Next Year In Havana by Chanel CleetonNext Year In Havana by Chanel Cleeton

Next Year In Havana

byChanel Cleeton

Paperback | February 6, 2018

Pricing and Purchase Info

$18.52 online 
$20.00 list price save 7%
Earn 93 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store

Quantity:

In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores

about

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.
Chanel Cleeton is the author of Next Year in Havana, the Wild Aces series, and the Capital Confessions series. She received a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Richmond, The American International University in London and a master's degree in Global Politics from the London School of Economics & Political Science. Chane...
Loading
Title:Next Year In HavanaFormat:PaperbackDimensions:400 pages, 8 × 5.3 × 1.1 inPublished:February 6, 2018Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0399586687

ISBN - 13:9780399586682

Look for similar items by category:

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Terrific Read for Lovers of Historical Fiction I really enjoyed this read - although it was a massive departure from my usual genre of crime/murder/mystery. Next Year in Havana follows Marisol, whose beloved grandmother has just passed away, and left in her will that she wants Marisol to take her ashes home to Cuba to be spread. Intertwined with Marisol's journey to Cuba, is the story of her grandmother, Elise, from her time as a young girl growing up in Cuba in the 1950's during the Cuban revolution, and her eventual exile to America. Chanel Cleeton writes beautifully, and brings Cuba to life for the reader. The research conducted for this book was thorough - there is a healthy dose of history and culture that the reader can dive fully into and be left feeling like you know Cuba like a dear old friend. I found myself drawn far more to the chapters unraveling Elise's story - being the daughter of a sugar baron, in a time of complete unrest where no one, particularly the rich, were safe from anything, and falling in love with a Cuban revolutionary. I could have read an entire book based solely on Elise's life story. Which - for fans of this book - you will be very excited to know that Chanel is now at work writing another chapter of this story, this time from the perspective of Elise's complex and spunky older sister, Beatrix. I, for one, cannot WAIT for that to be released. Overall, a highly interesting read, especially for those who enjoy historical fiction.
Date published: 2018-03-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Atmospheric, absorbing, and incredibly heartfelt! Next Year in Havana is a riveting tale that sweeps you into a country ravished by rebellion, oppression, economic instability, and political upheaval, and a populace that's confused, disappointed, angry and struggling with self-identity, patriotism, and a lack of freedom and rights. The story is set in Cuba during both the late 1950s, as well as present day and is full of mystique, familial drama, heartbreak, secrets, deception, history, culture, courage, loss, self-discovery, hope, and romance. The prose is eloquent and vivid. The characters are multi-layered, sympathetic, and torn. And the plot is well crafted and uses a past/present style to unravel all the motivations, personalities, and relationships within it. Next Year in Havana is the perfect blend of historical facts, intriguing fiction, and palpable emotion. It's a beautifully written story that is nostalgic, heartbreaking, fascinating and sweet and highlights Cleeton's passion for her familial heritage.
Date published: 2018-02-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 475 stars--brilliantly written, intoxicating tale 4.75 stars--NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA is the first instalment in Chanel Cleeton’s women’s fiction/ historical romance fiction series focusing on the Cuban-American Perez family. This is Eliza Perez, and her granddaughter Marisol Ferrera’s story line. Told from alternating timelines, and dual first person points of view (Eliza and Marisol) NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA is a story of historical fiction; of revolution; of politics and war; of surviving against the odds during the Cuban revolution; of one family’s history between the present and the past. Upon the death of her cherished grandmother Eliza Perez, Marisol Ferrera embarks on a journey to Cuba, where she will meet her future, and uncover her past. Returning her grandmother’s ashes to her beloved homeland, Marisol will encounter the true meaning of struggle and loss, as she goes in search of her family’s history, finding more than she could ever imagined. NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA is a fictionalized account of one well-to-do family’s struggle growing up in the 50s during the Cuban Revolution, their flight to freedom, and the promises made to one day return. We follow as one woman defies her family as she falls in love with a man of questionable affiliations; and another woman discovers that the past never forgets; that lessons learned are easily forgotten. Chanel Cleeton pulls the reader into the turmoil and upheaval of Cuba in the late1950’s; where family is pitted against family; neighbors against neighbors; the rich against the poor. An engaging, brilliantly written, and intoxicating tale of the human spirit, love and never letting go.
Date published: 2018-02-06

