Prince Nicholas~Hayes~Simon~Gianluca & Archer
    January 1, 1970
    *****FOUR STARS*****{ARC Generously Provided by Author}In one step, I know power, the drugging effect of it coursing through my veins. With one step I am removed from the fringes and thrust in the middle of my life. In that space of the step, my world shifts. Everything is different now, and nothing will ever be the same again.NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA is beautifully written and at times excessive in the detailed description of the surroundings and landscape of Cuba and its inhabitants. It did enable *****FOUR STARS*****{ARC Generously Provided by Author}In one step, I know power, the drugging effect of it coursing through my veins. With one step I am removed from the fringes and thrust in the middle of my life. In that space of the step, my world shifts. Everything is different now, and nothing will ever be the same again.NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA is beautifully written and at times excessive in the detailed description of the surroundings and landscape of Cuba and its inhabitants. It did enable me to picture a Country I will never get to see in my lifetime and in that aspect, I did appreciate the descriptive narrative. This read more like a history book than a romance. While there are two sets of couples, they seemed to play a secondary role to that of the main characters which were Cuba and its history of unrest and rebellion.The story switches from past to present. The past being 1958-59 Havana, where Elisa Perez lives with her parents and sisters. In the present, Elisa’s granddaughter, Marisol Ferrera, is on a journey from Miami to Cuba where she has been assigned the task to spread her grandmother’s ashes. Although having been exiled from Cuba for nearly sixty years, Elisa always yearned for a chance to someday return to the Country she called ”home”. When she was nineteen she fled Cuba with her family after Fidel Castro came into power. Her family was one of the wealthiest and powerful in Havana and a prime target for Castro.Marisol was very close to her grandmother and her death affected Marisol deeply. She knows that it still isn’t safe for her to be going to Cuba but is determined to fulfill her grandmother’s dying wish. She’s also excited to be going to the place that her grandmother spent so many nights telling stories about. Marisol embraces her heritage. When she meets Ana Rodriguez, Elisa’s childhood best friend, Marisol is given a box that Elisa left behind. What she discovers inside is a secret that Elisa took with her to her grave and Marisol questions whether she ever truly knew her grandmother. Marisol sets off on a mission to uncover her grandmother’s secret past and along the way finds her own romance with Luis, a history professor at the University of Cuba and also Ana’s grandson.During flashbacks, we learn how Elisa meets her one true love and how a happily ever after for them is nearly impossible. When we are back in the present we see that history is repeating itself with Marisol and Luis.Will Marisol have the HEA that her grandmother was unable to attain?Here are my overall ratings on the book: Heroes: 4 Heroines: 4 Plot: 4 Angst: 3 Steam: 2 Chemistry Between Hero & Heroine: 3NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA releases tomorrow.Book Links: Amazon: http://amzn.to/2pdQBKF Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2pYsJJYiBooks: http://apple.co/2pvYffqIndieBound: http://bit.ly/2zrt11mKobo: http://bit.ly/2wPZPMU
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  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 There are so many fantastic elements to this novel. The book opens with the Perez family fleeing Cuba after the revolution. This is the first thread of the story. The second is Elise Perez's granddaughter Marisol, traveling to Cuba, sixty years later to scatter her ashes in the country she had loved. The history of Cuba, Batista, Che and Castro are told in bold, detailed fashion using the Perez family to add a human element and interest to the story. This story would be my favorite part of t 3.5 There are so many fantastic elements to this novel. The book opens with the Perez family fleeing Cuba after the revolution. This is the first thread of the story. The second is Elise Perez's granddaughter Marisol, traveling to Cuba, sixty years later to scatter her ashes in the country she had loved. The history of Cuba, Batista, Che and Castro are told in bold, detailed fashion using the Perez family to add a human element and interest to the story. This story would be my favorite part of the book, a look back at what happened to the Perez family, and a revolution that promised much be delivered little. Said to have ended Batista's cruelty, in effect, in one quote by the author, it just replaced one dictator with another.Marisol would find love in Havana but also many other things she didn't know she was looking for. Again the descriptions of Havana we're done well, but that in one week two people would fall in love, was a bit unbelievable. I enjoyed the characters, the different looks at the people who fled Cuba, and those who stayed. There are a few surprises along the way, in this very readable book. Things may be more open in Cuba but as the book shows the danger for some is far from over. Very well written, the history, thankfully for me but maybe all readers will not feel the same, overshadowed the love story. The ending poignant, heartfelt but a little to pat. All in all z good read about a country of which I am still learning.ARC from Netgalley.
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  • Christy
    January 1, 1970
    I am not a huge fan of historical fiction, but I loved this book. Chanel Cleeton is a new to me author, and I'm so happy I took a chance on this book. It is beautifully written, and I feel like I learned so much while reading it. This story goes back in forth between two characters and two times. Some chapters are in the present, from our heroine Marisol's pov. The others are from the past, 1958 to be exact. They are from Marisol's late Grandmother, Elisa's pov. It's a few months after Elisa's I am not a huge fan of historical fiction, but I loved this book. Chanel Cleeton is a new to me author, and I'm so happy I took a chance on this book. It is beautifully written, and I feel like I learned so much while reading it. This story goes back in forth between two characters and two times. Some chapters are in the present, from our heroine Marisol's pov. The others are from the past, 1958 to be exact. They are from Marisol's late Grandmother, Elisa's pov. It's a few months after Elisa's death and Marisol takes a trip to Elisa's home country of Cuba. Elisa hadn't been there since the late 50's when her family fled. ‘Next Year in Havana. It’s the toast we never stop saying, because the dream of it never comes true.’ Marisol and her grandmother were very close. She thought she knew everything there was to know about her grandmother, but as it turns out, there is so much she didn't know. I loved discovering all these things along with Marisol, and hearing about them through Elisa's voice. While in Cuba, Marisol learns so much about her heritage, her family, and about love. Things take a complicated turn towards the end of the story as she falls for a Cuban man. I can't imagine him in my world, and I certainly don't belong in his. Where does that leave us? This story was written in a way I felt like I was in Cuba experiencing new things, seeing new sights, and tasting the rice and beans. Cleeton has a descriptive way of writing that makes you feel like you're there, where the story takes place. I loved how this story came together at the end, and I thought this was a great read. I recommend to all readers of romance, even if historical isn't really your thing. It's a fantastic story and I'm looking forward to reading more from this author. "It's raucous and beautiful, and more than anything, I want to belong here, want this city to become a part of me."
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  • Katie B
    January 1, 1970
    This book has been on my radar for awhile and I was so excited to finally have the opportunity to read it. I don't normally comment on book covers, but this one is absolutely stunning and whoever designed it deserves some praise. The story that unfolded between the front and back covers was really some compelling historical fiction.So I'll admit I did not know much about the Cuban Revolution prior to reading this book. One reason I love historical fiction is sometimes it gives you the opportunit This book has been on my radar for awhile and I was so excited to finally have the opportunity to read it. I don't normally comment on book covers, but this one is absolutely stunning and whoever designed it deserves some praise. The story that unfolded between the front and back covers was really some compelling historical fiction.So I'll admit I did not know much about the Cuban Revolution prior to reading this book. One reason I love historical fiction is sometimes it gives you the opportunity to learn an important part of history and allows you to connect with characters in a way that might not happen with nonfiction books. In this case it was hard not to immediately be drawn to Marisol, who has arrived in Cuba with the intent to spread her late grandmother Elisa's ashes. The action switches back and forth between the present day and the events of the late 1950s which led to Elisa and her family fleeing their home country. As Marisol learns more about her grandmother's past, she realizes maybe she didn't quite know her as well as she thought she did. I thought the author did a fine job capturing the complex feelings of the characters with regards to the country they loved. I think it is easy to make judgments based on decades later knowing how things played out but through the eyes of certain characters I was better able to understand their beliefs and the choices they made. My only real criticism is sometimes the story and dialogue got bogged down too much by the desire of the author to include as much information as possible about Cuba to the reader. There were a few instances in which I felt the dialogue came across stilted and textbook like rather than a natural conversation. Overall, a fine work of historical fiction and I am really looking forward to the author's next book which will feature the character of Beatriz. To be honest, I hope eventually all of the sisters and brother get their own novel because I think the author has a knack for capturing the voices of not only Cuban refugees but those that remained in the country as well.Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group for sending me a free copy of this book! All views expressed are my honest opinion.
