Cuba is one of those places that has always been a mystery to most of us, namely because of the embargo and the tenuous relations between our countries. It’s a place I have always been drawn to, perhaps because of the mystery surrounding it and because people describe it as a place stuck in time. As a history lover and a nerd, that’s the closest to time travel I’ll ever experience, so my curiosity is piqued, to say the least. As it happens, when I heard about this book last year, I was excited. I wanted to read it and I was determined that I would. I was not at all disappointed.
The story begins with the Perez family leaving their beloved home. They’re a wealthy family, one whose daughters have been well protected by the unrest that had begun to encircle them. Once Fidel took over, the life of privilege and shelter is ended. Yet we are instantly shown that this is a family who refuses to be seen as weak. Heads held high, best clothes on, the family boards a plane and begins their journey away from home. No one really knows what’s next. There is a dual timeline, one that introduces us to Marisol, Elisa Perez’s granddaughter, who is heading to Cuba to bring Elisa home finally. The trip is emotional for Marisol given her closeness to her grandmother.
It’s also one that will introduce a secret to Marisol, one that will tell her about her
grandmother and Cuba; how they’re inextricably bound and its effect on the young woman herself. The trip will change Marisol’s life forever, but will she be brave enough to chase a happy ending? Or will she leave the land she feels speaks to her soul and heart?
Firstly, I love how Ms. Cleeton blended the two timelines. It’s a skillful talent that some authors haven’t mastered; some aren’t able to make the change between timelines blend cohesively, leaving you to wonder, “what do these have to do with one another?” This is not one of those books. This is a book where the author has clearly done her homework and put her heart and soul into. It’s a story close to her heart, given that her own family emigrated in the 1960s. Secondly, there is history given! I love history and I felt the romance aspect took a slight backseat to the historical part. You don’t lose anything by that, I promise. You’ll be just as drawn in.
The story is strong and you’ll feel like you’re in Havana too. Ms. Cleeton has a masterful command of language and knowledge, tying both of those skills into a lush, delectable
story that will leave you wanting more–which is good since next year, she’ll have another book out featuring Beatriz, Elisa’s sister. (Link to the Goodreads page below!) The sights, the smells, the taste..the spirit. All seemingly reach out from the pages, drawing you in.
An evocative and beautiful story, you’ll be swept away, just as I was. I absolutely cannot wait for Ms. Cleeton’s next book. This will almost certainly be a book that you’ll want to read over and over.
I’d give it ★★★★★ stars.
- I received a copy of this in exchange for my honest review. Thank you! ❤
- I would (and have!) recommend this to a friend.