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When Isabel Perez travels to Barcelona to save her sister Beatriz, she discovers a shocking family secret in New York Times bestselling author Chanel Cleeton’s new novel.
Barcelona, 1964. Exiled from Cuba after the revolution, Isabel Perez has learned to guard her heart and protect her family at all costs. After Isabel’s sister Beatriz disappears in Barcelona, Isabel goes to Spain in search of her. Joining forces with an unlikely ally thrusts Isabel into her sister’s dangerous world of espionage, but it’s an unearthed piece of family history that transforms Isabel’s life.
Barcelona, 1936. Alicia Perez arrives in Barcelona after a difficult voyage from Cuba, her marriage in jeopardy and her young daughter Isabel in tow. Violence brews in Spain, the country on the brink of civil war, the rise of fascism threatening the world. When Cubans journey to Spain to join the International Brigades, Alicia’s past comes back to haunt her as she is unexpectedly reunited with the man who once held her heart.
Alicia and Isabel’s lives intertwine, and the past and present collide, as a mother and daughter are forced to choose between their family’s expectations and following their hearts.
In this engrossing saga, Cleeton picks up the story of the Perez family from When We Left Cuba, following their exile in Florida after Castro's revolution. The eldest daughter, Isabel, 28, travels to Barcelona in 1964, worried that her sister Beatriz's job at the U.S. consulate there, a cover for CIA-supported anti-Castro work, has put her in danger. In Beatriz's apartment, Isabel discovers an old photo of herself as a toddler taken in Barcelona with her mother, Alicia, and an unknown man. Cleeton then shifts back to 1936, with Alicia taking Isabel to visit her parents in Spain after learning of her husband Emilio's infidelities. Alicia reconnects with Nestor, a doctor she had a crush on when they were both students. They fall in love while Alicia tries to help her unmarried pregnant sister, Consuela, keep her baby. Back in 1964, Isabel falls in love with Beatriz's friend, Diego, whom she later suspects is working for the CIA. There are satisfying endings for mother and daughter, with an unexpected revelation of how Alicia's choice made Isabel's possible a generation later. Cleeton's complex female characters and evocative settings, spiced with a dollop of political drama, make this a pleasing outing. Agent: Kevan Lyon, Marshall Lyon Literary.