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  • Astrid - The Bookish Sweet Tooth
    January 1, 1970
    Boy, 2018 has been epic so far... My heart is full. Full with love for the characters of this book. With shame about my ignorance of the danger and problems Cuban people still face on a daily basis. Admiration for their bravery and pride. Affection for their good hearts. Sadness for their heartbreak. I struggle to get a grip on my emotions as I sit here and write my review. How long will we be gone? When will we return? Which version of Cuba will greet us when we do? Marisol's exiled grandmother Boy, 2018 has been epic so far... My heart is full. Full with love for the characters of this book. With shame about my ignorance of the danger and problems Cuban people still face on a daily basis. Admiration for their bravery and pride. Affection for their good hearts. Sadness for their heartbreak. I struggle to get a grip on my emotions as I sit here and write my review. How long will we be gone? When will we return? Which version of Cuba will greet us when we do? Marisol's exiled grandmother's last wish was for her remains to return to the home of her heart, Cuba, one of the priceless gems in the Caribbean Sea. Marisol only knows her country from stories her grandmother Elisa told her, who raised her and who she was closest to. Arriving in Cuba she traces back Elisa's life. At her side is Elisa's best friend Ana's grandson Luis. Together they uncover secrets only a few people apart from Elisa knew about.Two timelines follow alternating Elisa and Pablo as well as Marisol and Luis. There are parallels between Elisa's love for Pablo and Marisol's for Luis. Both of them love highly educated men, who have a deep love for their country. Patriotism isn't just a word for them, they live it, breathe it...die for it. And both of these men possess a quiet strength, an earnestness and intensity that draws both Elisa and Marisol in.It isn't surprising that Marisol and Elisa fall in love with men who have so similar character traits. Marisol and Elisa share the same kindness, brave heart, curiosity and love for their country. When Elisa's secrets start to surface it throws Marisol a little bit for a loop. Doubts about her knowledge of the woman who raised her arise, make her question if she knew her grandmother at all. Slowly she also realizes how romanticized her image of Cuba is. I am Cuban, and yet, I am not. I don’t know where I fit here, in the land of my grandparents, attempting to recreate a Cuba that no longer exists in reality. Luis and Marisol's instant attraction becomes complicated fast, their connection turns quickly into deep feelings. But how can they be together when neither of them fits into the world of the other? This stalemate situation makes you understand, however, that as divergent Luis and Marisol are, they also have a lot in common. It's exactly the same situation Marisol's grandmother and Pablo found themselves in, when they fell in love. “In this moment, I want you. But after that—”“Then maybe we just have this moment.”“Is that enough?”He smiles, a tinge of sadness on his face. “I have a feeling there will never be enough moments with you, Marisol.” As we follow Marisol and Elisa we learn about the Cuba pre-revolution and the Cuba of today. Chanel Cleeton draws the country in brilliant and rich colors and makes you want to get on a plane and visit, to see it with your own eyes. I adored all the main characters and Luis' grandmother Ana. There is a warmth, a gentleness to all of them despite the harshness they experience.Cuba is the fifth star in this story and she is as beautiful as she is terrifying. The author weaves her immense and profound knowledge of the country into the story and fascinates us with historical details. I suspect she also poured a lot of herself into Marisol and Elisa. There is no home for us in a world where we can’t speak our minds for fear of being thrown in prison, where daring to dream is a criminal act, where you aren’t limited by your own ability and ambition, but instead by the whims of those who keep a tight rein on power. This story is powerful and extraordinary. It's a history class with a handsome professor who has the ability to captivate and enchant you with spellbinding, informative and lovely narration about the people, politics and history of a beautiful country. Yes, there is a lot of historical details in the beginning and while this makes for a slower reading in the first 30 to 40% it is absolutely essential to understand the bigger picture. I loved learning about the Cuban revolution from somebody with such intimate knowledge about it.But do not fear, the story picks up at around 40% and then it reaches that level of unputdownable that I experience with all Chanel Cleeton books. I love all her stories but this time she has outdone herself. Heads up - this is not romance. I think it qualifies more as fiction with romantic elements. But don't let that keep you from reading it, it packs a good amount of romance and love.This is the book I never knew was missing from my life. It has made me richer and given me an insight into the dangers Cuban people are still dealing with. I can't stress how important this story is, how fascinating, emotional, wonderful and educating. I have a new understanding of the history and I hope one day Cuban people will be free and rid of the regime so that their inherent exuberance and vibrancy can shine again with full power.  We carry our home with us in our hearts, laden with hope. So much hope.  Next year in Havana. Ojalá.
