Book Review

Book Review: Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical fiction + Contemporary + Romance
Length: 361 pages
Author: Chanel Cleeton
Publisher: Penguin/Berkley
Release Date: February 6th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

After the death of her beloved grandmother, a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana, where she discovers the roots of her identity–and unearths a family secret hidden since the revolution…

Havana, 1958. The daughter of a sugar baron, nineteen-year-old Elisa Perez is part of Cuba’s high society, where she is largely sheltered from the country’s growing political unrest–until she embarks on a clandestine affair with a passionate revolutionary…

Miami, 2017. Freelance writer Marisol Ferrera grew up hearing romantic stories of Cuba from her late grandmother Elisa, who was forced to flee with her family during the revolution. Elisa’s last wish was for Marisol to scatter her ashes in the country of her birth. 

Arriving in Havana, Marisol comes face-to-face with the contrast of Cuba’s tropical, timeless beauty and its perilous political climate. When more family history comes to light and Marisol finds herself attracted to a man with secrets of his own, she’ll need the lessons of her grandmother’s past to help her understand the true meaning of courage.

OKAY, THIS BOOK HURT.

When Audible has a two for one sale using your credits, you use them. I had a Bookstagram friend help me decide on this one and y’all, not disappointed. I definitely recommend as an audiobook too. The voices of the two POVs are soothing and it’s easy to imagine everything they’re describing.

The intense passion and love for Cuba that I could feel radiating off the book was astounding. I felt this. It made me so conflicted myself because I understood both sides of the the characters stories and how desperately everyone was searching for peace, even when two poor choices stood before them. Everything that happened/is happening to the nation they love really had me emotionally wrecked.

The stories themselves, whoa. I didn’t realize how much the romances were going to play a part in this book. They brought out so many more layers that had me gasp and yell as I heard what was happening and couldn’t believe it. Some truly devastating moments that I’m still upset about. The whole concept of life isn’t fair is driven home.

I loved the flip back and forth in time and getting to know Elisa and Marisol on new levels. It goes to show you don’t always know everything about your own family. The connections and lasting relationships brought in side-characters that I could get behind as well. A lot of love between family, friends, care-givers, and relationships and how this love carries over a lifetime.

The historical aspects of this book brought Cuba to life and I was swept off my feet by this tale. I am definitely going to be checking out Cleeton’s next book!

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction + romance + contemporary
  • Language: sh* used once
  • Romance: a few kisses, two fade to black scenes (with really no description prior)
  • Violence: guns, physical, off-screen torture, mentions and depictions of war

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Book Review

Review: Arabella by Georgette Heyer

Arabella

 

Rating: ☆☆☆.75
Audience: YA/Adult, a kiss or two, no violence, no language
Length: 320 pages
Author: Georgette Heyer
Publisher: this version: Arrow Books Ltd.
Release Date: this version: October 7th, 2004 (originally published in 1949)
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

 

BOOK SUMMARY:

To Arabella Tallant, the eldest daughter of a penniless country clergyman, the invitation to stay with her London godmother was like the key to heaven, for in addition to living in the glamorous city, Arabella might even find a suitable husband there. Armed with beauty, virtue and a benevolent godmother, the impetuous but impoverished Arabella embarked on her first London season with her mother’s wish in mind: snare a rich husband.

Impetuosity is Arabella’s only fault. When fate cast her in the path of arrogant, socially prominent Robert Beaumaris, who accused her of being another petty female after his wealth, the proud, headstrong ingenue made a most startling claim — she was an heiress! Suddenly Arabella found herself the talk of the town and pursued by every amorous fortune hunter in London and some of the most eligible young men of the day.

But only one caught Arabella’s fancy: Mr Beaumaris, the handsome and dedicated bachelor. She should know better than to allow herself to be provoked by nonpareil Beau. That gentleman, however, although a most artful matrimonial dodger, badly underestimated his seemingly naive adversary… But would her deceitful charade destroy her one chance for true love…?

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

OH, ULYSSES.

This book was simple and sweet. I enjoyed it on a Sunday afternoon and was swept into a Jane Austen-like aura of regency romance.

The characters were sassy and full of wit. While some of the phrases made me chuckle, I thought it was neat to be reading a book originally from so long ago! And with so many good reviews, clearly Heyer’s novels are long lasting.

My favorite portions by far were any interaction between Mr. Beaumaris and Ulysses (his dog). I found myself laughing each time and thought the inner dialogue was crafty!

The narrative can be a bit confusing as it switches between POV often, but I didn’t mind. The portions with her brother, on the other hand, I essentially skipped/skimmed over. While it played a small tidbit in the end, the sections were too long focusing on his trouble rather than Arabella.

An easy read, and a proper romance. No language, no violence, no love scenes.