Next Year in Havana
by Chanel Cleeton
Berkley, 2018. 382 pages. Fiction
Marisol’s grandmother, Elisa, was the daughter of a wealthy family in Cuba who fled the country during the Cuban Revolution and came to America. Elisa’s last request is to have her ashes scattered in her home country, and she tells Marisol that she’ll know where to scatter the ashes when she find the right place. Having never been to Cuba, and not knowing anyone there, Marisol is less confident she’ll be able to find the places most special to her grandmother, but enlists the help of grandmother’s childhood best friend and her handsome grandson to help. When long buried family secrets begin to come to light, they irreparably alter Marisol’s understanding of her grandmother’s past, and that of the country she left.
At the same time charming and informational, this book was enlightening and a true pleasure to read. It weaves the story of both Marisol and her discoveries about her grandmother’s past with Cuban history and class dynamics to create a fascinating and resonant story that I could not put down. I’d recommend it to those who enjoy historical fiction with a side of both political history and a dash of romance.