Reader reviews and comments on Next Year in Havana, plus links to write your own review.

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Next Year in Havana

by Chanel Cleeton

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton X
Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
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    Feb 2018, 400 pages

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There are currently 23 reader reviews for Next Year in Havana
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Sandra B, (TX)

Enjoyed the Book
This book helped me learn more about Cuba and the hardships that were/are there and how the Cubans continue to enjoy life and continue to live in Cuba. They make the best of a difficult situation. I would recommend reading this book.
M.S.

Next Year in Havana
Next Year in Havana is not a book I usually read, but thanks to BookBrowse and its First Impressions, I'm glad this is the book I asked for. From the beginning of the book I was hooked by the way the author describes places, people, and all that is around the characters. I also enjoyed the changes in time between the two main characters. It was the years between the two that kept me interested and wanting to figure out what was happening next. It was a very enjoyable book and one that I highly recommend.
Elizabeth K. (Dallas, TX)

Intriguing story of Cuba - past and present
I really enjoyed the book, which moves back and forth between Marisol's visit to present-day Cuba and her grandmother Elisa's story of Cuba in the late 1950's when Fidel Castro came into power. The contrasts between past and present, between romanticized memories and stark realities, about families, love, and power, made me think about the story long after I finished it. I look forward to the next book by this author.
Mary D. (Claremont, CA)

Next Year in Havana
What first drew me to this book was the title, which is reminiscent of the comment "Next year in Jerusalem" which we Jews say at the end of the High Holy Days. Both phrases echo a desire to return to the homeland, the origin. I am glad that I was caught by the title.

Marisol Ferrera, a journalist, goes to Havana for two reasons: her cover as researching for a travel article, and to bring the ashes of her grandmother, Elisa, to be buried near what was the estate of her family, during the pre-Castro days. What follows is a time-journey between the two time periods, 60 years apart, showing the similarities between grandmother and granddaughter. What I really appreciated about this book was the historical research, the distinctions between pre- and post-revolution Cuba, the passionate love of country the Cuban people had and still have for their country.

This book is very well written, the characters are very well drawn, complex and sympathetic, full of life. The author's description of the country, the music, the food are very compelling. I am looking forward to the next book by this author, where she explores the same time period through the eyes of Marisol's great-aunt Beatriz, who is very different than her sister, Elisa.
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Wendy F. (Kalamazoo, MI)

Next Year in Havana
Absolutely loved this book. Chanel Cleeton helps us experience the rich heritage of Elisa Perez and her family. Elisa's granddaughter, Marisol Ferrera, discovers family secrets on her trip to Cuba to scatter her grandmother's ashes. Her journey is 'always a double edged sword, Keeping her close to me, but it also makes me feel her presence more acutely.' As Marisol finds out more about her family's history, she also finds her family's homeland draws her in despite the dangerous regime that is still in place. The difficult past continues to affect those who were born in the country as well as their descendants. 'What does it say about a place that people will risk certain death to leave it?' Marisol posits. But Cubans 'exist in a constant state of hope.' Ms. Cleeton's language is full of grace and beauty. Although there are parallel love stories, this is definitely not a 'romance novel' and the cover is a bit deceiving. It is a great historical tome that gives us a glimpse into loyalty and betrayal both. Beautifully written.
Shawna (TX)

Next Year, I want to go to Havana
Next Year in Havana is an engaging read for those who enjoy either historical or present day fiction. The stories of Elisa and Marisol are intertwined with events in Cuba leading to Fidel Castro coming to power and fifty years later the change to tourism policy. Chanel Cleeton's personal family history adds a rich depth to the story. It is easy to become immersed in the story with the vivid descriptions of the country, food, and its music. It is a book that needs an accompanying soundtrack to listen while reading. So many topics and themes to be discussed, that it would be a lively discussion in any group. And now Havana has moved higher up on my travel list.
John W. (Saint Louis, MO)

Swept Away by Next Year in Havana
Not my usual novel genre, but I am pleasantly surprised that I chose to read this book. Its one of those rare books that captures you in the opening pages and doesn't ever let you go. You could feel the author's passion for the subject matter.

I enjoyed how the author alternated between the late 1950's and now. Chanel brought added dimension to the story through her skillful weaving of Cuba's history throughout the storyline. Against this historical background she tells a wonderful story of family, love and relationships.

When Marisol's grandmother, Elisa, dies her last request was that Marisol return her ashes to Cuba. While Marisol considers herself to be Cuban she has never set foot on the island - upon her arrival she experiences a sense of homecoming. Marisol compares the Cuba she knows from her grandmother's stories with the Cuba she experiences while on the island. Her visit brings family secrets into the open and Marisol is forced to make a decision that will impact many people in her life.
Chris, Wisconsin

A Toast to Next Year in Havana
I had a hard time putting this book down. The interwoven stories of Elisa and her granddaughter kept me enthralled and yet I felt as if I was learning a great deal of history about the lives of the Cuban people over the decades. It is a beautiful book, and I enjoyed it very much.
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