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  • Rachel Reads Ravenously
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars! “Am I dangerous?”“I have a feeling you just might be.” I made a resolution to myself last year that I would make more of an effort to read new to me authors when selecting future books. Chanel Cleeton is a new to me author, and when I saw the cover and title of this book I knew I needed to get my hands on it. And man oh man am I so glad I did because I loved this story.Next Year in Havana is told in present day by Marisol, a young woman grieving her recently deceased grandmother, 4.5 stars! “Am I dangerous?”“I have a feeling you just might be.” I made a resolution to myself last year that I would make more of an effort to read new to me authors when selecting future books. Chanel Cleeton is a new to me author, and when I saw the cover and title of this book I knew I needed to get my hands on it. And man oh man am I so glad I did because I loved this story.Next Year in Havana is told in present day by Marisol, a young woman grieving her recently deceased grandmother, Elisa, and goes to Cuba to spread her ashes. We also get Elisa’s story in 1958 Cuba, a story of love and a divided country. That’s all I’m going to say about the plot, but know both stories present and past are beautiful and will surprise you. “I walk down these streets, and I look out to the sea, and I want to feel as though I belong here, but I am a visitor here, a guest in my own country.”“Then you know what it means to be Cuban.” Cuba has always been a subject of interest for me, but not one strong enough for me to do some heavy research. Reading this book I felt I learned a lot about the country and its history, its present day happenings as well. At times the characters I felt got a little bit too political and by that I mean I did skim some political stuffs because it was feeling repetitive and preachy, but I honestly didn’t mind it that much because I’m giving it 4.5 stars.Normally when a book is told from two point of views I find I like one more than the other, but that really wasn’t the case in this book. I loved Marisol and Elisa’s stories equally, wanting to know more about both and never wanting to skip a POV. Both women are caught in impossible situations because of issues beyond their control. They feel powerless, and yet do everything they can for the people they love.Reading this book I felt as if I was transported to Cuba. I’ve never been but felt I have based on the descriptive nature of this book. Cleeton is excellent at bringing her readers into her story and I honestly can say I am dying for her to write more books like this one.I know I will remember this book for years to come. “No one warned me love would hurt so much.” ARC provided by the publisher Follow me on ♥ Facebook ♥ Blog ♥ Instagram ♥ Twitter ♥
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  • Cindy Burnett
    January 1, 1970
    Every once in a while I start a book and from page one I am completely enamored with the every aspect of the book - the plot, the characters, the setting, and the relationships. Next Year in Havana is this type of book; as I read, I was constantly ruminating about how fabulous the book was. I love that feeling, and to me, it is the sign of an exceptionally good book. Next Year in Havana is told in a dual timeline format, alternating between the late 1950’s and present day. Both story lines are e Every once in a while I start a book and from page one I am completely enamored with the every aspect of the book - the plot, the characters, the setting, and the relationships. Next Year in Havana is this type of book; as I read, I was constantly ruminating about how fabulous the book was. I love that feeling, and to me, it is the sign of an exceptionally good book. Next Year in Havana is told in a dual timeline format, alternating between the late 1950’s and present day. Both story lines are equally compelling, and Chanel Cleeton artfully incorporates both the beauty and history of Cuba into her tale about courage in the face of family and loss. Cleeton’s family fled Cuba in 1967, and the personal connection and love she feels for the country are reflected in her tale. Cuba is a fascinating place to me, and stories set there always appeal to me. Next Year in Havana stands out because the author effectively integrates a significant amount of Cuban history while crafting a beautiful tale of family, love, and enduring relationships. I had never really understood the schism between those who left Cuba after Fidel Castro came into power versus those that remained. Without taking sides, Cleeton engenders sympathy for both groups and the difficult choices that those individuals had to make when choosing which path to take.I was curious about the title of the book when I began reading and thankfully she explains it: “As exiles, … hope is embedded in the very essence of our soul. ‘Next Year in Havana. It’s the toast we never stop saying, because the dream of it never comes true.’ ” What a beautiful tribute to Cuba that decades later those exiled still hope year after year that they can one day return, and how incredibly sad that it has still not come to pass.Sadly, I think it is easy for Americans to forget how lucky we are to live in a country where freedom is taken for granted. Reading about present day Cuba is scary: internet and cell phone coverage is scarce, the government controls what information is disseminated, food shortages are common, and retribution for speaking out can be punishable by death. The reminder is helpful in our current political environment; freedom and equality are worth protecting, and it is important to speak out against those attempting to infringe on those rights.Next Year in Havana is spectacular. I loved the entire book and was thrilled with the small surprise at the end. I had an inkling that the surprise might be coming and was glad when it worked out that way. I struggled a bit with the resolution of the present day story line but am not sure that there was any other way for it to end; it certainly did not impact my view of the book. The cover of Next Year in Havana deserves to be mentioned also; it is simply stunning and fits the book beautifully. Thanks to Berkley Publishing and BookBrowse for the chance to read this ARC. All opinions are my own.
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  • Liz
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars, rounded up.As a voracious reader and reviewer, I’m in favor of anything that promotes books and creates more interest in them. So, I view the proliferation of celebrity book clubs as a good thing. This is Reese Witherspoon’s July BOMC selection. And it’s a very worthy one. The book starts with the Perez family leaving Cuba after the success of the revolution. It quickly switches to Marisol Ferrera returning to Cuba 58 years later with her grandmother’s ashes. Cleeton paints that pictu 4.5 stars, rounded up.As a voracious reader and reviewer, I’m in favor of anything that promotes books and creates more interest in them. So, I view the proliferation of celebrity book clubs as a good thing. This is Reese Witherspoon’s July BOMC selection. And it’s a very worthy one. The book starts with the Perez family leaving Cuba after the success of the revolution. It quickly switches to Marisol Ferrera returning to Cuba 58 years later with her grandmother’s ashes. Cleeton paints that picture of Cuba quickly and impressively. Things we take for granted, everything from seat belts to fancy pots and pans, are missing, everything is in some state of disrepair.The story alternates between the grandmother Elisa’s last year in Cuba as a nineteen year old and Marisol’s return. The book gives us a background of what it was like in that last year of Batista being in power. “Very few can afford the luxury of being political in Cuba.” “And no one can afford the luxury of not being political in Cuba.” And, of course, it also shows you, through Marisol’s eyes, how poorly that revolution turned out and how the people are still being oppressed. I loved the contrast between the vision of the Cubans that left, living with memories, and those that stayed, living with facts. “Even though we share the same heritage, as hard as I search for commonalities between us, as much as I want to belong here, the differences are glaring. I am Cuban and yet, I am not.”I could have done without the modern romance. It seemed unnecessary to me. But I loved how much Havana and Cuba was a love interest for all concerned. “Havana is a beautiful city shrouded in sadness, yet the remarkable thing is that it’s almost as if the people didn’t get the memo. They laugh, and there’s a jubilant quality to the air… The Cubans probably have the least to laugh about compared to everyone around them, but they laugh the loudest.”I knew of the Revolution, but what I didn’t know was the horrors that occurred after Castro came to power. It gave me a new insight into why the Cubans in the US are so bitter. Not just the loss of property, but the high loss of life. “We are Rome and this is the Coliseum.”What’s interesting is that this book can be read as much more than a romantic story or historical fiction. It delves into the need to stand up to injustice. Of not turning a blind eye to corruption if it doesn’t immediately affect you. The danger of being silent and creating deals with the devil. My thanks to Berkeley Publishing that provided me with a copy of this novel.
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  • Lori
    January 1, 1970
    I have mixed feelings on this one. I loved parts & I disliked others. I loved Elise’s story... the struggles she faced in a changing Cuba were heartbreaking. I had a vague knowledge of Cuba’s tumultuous past & present, so I really found that part very interesting. At the same time, I enjoyed learning more about Cuba’s struggles it felt over done in Marisol’s story. The sentiments became very repetitive which made me lose interest & start skimming. Marisol & Luis’s relationship wa I have mixed feelings on this one. I loved parts & I disliked others. I loved Elise’s story... the struggles she faced in a changing Cuba were heartbreaking. I had a vague knowledge of Cuba’s tumultuous past & present, so I really found that part very interesting. At the same time, I enjoyed learning more about Cuba’s struggles it felt over done in Marisol’s story. The sentiments became very repetitive which made me lose interest & start skimming. Marisol & Luis’s relationship was another aspect I didn’t like. It seemed forced and tried too hard to mirror Elise’s story. All-in-all not a bad story overall. I look forward to reading more novels about Cuba. ‘To be Cuban is to be proud—it is both our greatest gift and our biggest curse. We are silk and lace, and beneath them we are steel.’ 3.5 stars.
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  • Jennifer Kyle
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 Stars!!A very good read.
