A HELLO SUNSHINE x REESE WITHERSPOON BOOK CLUB PICK
“A beautiful novel that's full of forbidden passions, family secrets and a lot of courage and sacrifice.”—Reese Witherspoon
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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Two women struggle with love and identity in Chanel Cleeton's impassioned, subtly political historical romance. With careful attention to cultural detail, Cleeton skillfully evokes the atmospheres of both pre-Castro Cuba—where teenage Elisa is the daughter of a sugar baron—and the modern island nation that Elisa's American granddaughter, Marisol, visits in 2017 after her grandmother’s death. Separated by time but united by family bonds, each of Cleeton’s heroines gets involved in a romantic affair that leads to an unexpected social awakening. This balances the novel’s sweet, emotional lyricism with a bracing sense of real-world consequences.
What incredible imagery this author created. I was just a few chapters in and already had the urge to google Havana, Cuba trying to find the homes being described in 1958. This was a very unique book for me. Full of Cuban politics and flashing back and forth in time between two couples. One in 1958 and one in present time. Elisa and Pablo. Marisol and Luis. Grandmother and granddaughter. Their lives so different but so similar when they meet the love of their life. I can't get over how the author was able to bring both their stories to life in the way that she did. The struggles in Cuba that just seems so helpless in both times. The type of men they both fell in love with and their struggle with doing right by their country over personal wants. This book was more than a romance book. It was also a history lesson, a cultural lesson through the eyes of two very strong women and their men. Don't judge me but I'm not a fan of politics or history so the fact that the author had me mesmerized is no small feat. This book did not end on a cliffhanger but I also felt it wasn't over. I'm hoping this means she plans to write more. ARC provided by NetGalley.
Next Year in Havana
Such a profoundly moving account of Cuba, then and now, of the love and hate, the faith and hope, the broken promises and broken hearts of all who lived and loved there. An open window into a place most of us can never go.
Definitely didn’t live up to my expectations.