A beautifully written multi-layered story of a Cuban family exiled from both the land and the people they loved.
Havana, 1958. The daughter of a sugar baron, 19-year-old Elisa Perez is part of Cuba’s high society, where she is largely sheltered from the countries 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 Cuba with her family during the revolution. Elise’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 Cubans tropical timeless beauty and it’s peerless political climate.
When more family history comes to live in Marisol finds herself attracted to a man with secrets of his own, she needs the lessons of her grandmothers past to help her understand the true meaning of courage.
“To be in exile is to have the things you love the most in the world — the air you breathe, the earth you walk upon —taken from you. They exist on the other side of the wall—there and not—unadulterated by time and circumstance, preserved in a perfect memory in a land of dreams.”
“Havana is like a woman who was grand once and has fallen on hard times, and yet hints for her former brilliance remain, traces of an era since passed, a photograph faded by time and circumstance, it’s edges crumbling to dust.”
Next Year in Havana is a passionate story of both romance and revolution. It’s about both the beauty as well as the tragedy of a country ripped apart by war. It’s about the daily struggles as well as the heart-wrenching family decisions which must be made in times of war. And it’s about the courage it takes to fight political injustice and the consequences that result. You can’t help but become mesmerized by the story because, despite being fiction it’s so real.
Chanel Cleeton skillfully transports us to the street of Havana both before and after the revolution. She has perfectly blended the setting, the characters and the story. It a book that evokes emotion and provides historical perspective. Cleeton knows of what she writes. She like Marisol, grew up in Florida on the stories of her family’s exodus from Cuba following the events of the Cuban Revolution. She loves to travel and has lived in the Caribbean, Europe and Asia.
“Loyalty is a complicated thing—where does family fit in on 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?”
Published February 6, 2018
Narrator Kyla Garcia, Frankie Maria Corzo