  • Bkwmlee
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsI was enamored with this book from the very first page and found it very difficult to put down after I started reading it! I will admit that I was reluctant to read this one at first, as I don’t typically read romance novels and being that most of this author’s previous works were contemporary romances, I was worried that this would be along the same lines -- however I decided to give this one a try, as I was drawn in by the historical aspect and also curiosity with the setting being in 4.5 starsI was enamored with this book from the very first page and found it very difficult to put down after I started reading it! I will admit that I was reluctant to read this one at first, as I don’t typically read romance novels and being that most of this author’s previous works were contemporary romances, I was worried that this would be along the same lines -- however I decided to give this one a try, as I was drawn in by the historical aspect and also curiosity with the setting being in Cuba. It turns out I was right to give this one a chance, as the romance aspect actually took a backseat to the history and also family dynamics, turning this into a wonderfully written work of historical fiction rather than a run-of-the-mill romance trope.Alternating between two timelines, the story is narrated first by Elisa Perez in the late 1950s, as Cuba is in the midst of a revolution led by Fidel Castro against president Batista, and then later by Elisa’s granddaughter Marisol Ferrara, nearly 60 years later, as she travels to Cuba for the first time to fulfill her grandmother’s dying wish for her ashes to be scattered in the country that always had a special place in her heart. As we accompany Marisol on a journey that is as much about discovering her roots, her heritage, as it is about coming to terms with the death of the beloved grandmother who raised her, we are given insight into the history of Cuba – more specifically Havana – and what life is like for its people both in modern day as well as back during the revolutionary period, in Elisa’s time. The juxtaposition of the two versions of Cuba – Marisol’s romanticized version passed on to her from family stories and memories versus the ‘real’ version of the Cuban people’s perpetual struggle and sacrifice – provided an eye-opening look at a country that embodied both beauty and hope as well as devastation and suffering. The disparity was so jarring at times that it really made me think about how grateful I am to live in a country that values freedom and at the same time, how so many things are taken for granted. I was absolutely humbled by passages such as this one, which was both a powerful and timely reminder of how lucky we are living in the times and parts of the world that we do: “I can’t fathom living in a world where you have no rights, where there is no oversight, no accountability. 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.” This was just one of many thought-provoking passages in this book — so many in fact that I found myself highlighting quite a bit and also stopping to reflect on some of the issues that were brought up.In terms of the writing, I am blown away by how well-written this book was – the skill with which the author was able to weave all the historical details into the narrative yet still present such a compelling, heartfelt story with wonderfully layered characters was, to me, beyond impressive. The writing was descriptive and beautiful, but most importantly, it was incredibly atmospheric, which I feel is one of the things that sets this book apart from some of the other works of historical fiction I’ve read recently. The author Chanel Cleeton did a wonderful job of establishing a strong sense of place and time, so much so that I felt like I was transported to Havana myself and was truly able to get a feel for the city and Cuba as a whole, its inhabitants and their way of life. There were so many topics that the book touched on – social injustice, economic inequality and instability, political strife, love, family, sacrifice, etc. – but the parts that drew me in the most were the details about Cuba’s history and culture, especially the emotions and conflict surrounding what it meant to be Cuban for those who fled the country and live in exile yet were still forever connected to their heritage versus those who stayed behind, whether willingly or unwillingly, and what they had to endure as a result. As mentioned in the book, much of Cuban history is political and so inevitably there were a lot of passages about politics throughout the story, yet not once did I feel that this book was trying to push a particular political message or viewpoint. To me, this is a testament to the author’s skill as a writer, as she was able to incorporate the politics piece in a way that impartially presented both sides, allowing us as the readers to determine for ourselves which (if any) side we related more to. I also appreciated the fact that the author, who herself is Cuban-American, wove in elements of her own family history and experiences fleeing from Cuba after the revolution, as her passion for her heritage and her country’s history truly did shine through. Overall, I definitely enjoyed this one and learned a lot from it. Highly recommended for historical fiction fans, especially those interested in learning more about Cuba.Received ARC from Berkley Books via Penguin First to Read program
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  • Pavlina Read more sleep less blog❤❤
    January 1, 1970
    LIVE AMAZON http://amzn.to/2E4hN254,5-5 Beautiful stars "At the end of the day the only thing you have left is what you stand for." I'm speechless, such a beautiful and powerful story!I have no words, I'm still processing what I just read!I have read and loved almost all Chanel's books but nothing is like that!This was amazing!Next Year in Havana is an emotional,intense, heartbreaking and heartwarming story!Next Year in Havana follows two different timelines. The first timeline tells the story o LIVE AMAZON http://amzn.to/2E4hN254,5-5 Beautiful stars "At the end of the day the only thing you have left is what you stand for." I'm speechless, such a beautiful and powerful story!I have no words, I'm still processing what I just read!I have read and loved almost all Chanel's books but nothing is like that!This was amazing!Next Year in Havana is an emotional,intense, heartbreaking and heartwarming story!Next Year in Havana follows two different timelines. The first timeline tells the story of Elisa in 1958 Havana, Cuba, and the second timeline follows Elisa’s granddaughter, Marisol, as she travels back to Havana to scatter her grandmother’s ashes.I loved both Eliza and Marisol but for some reason I felt more connected with Eliza and her story!Her story was so intense I have so many feelings and I find myself crying at some points.Marisol life was easier but still I love her she was strong heroine! The writing is so beautiful and flawless, the story is poignant and the characters amazing!I was fascinated by the history in this one, it makes me want to travel in this place!This is a must read!If you are looking for a brilliant story with history,romance and heartbreaking moments this is perfect for you!!    
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  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
    January 1, 1970
    Next year in Havana is one of those books that I took one look at and just knew that I wanted to read. The cover is breathtakingly beautiful and the blurb promised the reader an unforgettable story. I was very interested in Che Guevara in my early twenties, and I still find him to be a fascinating person. And the history of Cuba is also very interesting so guess my delight to get the chance of reading a historical fiction book set in Cuba.Next year in Havana has a dual storyline, with one story Next year in Havana is one of those books that I took one look at and just knew that I wanted to read. The cover is breathtakingly beautiful and the blurb promised the reader an unforgettable story. I was very interested in Che Guevara in my early twenties, and I still find him to be a fascinating person. And the history of Cuba is also very interesting so guess my delight to get the chance of reading a historical fiction book set in Cuba.Next year in Havana has a dual storyline, with one story taking place in 1958 when Batista was driven from the country and Castro took control of the country and you either stayed and took your chance with the new government or you left like the Perez family did in this book. They hoped that they would one day return to Havana, but it will not be until 2017 before a member of the Perez family will return when Marisol Ferrera travels to her family's birth country.I particularly liked the contrast between now and then Cuba will reading the book. In many ways have time stood still in Cuba since Castro took power and through this book, one gets a glimpse both how it was during Batista's rule and the situations in the country after Castro's death. The most tragic thing is that the people just wanted to be free and they thought Castro would be the one to give back Cuba to its people. It didn't turn out that way instead they traded one terrible situation for another.The book also promotes the reader some passionate love stories, both Elisa and Marisol found themselves swept off their feet. I guarantee if you are looking for some great love stories, then you don't need to look any further!Next Year in Havana is a fantastic book with two equally interesting storylines. And the best thing is that there will be a sequel released about Eliza's sister Beatriz. I can't wait to read the book!
