Arts & Leisure

Book review: Next Year in Havana — by Chanel Cleeton

(Berkley Books)

Two timelines unfurl in one city, Havana, Cuba, as two young women discover their courage, their conviction, and their loyalty. In 1959, Elisa, third of the four Perez daughters, existed in the rarefied world of wealth and position that her family’s sugar business provided for them until the ousting of Batista by Castro forced their exile to Florida. In 2017, Elisa’s favorite granddaughter, Marisol, whom she raised as her own daughter, finally returns to Cuba at the behest of Elisa whose final request was to be laid to rest, that is for her ashes to be scattered, in her one true home, the home she never stopped longing to return to. Marisol is a journalist, but even in this closer-to-current-day Cuba, her arrival and who is there to meet her, her hosts, are still suspect. Marisol, with her penchant for uncovering the truth, is shocked to find many of the stories her grandmother shared were half-truths, or just the beginnings of stories. The seamless weaving together of these timelines along with the intelligent rendering of Cuba’s history and a good bit of romance make this a most enjoyable read. I highly recommend this historical novel; it would make an excellent book club choice.

— Reviewed by Jenny Lyons. Connect with her on Instagram @jennysbookshop to find more great book reviews and recommendations. Look for these titles and more at your local bookstore.

10 Jenny’s Book Club Picks

Nothing to See Here, by Kevin Wilson

Infinite Country, by Patricia Engel

The Round House, by Louise Erdrich

Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid

Shuggie Bain, by Douglas Stuart

A Burning, by Megha Majumdar

The Sympathizer, by Viet Thanh Nguyen

The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead

Land of Big Numbers, by Te-Ping Chen

Astrid and Veronika, by Linda Olsson

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