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When We Left Cuba

by Chanel Cleeton

When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton X
When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2019
    368 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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  • Carol P. (Tuscaloosa, AL)


    First rate page turner
    "When We Left Cuba: A Novel" is an excellent companion piece to Chanel Cleeton's previous novel, "Next Year in Havana", although it easily stands alone. The first person narrator, Beatriz, is embroiled in the emotions and politics of wealthy Palm Beach Cubans in 1960 who have been forced to leave everything behind in Havana, including the grave of her beloved twin brother, a casualty of Castro's revolution. The story offers an accurate and nuanced description of the political and social passions at work, interwoven with a compelling romance. Rich material for numerous discussions by a book group!

    As a reader who enjoys strong women characters – bright, determined, not a victim or damsel in distress – Beatriz resonated and held my respect and interest. Cleeton's writing is well-paced, producing a first rate page turner. This is no mean feat, given that the broad outlines of history are well known. I enjoyed every page and will recommend it to my friends who love an unusual and unpredictable reading adventure.
  • Susan B. (Hahira, GA)


    The 60s
    For those of us who grew up in the 60s in the days of Kennedy, Khrushchev, Batista, Che and Fidel this book will bring back many memories...For those of us who grew up in Miami or even the Northeast, where many flew to avoid the wrath of the revolution, this will bring back many memories.

    Ms. Cleeton introduced readers to the Perez family in Next Year in Havana and now tells the tale of another of the daughters and the family's secrets. The intrigues of the revolution and those that were disappointed by it and how they were used by others with different agendas are illustrated with a depth of understanding that those that don't remember or never knew will find compelling.

    This is a wonderful book for a book club and I encourage others to read it.
  • Amy M. (Rawlins, WY)


    When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton
    I was excited to read this book. Thank you for allowing my to give a first impression. I love historical novels. I received this book before the holidays so it did take me a little time before I could read it. Once I started this book I found it hard to put down! I thought it was beautifully written I loved the characters especially Beatriz. I loved how strong she was and how dedicated she was to her family and her country. It did not end how I thought it would, but I loved it! I want to go back and read her first novel about this family. I am looking forward to having our book club read this novel when it is my turn to choose the book later this year.
  • LadyJ’s Bookish Nook


    Excellent Historical Fiction
    I am so glad I chose to review When We Left Cuba. This is my first read by author Chanel Cleeton, a USA Today bestselling author of Next Year in Havana. This is the second book to the series but is able to be read as a stand-alone.

    The protagonist is Beatriz Perez, a young Cuban exile who is now in Florida after losing her family, her people, and her country to the Cuban Revolution. Beatriz is set on revenge and ends up being recruited by the CIA to infiltrate Fidel Castro's inner circle.

    There are so many things I loved about this book. First the cover art was amazing. The protagonist was well-written. Beatriz is a strong and fearless character. The author obviously did her research to make the time period of 1960's Florida so realistic to the reader. I like reading historical fiction where I can learn about different places and times, so reading about the Cuban Revolution was enjoyable to me.

    The author's writing style kept me interested throughout and I especially loved the ending. Overall this book was excellent...an enjoyable suspenseful read mixed with a little romance and espionage. I highly recommend this to those who enjoy historical fiction and I can't wait to go back and read the first book in the series as well as any future installments. Thanks to BookBrowse, Berkley, and Chanel Cleeton for providing me with a print copy of this book to review.
  • John W. (Saint Louis, MO)


    Amazing Follow-up to Next Year in Havana
    If you enjoyed Next Year in Havana you'll want to check this one out. If not, this book can be read as a stand-alone, but the first book is so good that you really don't want to miss it. Unlike many other readers of both books, I'm not big into romance novels, but loved the author's detail description the period in these historical fiction books. It is a thought provoking read on many levels.

    This book begins after the Perez family was forced out of Cuba after Fidel Castro's took control of the government. Beatrix is still longing to return to Cuba and the life she loved. Unfortunately, like many of us she allows her emotions to make decisions that can have rather dire consequences. She believes Castro killed her twin brother and wants to avenge his death by becoming involved with the CIA. She agrees to work as a spy for the CIA and infiltrate Castro's inner circle. Once involved as a spy she learns there is a dirty side of politics on both sides of the conflict. As the Cold War continues, Beatrix must make a decision between her quest for revenge and her desire to spend her life with the man she loves.

    The main character is so well written that all of her actions fit in with her personality. The setting in Miami brings back memories of my visits to this beautiful city and allow me to image it during an earlier time.
  • Evelyn G. (Union, NJ)


    Life with Beatriz Perez
    I dearly enjoyed reading "When We Left Cuba" and all the exploits of the undaunted Latina spitfire, Beatriz Perez. Her adventures carry us accurately through historical passages such as the Bay of Pigs, Cuban Missile Crisis and Kennedy Assassination and I found myself quickly turning the pages and rooting Beatriz on through her escapades. A sizzling romance and tender love story add a softness to the fire of Ms. Perez. She rings so true in her love also for her lost Cuba and I found myself sympathizing with predicaments in a world she didn't want or ask for, but faces squarely up to when she is called to deal with it. I highly recommend this book for great book club reading.
  • Bridget C. (Devon, PA)


    When We Left Cuba
    The book got off to a slow start for me, but as the novel continued, the pace and complexity picked up. Initially it appeared to be a romance novel, but it was so much more. I enjoyed the development of Beatriz, the main character. While often conflicted, she kept true to her cause. A woman of extraordinary courage, she gave us a look at a very scary time in history. By telling a family's story we learned the history as well as the mood of that time. There were so many relationships and points of view to explore which made for a very good read. I thoroughly enjoyed it, I can't wait to go back and read Next Year in Havana.

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