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  • Stephanie Anze
    January 1, 1970
    Elisa Perez and her sisters enjoyed a privileged life in Cuba. Their father was in the sugar business which afforded them more liberties than most Cuban citizens. As the revolution against Batista (who at least outwardly, was supported by Elisa's father) grew, the political climate changed drastically. For the Perez clan that meant more than losing their comfortable life, it could cost them their life. In a act of self preservation, the Perez family left Cuba. About 60 years later, Marisol Ferre Elisa Perez and her sisters enjoyed a privileged life in Cuba. Their father was in the sugar business which afforded them more liberties than most Cuban citizens. As the revolution against Batista (who at least outwardly, was supported by Elisa's father) grew, the political climate changed drastically. For the Perez clan that meant more than losing their comfortable life, it could cost them their life. In a act of self preservation, the Perez family left Cuba. About 60 years later, Marisol Ferrera (Elisa's granddaughter) is tasked with bringing her grandmother's ashes to Cuba, the place where she always longed to go back to. Marisol, having been extremely close with her grandmother, agrees and makes what will become a life changing trip.There are books that are beautifully written and convey a sensation of actually having been right next to the protagonists as the narrative unfolded. 'Next Year in Havana' is one of those books. With a rich description of Cuba's landscape and a heartbreaking telling of the political history, this is easily one of the best books I have read thus far this year. Marisol is a Cuban-American freelance journalist. Her upbringing (in Miami) was chock full of stories of the her family in Cuba. Elisa was always telling Marisol how she missed Cuba despite all the turmoil. While many relatives try to deter Marisol from going to Cuba, her allegiance to her grandmother compels her to go. Restrictions for travel may have lessened but trouble is still lurking so Marisol must be careful. Upon arrival Marisol is dazzled by the beauty of the scenery and culture. It is almost idyllic but the more somber and restrictive side of Cuba soon begins to show. As Marisol looks for the best place to spread her grandmother's ashes, she becomes acquainted with Luis and his family, the people with whom she is staying. As the narrative progresses, Marisol learns secrets her grandmother hid all her life and I love the parallels drawn between Elisa and Marisol. At turns profound and others chilling, this was an all around excellent read. Cuba is a country of contrasts. On one hand, its romantic and beautiful. On the other, its riddled with an ongoing struggle and pain. Cleeton blended the historical aspect with that of Marisol & Elisa masterfully (Cleeton drew inspiration from her personal family history). This book is a love story in more ways than one. The whole narrative is a love letter to Cuba. How their people love their island despite all the pain is has (and continues to) endure. That, for me, is the strongest aspect of the novel. Without a doubt, this book is going to stick with me for a while. Resonant, impactful, beautiful and touching, this is one book I would recommend to everyone.
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  • Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    The Perez girls were the talk of the town for many reasons.The day they had to leave Cuba was not pleasant but a necessary event.We meet the girls when their family was prosperous and in power, and then we move to when the granddaughter of Elisa Perez, Marisol, comes back to Havana as a grown woman and a journalist to find a place to spread her grandmother’s ashes in her beloved Cuba.What her granddaughter finds is a box that her grandmother had buried and was told to keep for Marisol. What Mar The Perez girls were the talk of the town for many reasons.The day they had to leave Cuba was not pleasant but a necessary event.We meet the girls when their family was prosperous and in power, and then we move to when the granddaughter of Elisa Perez, Marisol, comes back to Havana as a grown woman and a journalist to find a place to spread her grandmother’s ashes in her beloved Cuba.What her granddaughter finds is a box that her grandmother had buried and was told to keep for Marisol. What Marisol finds inside the box is upsetting and reveals something no one ever knew or perhaps something Elisa never told anyone.Marisol is determined to find out more, but is warned about the danger of looking into someone's past.Ms. Chantell has a mesmerizing effect on you as you read about the adventures and lives of the Perez girls and of living in Cuba then and now.Her descriptions of the scenery, the kitchens, the food, and simply everything is detailed, beautiful, and exquisite.Let’s not forget that absolutely gorgeous cover, and remember that no book can be complete without a little bit of love and romance.The book was a lesson in the history of Cuba and its people. If you have an interest in the history of Cuba, NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA will be a book you won't want to miss. The secret that Marisol finds out about her grandmother is sweet but heartbreaking. ENJOY if you read NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA. 4/5This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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  •  Sonya ♕Chatterbooks book blog♕
    January 1, 1970
    “Next Year in Havana” is one of those historical fiction stories that will immediately take you back in time to experience EVERYTHING all over again. Pain, loss, fear, anguish, and joy for the unknown is what will keep you wanting to know more. Told from dual pov’s between 1958 and 2017 from two family members, this was the story of one family’s turmoil and heartbreak and how they survived life after being exiled from Cuba. Now that decades have passed, one granddaughter is making it her mi “Next Year in Havana” is one of those historical fiction stories that will immediately take you back in time to experience EVERYTHING all over again. Pain, loss, fear, anguish, and joy for the unknown is what will keep you wanting to know more. Told from dual pov’s between 1958 and 2017 from two family members, this was the story of one family’s turmoil and heartbreak and how they survived life after being exiled from Cuba. Now that decades have passed, one granddaughter is making it her mission to abide by her grandmother’s wish to go back to Cuba and spread her ashes over the land that she loved and called home. But what Marisol was not expecting was to uncover a trail of secrets left by her family after their departure. With a country like Cuba that was so restricted and run by a political force, you couldn’t help but to be sucked in to everything that was going on around you. It was a tragedy in a sense and at times it all became too much while reading this but then I thought to myself, if I’m reading a story like this, can you imagine what it was like to LIVE through it? “Loyalty is a complicated thing-where does family fit in the hierarchy?Above or below country? Above or below the natural order of things? Or are we above all else loyal to ourselves, to our hearts, our convictions, the internal voice that guides us? This was a completely different read for me and to say that this book me out of my comfort zone, I mean it. From every shocking moment to the touch of forbidden love, and the poignant ending, I think this story will stay with you. It certainly did for me.    
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  • Carlene Inspired
    January 1, 1970
    Oh my, it is impossible to give this book the proper review it deserves. I can't summarize it in a way that shows you just how wonderful this book was to read, you just have to read it yourself. Next Year in Havana is a beautiful, heart wrenching tale that brings Cuba and its inhabitants, and exiles, to life. It's one of the best Historical Fictions I have read in a very long time, with incredible, descriptive writing and a story that pulled so much emotion from me. I found myself entranced, enj Oh my, it is impossible to give this book the proper review it deserves. I can't summarize it in a way that shows you just how wonderful this book was to read, you just have to read it yourself. Next Year in Havana is a beautiful, heart wrenching tale that brings Cuba and its inhabitants, and exiles, to life. It's one of the best Historical Fictions I have read in a very long time, with incredible, descriptive writing and a story that pulled so much emotion from me. I found myself entranced, enjoying the opulence of upper-class life with Elisa Perez as Chanel Cleeton took us back in time to 1959 and the magical, but increasingly dangerous streets of Havana. Told from the dual perspectives of Elisa in the past and her great-granddaughter, Marisol, in the present, readers get to visit the city frozen in time. It's about love, passion, history, freedom, and patriotism. "I can't do this. I can't leave. I can't stay."Elisa and Marisol's time in Cuba mirror one anothers, with Marisol learning far more about the woman she called grandmother while on the streets she once roamed. I really appreciated how similar Elisa and Marisol were, yet their differences were distinct and profound when you consider the locations and politics that each grew up in. They each are strong, stubborn women who yearn for knowledge and adventure that their families do not understand. Marisol's knowledge of Cuba is from romantic stories of the past, an impossible dream that reality could never live up to, and so similar to the viewpoint that many young Americans still have. Her view is changed as she sees Cuba as it is today, crumbling, but still sparkling and strong. Elisa's view is from the viewpoint of a woman on the cusp of true adulthood, her place in the world not meant for politics and social injustice, but her love of a passionate, educated man challenges that. "These are the stories of my childhood come to life, the spirit of my grandmother, my family, our legacy, everywhere i turn."Chanel Cleeton details the pre-revolution change and present day regime with extensive detail, bringing emotion and personal feelings into a story we only know from the pages of history books. Both secondary male characters, Pablo and Luis, open up the main character's eyes, their quiet insubordination and challenge of the power exerted on them shaking up the comfort each has had in their unenlightened lives. There is so much grace in how Elisa and Marisol accept the difficulties presented to them, with Elisa embracing the struggles of exile and Marisol adopting the same courage many Cubans do with seeking and sharing the realities and truths of life in Cuba. Then there's the many secondary characters, beginning with Ana and growing increasingly more interesting with each interaction with the people of Elisa's past, like Magda, and the new people in Marisol's present, like Luis, Cristina, and even her great-aunt Beatriz. Each shares their view on Cuba as it was and is today, their stories shaping Marisol and bringing her even closer to her grandmother and to the country that feels like home."It's raucous and beautiful, and more than anything, I want to belong here, want this city to become a part of me."Next Year in Havana was such a powerful story for me, with Cuba coming to life with Chanel Cleeton's imagery and the detail given to the injustices of life there so evocative. The novel came across as very authentic, with two equally important plots, the romance of the characters and the romance between the country and its people. I was so overcome with emotion, I cried at times that weren't truly sad moments in the story, but rather tugged at my heart as I pictured Cuba and its resilient people. It took this book from a historical romance to a literary masterpiece, the pages filled with culture and people devoted to a country that has let it down.“ ‘Next Year in Havana. It’s the toast we never stop saying, because the dream of it never comes true.’ ”Next Year in Havana is a romantic, hopeful story with well-developed characters whose adventures parallel one another in past and present Cuba. I really fell in love with this novel and have so much compassion for the characters. It's a thoughtful novel, poignant and very relevant to the times. Historical Fiction fans will fall in love with Next Year in Havana and Chanel Cleeton's lyrical prose. You'll find yourself wandering the streets of Havana, admiring the vintage cars and the bright colors, and you won't regret a moment spent living in this book. If you're a sentimental girl like me, grab a pack of tissues for when you start your journey.ARC provided.
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  • Suzanne Leopold
    January 1, 1970
    Marisol Ferrara was raised by her late grandmother, Elisa, who immigrated from Cuba in the 1950’s. Her grandmother’s dying wish was to have her ashes scattered in her native Havana. Marisol works as a freelance journalist in Miami and will use this opportunity to write a piece on tourism in Cuba. She embarks on this journey with the goal of finding a location with symbolic importance to her grandmother. Marisol arrives in Cuba and sets out to learn all that she can about her grandmother’s family Marisol Ferrara was raised by her late grandmother, Elisa, who immigrated from Cuba in the 1950’s. Her grandmother’s dying wish was to have her ashes scattered in her native Havana. Marisol works as a freelance journalist in Miami and will use this opportunity to write a piece on tourism in Cuba. She embarks on this journey with the goal of finding a location with symbolic importance to her grandmother. Marisol arrives in Cuba and sets out to learn all that she can about her grandmother’s family. She begins to trace Elisa’s life with help from her grandmother’s childhood friend. Ana gives her a box containing her grandmother's letters and this provides most of the clues to Elisa’s past. These include secret love letters detailing her teenage romance with a young revolutionary. Marisol begins to appreciate the amazing life her grandmother lived and the sacrifices her family made to keep them together. This novel by Chanel Cleeton is one of my favorite reads over the last year. It is a very engaging story with a great mix of romance and history. I look forward to the sequel scheduled for 2019.
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  • Carole (Carole's Random Life in Books)
    January 1, 1970
    This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.This was such a lovely story! I have to admit that the beautiful cover of this book is what first caught my attention. Once I took a closer look, I decided to give it a try since the story sounded really interesting. The book ended up being more than interesting. I was swept away by the story and felt Cuba come alive within the pages. I am so glad that I decided to give this book a try.This story is told in two timelines. Marisol's s This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.This was such a lovely story! I have to admit that the beautiful cover of this book is what first caught my attention. Once I took a closer look, I decided to give it a try since the story sounded really interesting. The book ended up being more than interesting. I was swept away by the story and felt Cuba come alive within the pages. I am so glad that I decided to give this book a try.This story is told in two timelines. Marisol's story is set in 2017 shortly after her grandmother's death. She goes to Cuba to see the country where her grandmother grew up and find the right place to spread her ashes. Elisa is Marisol's grandmother. Her story is set in 1958 as Cuba is in crisis. I really enjoyed both of the timelines equally and loved how everything came together.I really liked the characters in this book. Elisa and her family were in a very difficult situation. The fact that Elisa and two of her sisters were young adults trying to find their place in the world only made things more difficult for them. Elisa was willing to following her emotions even when she knew it may not be the safe choice. I could really feel all of her struggle as she tries to figure out what to do.Marisol was very close to her grandmother and is eager to see the Cuba she has heard so much about. I liked Marisol right away. I liked how she took her responsibility to carry out her grandmother's wishes so seriously and wanted to learn more about her life in Cuba. I thought that all of the secondary characters were very well done in the story as well.I think that the setting of this book really helped it stand out. I have read very little of Cuba and am a bit ashamed by how little I really know of the country. I felt like Cuba came alive in the pages of this book. The setting really almost became a character in the book. The descriptions were so vivid that I really felt that I could close my eyes and see the things that the characters saw.The mystery of the story really kept my interest. I wanted to know what had happened to Elisa all those years ago and was eager to learn what Marisol would find. I was equally interested in seeing how the events in the book would impact Marisol's life. There were a few twists along the way and enough excitement to keep the pages turning.I would highly recommend this book to others. I thought that this book told a remarkable story that will stay with me for a long time. This was the first book by Chanel Cleeton that I have had the chance to read and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.I received an advance reader edition of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley.Initial ThoughtsThis really was a wonderful book. This is a story about family, hertiage, and love. It is told in two different time periods through the lives of Marisol and her grandmother, Elisa. I loved the way that this book brought Cuba to life along with the characters. The writing was just as beautiful as the cover of this delightful novel.
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  • Zoe
    January 1, 1970
    Atmospheric, absorbing, and incredibly heartfelt!Next Year in Havana is a riveting tale that sweeps you into a country ravished by rebellion, oppression, economic instability, and political upheaval, and a populace that's confused, disappointed, angry and struggling with self-identity, patriotism, and a lack of freedom and rights.The story is set in Cuba during both the late 1950s, as well as present day and is full of mystique, familial drama, heartbreak, secrets, deception, history, culture, c Atmospheric, absorbing, and incredibly heartfelt!Next Year in Havana is a riveting tale that sweeps you into a country ravished by rebellion, oppression, economic instability, and political upheaval, and a populace that's confused, disappointed, angry and struggling with self-identity, patriotism, and a lack of freedom and rights.The story is set in Cuba during both the late 1950s, as well as present day and is full of mystique, familial drama, heartbreak, secrets, deception, history, culture, courage, loss, self-discovery, hope, and romance.The prose is eloquent and vivid. The characters are multi-layered, sympathetic, and torn. And the plot is well crafted and uses a past/present style to unravel all the motivations, personalities, and relationships within it.Next Year in Havana is the perfect blend of historical facts, intriguing fiction, and palpable emotion. It's a beautifully written story that is nostalgic, heartbreaking, fascinating and sweet and highlights Cleeton's passion for her familial heritage.Thank you to Chanel Cleeton and Berkley Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.All my reviews can be found on my blog at https://whatsbetterthanbooks.com
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  • ♆Hayley
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 S T A R SIf I close my eyes, I can almost see it; if I look straight ahead, my gaze fixed on the point beyond the horizon, I imagine I do. There’s a girl in a white dress, strolling along the Malecón, a white silk rose clutched in her hand, her dark hair blowing in the breeze. And there’s a boy......He will kiss her and everything will change.This book broke my heart. I am deeply in love with it. Every time I think about it or try to talk about it I start to tear up. Seriously, go read this 4.5 S T A R SIf I close my eyes, I can almost see it; if I look straight ahead, my gaze fixed on the point beyond the horizon, I imagine I do. There’s a girl in a white dress, strolling along the Malecón, a white silk rose clutched in her hand, her dark hair blowing in the breeze. And there’s a boy......He will kiss her and everything will change.This book broke my heart. I am deeply in love with it. Every time I think about it or try to talk about it I start to tear up. Seriously, go read this book. It's breathtaking and beautiful and heart-wrenching. Next Year in Havana is a heartbreakingly beautiful story told through the eyes of two women (Marisol, 2017 and Elisa, 1958) who have a deep love and pride for Cuba and their Cuban heritage, and whose worlds are forever altered when they fall in love with revolutionaries. Through their love stories (spanning from pre-revolutionary Cuba to present day) Chanel Cleeton spins a captivating tale about Cuban history and politics, love and loss, family and loyalty, passion and revolution, but most of all - hope. We carry our home with us in our hearts, laden with hope. So much hope.Chanel Cleeton's writing is beautiful and with her words she paints a intoxicatingly vivid picture of Cuba pre and post revolution. I loved how rich this book is in Cuban history and politics, and the way Chanel Cleeton incorporated it into the story, into the every day lives of the characters, told through familial ties, friendship and love. How deeply the characters and the politics of their country were intertwined made it thrilling and addicting. It shames me to admit that going into this I didn't know much about Cuban history, about the strife, hardship, and bloodshed the Cuban people have gone through. The fear and injustice they live with every day. Elisa and Pablo's story stole my heart and brought tears to my eyes. They are from different worlds, Elisa is the daughter of a sugar baron and Pablo a revolutionary who is fighting alongside Castro, and yet they share the same passion and hopes for their country. I absolutely adored them both. There is something so hopelessly romantic about forbidden love: meeting under the darkness of night, exchanging love letters, and passionate declarations. Their romance read like a classic, with the colorful and lush backdrop of a Cuba on the verge of change, on the edge of revolution. I was swept away by their passion and love for their country and each other. Their story has buried itself in my heart and will stay with me for a very long time. Marisol was raised on stories of Cuba told to her by her grandmother, Elisa. When she comes to Cuba to spread her grandmother's ashes, she is forced to face the frightening reality of what it is like to live in present day Cuba, and she slowly begins to realize that the romanticized Cuba from her grandmother's stories does not exist. There is no home for us in a world where we can’t speak our minds for fear of being thrown in prison, where daring to dream is a criminal act, where you aren’t limited by your own ability and ambition, but instead by the whims of those who keep a tight rein on power.I really enjoyed Marisol's and Luis' story, but it didn't pull at my heart strings the way Elisa and Pablo's did. I'm going to be honest, I'm pretty sure it's because it felt too insta-lovey for me. Some people might call it a “whirlwind romance” but I’m calling it what it I, insta-love. I was invested in them both as characters and I loved them and the idea of them, their passion and beliefs, I just wasn't head over heels for their love. Falling in love with someone in less than a week is a hard sell. I wish I could have been more emotionally invested in their story, I feel like it would have made the sorrow I feel for other aspects of the book more bearable. This definitely would have been a 5 star read if Cleeton had spent a little more time developing Marisol and Luis' romance. I listened to the audiobook which I thought was fantastic, though I did think Elisa's narrator read a little melodramatic at times. They did a great job distinguishing the voices of different characters and the men sounded like men without it sounding like the narrators were tiring too hard. I saw some people complain about how the narrator's pronounced certain words in Spanish, but I felt it helped to really connect with the places and people. This is the first time that I found listening to the audio a little bit tortuous. I usually listen in the morning when I'm cooking, while I'm cleaning, etc, and it's enough. With Next Year in Havana I found myself listening whenever possible and was tempted to buy the book because I needed to know what happened. Next Year in Havana is a powerful, thrilling and beautiful novel about the pride and history of Cuba told through a language that everyone understands - love. Next year in Havana. It's the toast we never stop saying, because the dream of it never comes true. And if it does one day,What then?
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  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    ARC provided by Berkley in exchange for an honest review.If you would have told little kid bookworm Melanie that Berkley would one day send her a book because it’s July’s pick for Reese Witherspoon’s future book club, she would not have believed you. (And probably ran, because I was a paranoid kid and I would have thought you were a kidnapper, but still!) 💕Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Youtube | Twitch
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  • Hollis
    January 1, 1970
    There's a violence to our history that gets lost somewhere in the telling, buried beneath beautiful scenery, the deceptively blue sea and sky, the palm trees swaying placidly in the breeze. It's the sound of firing squads that echo in the wind.As a fan of Cleeton's light, yet angsty, funny and sexy air force series, I was looking forward to -- and greatly curious as to -- how she would tackle a heavier more historical family saga which was nothing like what she had offered us before. NEXT YEAR I There's a violence to our history that gets lost somewhere in the telling, buried beneath beautiful scenery, the deceptively blue sea and sky, the palm trees swaying placidly in the breeze. It's the sound of firing squads that echo in the wind.As a fan of Cleeton's light, yet angsty, funny and sexy air force series, I was looking forward to -- and greatly curious as to -- how she would tackle a heavier more historical family saga which was nothing like what she had offered us before. NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA was so much more than I thought it would be and nothing like I expected. To be in exile is to have the things you love most in the world -- the air you breathe, the earth you walk upon -- taken from you.First of all, I have to bring attention to the best part : the author's writing. Cleeton's narrative is romantic, stark, hopeful, and devastating. Her prose is stunning and jawdropping, lyrical and brutal, and I was honestly blown away by some of the passages I encountered. Some needed to be read more than once and I was still left in awe. It's impossible to stand near the flame consuming everything around you and not have some of that fire catch the hem of your skirt, too.The history is the main focus of this story. The politics, the social climate of Cuba, the struggles and losses, the revolutions, the dreams of a better future even after countless broken promises.. it is so very real. This is the heart of Cleeton's novel. This is the novel. There is romance woven through, two different ones, separated by sixty years, and yet the love story feels stronger between the Cuban people and their country than it did the characters; at least in the case of the contemporary couple."I wish there wasn't such a sharp divide between those who have everything and those who simply yearn for a chance at more."I definitely felt more of a connection with Elisa's storyline -- one of four daughters of a wealthy and respected sugar baron -- in the '50s than I did with Marisol, Elisa's granddaughter who is journeying back to Cuba to scatter Elisa's ashes, in 2017. While there was hardly a moment that wasn't tied up in politics and history, I felt it overshadowed the present day story and timeline and made the romance between Marisol and Luis during their whirlwind adventures together even less believable. I understand the need for the history lesson, the politics, but it started to feel a little less like discussion and more like a textbook. But every moment with Elisa, her sisters, the whole dynamic, really moved me. Not to mention how her story ends.. It is a remarkably painful thing to have someone you care about and admire judge your existence, your very identity, the world you inhabit, and deem it rotten to the core.There were a few little throwaways near the end of the book that make me curious about a possible sequel/companion. It's probably way too early to be wondering about that as this book isn't even out yet, but I would be all over that. Beatriz was one of my favourite characters and I would absolutely love to hear her side of things and experience all the adventures she's surely had. Can you have a relationship where you exist in half measures, or does the very nature of love demand you throw yourself into it with gusto?I think a lot of fans of Cleeton's prior books will be really impressed with what she's offered here. And while I might have preferred more time spent on a more solid foundation for the romance and a teensy bit less rehashing of political debates, you can absolutely feel the love woven into the soul of this tale.3.75 "why do people always seize on the spark that can peter out as the measure of a relationship" stars** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **
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  • Cora ☕ Tea Party Princess
    January 1, 1970
    5 Words: Family, love, friendship, loyalty, memories.I am going to try to keep this spoiler free, so it will be brief. But go buy this book.Next Year in Havana is the loveliest blend of past and present. It is written beautifully, rich with imagery. The little details really make the settings come to life, whether it's Cuba during the revolution or in the present day. I loved how the story was split, how secrets were revealed.I loved the exploration of family and friendship and loyalty. The inte 5 Words: Family, love, friendship, loyalty, memories.I am going to try to keep this spoiler free, so it will be brief. But go buy this book.Next Year in Havana is the loveliest blend of past and present. It is written beautifully, rich with imagery. The little details really make the settings come to life, whether it's Cuba during the revolution or in the present day. I loved how the story was split, how secrets were revealed.I loved the exploration of family and friendship and loyalty. The intense politics surrounding everything made everything instantly more dramatic (in the best way). There's a touch of the forbidden to the romances that makes them all the more enticing.There was something about this book that seemed to heighten my emotions. I felt more when I read it, I felt deeper and more profoundly. I think it's a combination of the writing, the setting and the characters, all coming together.Honestly, this book is amazing. It was absolutely wonderful. There are glowing reviews everywhere and it deserves them.