Read from the Book

Chapter One ElisaHavana, 1959  How long will we be gone?" my sister Maria asks. "Awhile," I answer. "Two months? Six months? A year? Two?" "Quiet." I nudge her forward, my gaze darting around the departure area of Rancho-Boyeros Airport to see if anyone has overheard her question. We stand in a row, the famous-or infamous, depending on who you ask-Perez sisters. Isabel leads the way, the eldest of the group. She doesn't speak, her gaze trained on her fiancŽ, Alberto. His face is pale as he watches us, as we march out of the city we once brought to its knees. Beatriz is next. When she walks, the hem of her finest dress swinging against her calves, the pale blue fabric adorned with lace, it's as though the entire airport holds its collective breath. She's the beauty in the family and she knows it. I trail behind her, the knees beneath my skirts quivering, each step a weighty effort. And then there's Maria, the last of the sugar queens. At thirteen, Maria's too young to understand the need to keep her voice low, is able to disregard the soldiers standing in green uniforms, guns slung over their shoulders and perched in their eager hands. She knows the danger those uniforms bring, but not as well as the rest of us do. We haven't been able to remove the grief that has swept our family in its unrelenting curl, but we've done our best to shield her from the barbarity we've endured. She hasn't heard the cries of the prisoners held in cages like animals in La Caba–a, the prison now run by that Argentine monster. She hasn't watched Cuban blood spill on the ground. But our father has. He turns and silences her with a look, one he rarely employs yet is supremely effective. For most of our lives, he's left the care of his daughters to our mother and our nanny, Magda, too busy running his sugar company and playing politics. But these are extraordinary times, the stakes higher than any we've ever faced. There is nothing Fidel would love more than to make an example of Emilio Perez and his family-the quintessential image of everything his revolution seeks to destroy. We're not the wealthiest family in Cuba, or the most powerful one, but the close relationship between my father and the former president is impossible to ignore. Even the careless words of a thirteen-year-old girl can prove deadly in this climate. Maria falls silent. Our mother walks beside our father, her head held high. She insisted we wear our finest dresses today, hats and gloves, brushed our hair until it gleamed. It wouldn't do for her daughters to look anything but their best, even in exile. Defiant in defeat. We might not have fought in the mountains, haven't held weapons in our glove-covered hands, but there is a battle in all of us. One Fidel has ignited like a flame that will never be extinguished. And so we walk toward the gate in our favorite dresses, Cuban pride and pragmatism on full display. It's our way of taking the gowns with us, even if they're missing the jewels that normally adorn them. What remains of our jewelry is buried in the backyard of our home. For when we return. To be Cuban is to be proud-it is both our greatest gift and our biggest curse. We serve no kings, bow no heads, bear our troubles on our backs as though they are nothing at all. There is an art to this, you see. An art to appearing as though everything is effortless, that your world is a gilded one, when the reality is that your knees beneath your silk gown buckle from the weight of it all. We are silk and lace, and beneath them we are steel. We try to preserve the fiction that this is merely a vacation, a short trip abroad, but the gazes following us around the airport know better- Beatriz's fingers wrap around mine for one blissful moment. Those olive green-clad sentries watch our every move. There's something reassuring in her fear, in that crack in the facade. I don't let go. The world as we know it has died, and I do not recognize the one that has taken its place. A sense of hopelessness overpowers the departure area. You see it in the eyes of the men and women waiting to board the plane, in the tired set of their shoulders, the shock etched across their faces, their possessions clutched in their hands. It's present in the somber children, their laughter extinguished by the miasma that has overtaken all of us. This used to be a happy place. We would welcome our father when he returned from a business trip, sat in these same seats three years earlier, full of excitement to travel to New York on vacation. We take our seats, huddling together, Beatriz on one side of me, Maria on the other. Isabel sits apart from us, her pain a mantle around her shoulders. There are different degrees of loss here, the weight of what we leave behind inescapable. My parents sit with their fingers intertwined, one of the rare displays of physical affection I've ever seen them partake in, worry in their eyes, grief in their hearts. How long will we be gone? When will we return? Which version of Cuba will greet us when we do? We've been here for hours now, the seconds creeping by with interminable slowness. My dress itches, a thin line of sweat running down my neck. Nausea rolls around in my stomach, an acrid taste in my mouth. "I'm going to be sick," I murmur to Beatriz. She