Title: When We Left Cuba
Author: Chanel Cleeton
Genre: historical fiction, romance
Is this part of a series: I don’t know if I would call it that. This is the second book about the Perez girls, and definitely ties together strongly…. but I haven’t heard of there being any more. Can two books be considered a series?
Publish Date: April 9th, 2019
Beatrice is torn apart. She can’t get over the death of her brother, the separation from her country, or the plight of her fellow Cubans. Here, in Palm Beach, the family is trying to move forward. One sister is already married and one engaged, her mother is in full out matchmaker mode trying to tie her girls to men that will raise their social standing. Father is diving into business with a crazed zeal, trying to make back their lost fortune. Beatrice…. can’t. She can’t fit in with these other girls. She can’t smile, dance, and flirt like she’s never seen darkness. She doesn’t want to. There has to be more to life. She wants to be part of the effort to help her country…. and she wants revenge on the man that killed her brother. Castro will die.
When the chance comes in the package of CIA operative Dyer, she’s all in. Infiltrate Fidel’s inner circle, get close. Get intel… this is what she needs. The fact that there’s also a man that she wants, or that her family can’t understand or know about what she’s doing have to be pushed aside…. but how can she? As the Cold War looms, Beatrice is torn between her old home, and making a new one.
While Next Year In Havana, Chanel Cleeton introduced us to the Perez family, it painted a picture of Cuba. Batista’s Cuba, beautiful and glittering- if you had money. Then, the revolution. The change of political climate and the chaos. For me, it emphasized the places- home, and where they ended up. When We Left Cuba deals more with the aftermath of the move. The fight, the political turmoil, the ramifications of every decision are brought to the forefront here. I felt like the actual description of the places took second place to the description of the pain, of the war. Cuba wasn’t just an island it was a dream, an ache, and where her people were.
Watching Beatrice move and grow into herself was amazing. I loved the time with the other characters, and meeting new ones. I thought Cleeton did a superb job of fleshing these characters out… making them real and important. I felt for each of them, drawn into their life. This is by no means a quick read or a fluffy, feel good novel. You will cry. It will destroy you…. and then? Then, it will deliver hope. Renewal. I finished this book just a few days ago and already I miss Beatrice. I want to go back. Five stars all the way.
On the adult content scale, there’s some language, violence, and sexual content. None of it is over the top, and I would still let my niece read this. I give it a four.
I was lucky enough to receive an eARC of this book from First to Read in exchange for an honest review. My Thanks.
The book comes out 4-9-19. Is it on your radar?
Link to book: