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The Last Train to Key West Summary and Reviews

The Last Train to Key West

by Chanel Cleeton

The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton X
The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton
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  • Publishes in USA 
    Jun 16, 2020
    320 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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About this book

Book Summary

In 1935 three women are forever changed when one of the most powerful hurricanes in history barrels toward the Florida Keys.

For the tourists traveling on Henry Flagler's legendary Overseas Railroad, Labor Day weekend is an opportunity to forget the economic depression gripping the nation. But one person's paradise can be another's prison, and Key West-native Helen Berner yearns to escape.

After the Cuban Revolution of 1933 leaves Mirta Perez's family in a precarious position, she agrees to an arranged marriage with a notorious American. Following her wedding in Havana, Mirta arrives in the Keys on her honeymoon. While she can't deny the growing attraction to her new husband, his illicit business interests may threaten not only her relationship, but her life.

Elizabeth Preston's trip to Key West is a chance to save her once-wealthy family from their troubles after the Wall Street crash. Her quest takes her to the camps occupied by veterans of the Great War and pairs her with an unlikely ally on a treacherous hunt of his own.

Over the course of the holiday weekend, the women's paths cross unexpectedly, and the danger swirling around them is matched only by the terrifying force of the deadly storm threatening the Keys.

Paperback original

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Reviews

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Reader Reviews

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Chris D.

Last Train to Key West
This is the third book by Chanel Cleeton that I have read, and I have enjoyed all of them. Each time I have felt that I am learning something about history at the same time that I am enjoying a great read about people that I would like to know. Her characters are well developed and believable. I look forward to reading and enjoying many more of her books.

Kimberly A. (Hannibal, MO)

Don't Miss This One!
I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Last Train to Key West. The plot is imaginative and focused, moving at a deliberate pace that holds the reader's attention. I was involved from page one with the multiple and compelling characters and conflicts. The characters are well-developed, intriguing and believable--they are "real," and I cared about them and how the resolution would affect them. I applaud the author's skill as she effectively and skillfully manages three unique and distinctive narrators in alternating chapters. Thank you for the opportunity to read The Last Train to Key West. I have already recommended it as a "Don't Miss This One" to other readers.

Barbara B. (Bradenton, FL)

The Last train to Key West
I have been a fan of Chanel Cleeton since reading Next Year In Havana and When We Left Cuba. This book was even better than I had hoped. Being a Florida resident I have been thru several hurricanes and the description of this one took me straight back to those days. Each of the three women's story was a story in it's self but was drawn together in an excellent way. I can only say read this book! You won't be sorry!

Elizabeth L. (Langhorne, PA)

The Perfect Escape!
The Last Train to Key West was a joy to read from start to finish. I loved the author's choice to tell the story from the viewpoint of each of the three women lead characters.Each woman was unique and fully developed. Her style was easy to read and full of vivid details. Having visited Key West recently, I was immediately intrigued with the setting and the topic of the 1935 hurricane. The description of the devastation was spot on and truly disturbing.The way that the women's emotions were expressed on the page and their lives became interwoven by the end of the story was sweetly unpredictable. This is a wonderful escape novel for any woman.

Susan M. (Red Wing, MN)

Romance and disaster
A love story, a mystery-suspense, and a (an) historical novel all wrapped around each other. The author intertwines her character's lives among stories of disaster and romance. The characters, vivid and well developed, move forward with their stories amid an underlying tension that is intensified by the impending storm. I first wanted to read this book because of the setting, I wasn't disappointed. The rich backdrop of the Florida Keys adds another interesting layer to this already intriguing novel. Book groups would find lots to talk about.

RoseMarie G. (Lewes, DE)

Last Train to Key West
I am a big fan of historical fiction novels. And I've been to Key West several times and loved the quirky lifestyle. Best of both worlds!
It is a story of 3 women, from very different backgrounds, whose lives intersect during a very dangerous hurricane over Labor Day weekend in 1935.
Ruby, a waitress at a local KW coffee shop, is about to have a baby. Her husband, a fisherman, likes to smack her around.
Mirta, a Cuban from a once very wealthy family, is on her honeymoon with a man she barely knows.
Elizabeth, looking for her brother who never returned after WWI, and running away from her gangster fiance.

The women's paths cross unexpectedly during the worst storm to hit the Keys.

It kept me guessing until the very end. I really enjoyed reading this book.

...11 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Chanel Cleeton Author Biography

Photo: Chris Malpass

Chanel Cleeton is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of When We Left Cuba and the Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick Next Year in Havana. Originally from Florida, she grew up on stories of her family's exodus from Cuba following the events of the Cuban Revolution. Her passion for politics and history continued during her years spent studying in England where she earned a bachelor's degree in international relations from Richmond, the American International University in London, and a master's degree in global politics from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Chanel also received her Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law. She loves to travel and has lived in the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia.

Link to Chanel Cleeton's Website

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  • Next Year in Havana jacket
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