ARC Review | Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
Historical Fiction
Publication Date | February 6th, 2018
ARC provided by the publisher


Book Blurb:

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.

| Book Review |

This is going to be a hard review to write, because no matter what words I use to try and convey my love for this story, I’m going to fall short. Reading Next Year in Havana was like being hit with a ton of bricks. The description of not only the setting, but the emotions, gripped me from the beginning. It was brimming with history and intrigue, and I knew from the very first page I was going to love this book. I just didn’t know how much. I’m not going to go into too much detail in this review, because there are so many things that could be spoilers, and I think it’s imperative readers discover things for themselves.

The writing in this story was absolutely gorgeous. Every single word on these pages was given careful consideration, and it’s clear the author poured her heart and soul into this story. The amount of research that had to have gone into writing this book is astounding. I loved the way it flipped back and forth between the past and the present. I was equally invested in both stories, and the way Marisol was unknowingly following in Elisa’s footsteps was brilliant. There were so many surprises, and while I saw a few of them coming, they didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story. I swear I was on the edge of my seat throughout the entire book. I never stopped waiting for the other shoe to drop; I just didn’t realize that I should have been waiting on both timelines. The exploration of blood vs. country was so well done here, the push and pull so tangible. The decisions made and the events that unfolded were heartbreaking, but I loved the way things came full circle at the end of this story. I was so mad at Cuba, and frustrated that she was so beloved by her people despite their devastation. Things felt hopeless to me as the reader, yet there was hopefulness among some of the citizens – ones still there, and ones who’d left, making the significance of the title of the book so sad. The romance in this story was so well written and perfectly timed, and if you’re a fan of slow burn, you’re going to love it.

There were four sisters in the timeline from the past, and I think we’ll be getting all of their stories – the oldest three at least. Beatriz is next, and I can’t wait to discover her past. She was so intriguing, and there was one hell of a line she delivered in this story that left me needing her story immediately!

It’s obvious I loved Next Year in Havana, and whether you’re a fan of romance or intrigue, historical fiction or contemporary, I think you will, too. There’s no one I wouldn’t recommend this book to.

The cover of this book may be stunning, but it’s nothing compared to the pages beneath.

| Rating |

| Some of My Favorite Lines |

Love is for the poor. In our world, you marry for status, for weath, for family.


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.


Havana lends itself to the romantic and idyllic even as the evidence to the contrary is everywhere I look. Perhaps that’s the double-edged sword to being Cuban – we are both pragmatic realists and consummate dreamers.


The line between hero and villain is a precariously fragile one.

6 thoughts on “ARC Review | Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

Add yours

  1. Well, I felt the same way about not quite knowing what to say. 🙂 You expressed yourself fabulously, Angie. 🙂

    Oh, and I had no idea this was a series so now I’m tickled to death b/c yes, that zinger from Beatriz was electrifying. 🙂


  2. I am reading this one right now and agree that it is a great story. I can’t wait to see how everything turns out. I am so glad that you enjoyed this one as much as you did.


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