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  • Eliza
    January 1, 1970
    ★4.5 STARS★Although born in America, Cuba has always been at the heart of Marisol Ferrera’s upbringing. Regaled with tales of its complex and rich history, her grandmother has always instilled a sense of pride in her. It’s through the loss of her Grandmother that Marisol embarks on her first visit to Cuba. Professionally she is there to write a tourism piece, but most profoundly she is there to fulfil her grandmother’s wishes of having her ashes scattered there.During her time in Cuba Marisol ★4.5 STARS★Although born in America, Cuba has always been at the heart of Marisol Ferrera’s upbringing. Regaled with tales of its complex and rich history, her grandmother has always instilled a sense of pride in her. It’s through the loss of her Grandmother that Marisol embarks on her first visit to Cuba. Professionally she is there to write a tourism piece, but most profoundly she is there to fulfil her grandmother’s wishes of having her ashes scattered there.During her time in Cuba Marisol visits the places her grandmother spoke about, as well connecting with people who knew her best. It’s through these connections Marisol discovers some secrets that are as dangerous today as they were back then.The beauty of this story is that we not only get Marisol’s story but her grandmother Elisa’s, too. Very much alike in character, it’s a wonder to see the parallels in journeys their lives take. NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA is a triumph and testament to Chanel Cleeton’s outstanding abilities as a writer. So beautifully written the novel is steeped in the history and vibrancy of Cuba. Much like an artist Cleeton paints a glorious picture which is enriched by her style and imagery. The heaviness of politics is balanced by the delicate relationships between family, and the hope that blooms with tentativeness of romantic ones. It was first time reading a Historical Fiction by Chanel, and with the excitement that Beatriz will be getting her own novel also, it will also not be the last.  
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  • Mg ♥ The Bookishmedialite
    January 1, 1970
    "I've fallen in love with a revolutionary." or two...Two couples.Two different times.One revolution.ALL THE FUCKING FEELINGS!!!Every now and again a book completely takes you by surprise. Next Year in Havana is one of those books. I have read and loved some of Chanel's books, but none of them has made me feel the way this book did. One moment I was on my couch reading, and the next one I was in Havana eating, breathing, and living this story. The first chapters got me hooked instantly, but Ch "I've fallen in love with a revolutionary." or two...Two couples.Two different times.One revolution.ALL THE FUCKING FEELINGS!!!Every now and again a book completely takes you by surprise. Next Year in Havana is one of those books. I have read and loved some of Chanel's books, but none of them has made me feel the way this book did. One moment I was on my couch reading, and the next one I was in Havana eating, breathing, and living this story. The first chapters got me hooked instantly, but Chanel seemed to be going for my heart. And she definitely got it. "I can't imagine him in my world, and I certainly don't belong in his. Where does that leave us?" The bittersweet journey these two couples travel is a total experience. This is the kind of book that will make your heart ache, but at the same time, it will fill it with so much love and hope. This book, in a word: POWERFUL. "It's as though Cuba has awoken something in me, and I can't–don't want to–shut it off." Without divulging too much, Next Year in Havana is a story that explores a lot of themes, it goes from love to revolution, from family loyalty to secrets. It's definitely so much more than just a romantic Cuban experience. This is the kind of love story where hope prevails and words linger, long after the final page. With a breathtaking prose, endearing characters, and a poignant story, Next Year in Havana is not only my favorite book by Chanel Cleeton, it's one of my favorite reads of 2018. "You never know what's to come. That's the beauty of life. If everything happened the way we wished, the way we planned, we'd miss out on the best parts, the unexpected pleasures." You can find me here: INSTAGRAM
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  • Sophia
    January 1, 1970
    Already familiar with this author's work in her contemporary military romance trilogy, I was intrigued by this latest project with its blend of historical fiction, women's fiction, and star-crossed romance. With a setting like modern Cuba and the Cuba of the late fifties, I was well aware this would be a bittersweet story to savor.Next Year in Havana tells the tale of Elisa Perez in the waning years of 1950's Cuba and of her granddaughter, Marisol Ferrara in the present day. Their stories are to Already familiar with this author's work in her contemporary military romance trilogy, I was intrigued by this latest project with its blend of historical fiction, women's fiction, and star-crossed romance. With a setting like modern Cuba and the Cuba of the late fifties, I was well aware this would be a bittersweet story to savor.Next Year in Havana tells the tale of Elisa Perez in the waning years of 1950's Cuba and of her granddaughter, Marisol Ferrara in the present day. Their stories are told in first person point of view as the book flips back and forth between them. Elisa's story pulled me in more deeply, I admit. I think it was the danger of living daily with a revolution coming closer and closer and Elisa's family being on the wrong side of the wave's swell. During this time, she falls in love and with someone she should not. Pablo is a revolutionary and holds with ideology that she does not share and she definitely doesn't hold with the extreme ways the revolutionaries are willing to get what they want. And yet, they are in love in the stormy last days of Batista's corrupt government, the strengthening angry sounds and voices of revolution, and talk of her family fleeing to America. And, paralleling Elisa's story is Marisol seeing the result of Castro's revolution, the deprivations and fear most Cubans live with even after Castro's death, and her own first real encounter with love while she is following the trail of her grandmother's past. Marisol's story is gentler and more introspective. I liked it, but was not exactly riveted until after the half-way point when the twists happened and things got a whole lot more exciting for her.The historical and cultural setting along with the way the characters fit in these settings seemed quite authentic to me. It was my first real encounter with a book centered in Cuba and about Cubans and Cuban Americans. I felt it was balanced in how it looks on the present and the past by offering up more than one outlook which is my favorite way to experience historical fiction. It is a complex situation and not to be treated in stark black and white just as the characters were thinking and take actions that were not simple.There is romance- glorious, painful circumspect romance for both women. Both were a first encounter attraction. Elisa's was a gradual build to love after several fleeting encounters. Marisol fell hard and fast. I bought it because I think their family connections, her reason for the visit and similar interests made the quick transition to love easier to believe. I also think it all worked because in my mind, Marisol's romance with Luis was the second chance that her grandmother and Pablo never got.Though this was a bittersweet romantic story, I feel that the reader should think of it more along the lines of historical and modern women's fiction. It's the story of Cuba told from the lives of the cast of characters. It is introspective and thoughtful with a few moments of suspense. Its about discovery and growth. I felt this book's impact from page one. I was touched emotionally, but also it appealed to my mind. It's a book that will challenge its readers, but also deliver a beautiful story. I think historical fiction fans and those who enjoy reading about other people and cultures and times with a good dose of romance are the best matches.My thanks to Penguin-Random House for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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