squeezes my fingers. "No, you're not. We're almost there." I beat the nausea back, staring down at the ground in front of me. The weight of the stares is pointed and sharp, and at the same time, it's as if we exist in a vacuum. The sound has been sucked from the room save for the occasional rustle of clothing, the stray sob. We exist in a state of purgatory, waiting, waiting- "Now boarding . . ." My father rises from his seat on creaky limbs; he's aged years in the nearly two months since President Batista fled the country, since the winds of revolution drifted from the Sierra Maestra to our corner of the island. Emilio Perez was once revered as one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in Cuba; now there's little to distinguish my father from the man sitting across the aisle, from the gentleman lining up at the gate. We're all citizens of no country now, all orphans of circumstance. I reach out and take Maria's hand with my spare one. She's silent, as though reality has finally sunk in. We all are. We walk in a line, somber and reticent, making our way onto the tarmac. There's no breeze in the air today, the heat overpowering as we shuffle forward, the sun beating down on our backs, the plane looming in front of us. I can't do this. I can't leave. I can't stay. Beatriz pulls me forward, a line of Perez girls, and I continue on. We board the plane in an awkward shuffle, the silence cracking and splintering as hushed voices give way to louder ones, a cacophony of tears filling the cabin. Wails. Now that we've escaped the departure area, the veneer of civility is stripped away to something unvarnished and raw- Mourning. I take a seat next to the window, peering out the tiny glass, hoping for a better view than that of the airport terminal, hoping . . . We roll back from the gate with a jolt and lurch, silence descending in the cabin. In a flash, it's New Year's Eve again and I'm standing in the ballroom of my parents' friends' house, a glass of champagne in one hand. I'm laughing, my heart so full. There's fear lingering in the background, both fear and uncertainty, but there's also a sense of hope. In minutes, my entire world changed. President Batista has fled the country! Long live a free Cuba! Is this freedom? We're gaining speed now, hurtling down the runway. My body heaves with the movement, and I lose the battle, grabbing the bag in the seat pocket in front of me, emptying the contents of my stomach. Beatriz strokes my back as I hunch over, as the wheels leave the ground, as we soar into the sky. The nausea hits me again and again, an ignominious parting gift, and when I finally look up, a startling shock of blue and green greets me, an artist's palette beneath me. When Christopher Columbus arrived in Cuba, he described it as the most beautiful land human eyes had ever seen. And it is. But there's more beyond the sea, the mountains, the clear sky. There's so much more that we leave behind us. How long will we be gone? A year? Two? Ojal‡. Marisol january 2017 When I was younger, I begged my grandmother to tell me about Cuba. It was a mythical island, contained in my heart, entirely drawn from the version of Cuba she created in exile in Miami and the stories she shared with me. I was caught between two lands-two iterations of myself-the one I inhabited in my body and the one I lived in my dreams. We'd sit in the living room of my grandparents' sprawling house in Coral Gables, and she'd show me old photos that had been smuggled out of the country by intrepid family members, weaving tales about her life in Havana, the adventures of her siblings, painting a portrait of a land that existed in my imagination. Her stories smelled of gardenias and jasmine, tasted of plantains and mamey, and always, the sound of her old record player. Each time she'd finish her tale she'd smile and promise I would see it myself one day, that we'd return in grand style, reopening her family's seaside estate in Varadero and the elegant home that took up nearly the entire block of a tree-lined street in Havana. When Fidel dies, we'll return. You'll see. And finally, after nearly sixty years of keeping Cubans in suspense, of false alarms and hoaxes, he did die, outlasting my grandmother by mere months. The night he died, my family opened a bottle of champagne my great-grandfather had bought nearly sixty years ago for such an occasion, toasting Castro's demise in our inimitable fashion. The champagne, sadly, like Fidel himself, was past its prime, but we partied on Calle Ocho in Miami until the sun rose, and still- Still we remain. His death did not erase nearly sixty years of exile, or ensure a future of freedom. Instead I'm smuggling my grandmother's ashes inside my suitcase, concealed as jars in my makeup case, honoring her last request to me while we pray, hope, wait for things to change. When I die, take me back to Cuba. Spread my ashes over the land I love. You'll know where. And now sitting on the plane somewhere between Mexico City and Havana, armed with a notebook filled with scribbled street names and places to visit, a guidebook I purchased off the Internet, I have no clue where to lay her to rest. They read my grandmother's will six months ago, thirty family members seated in a conference room in our attorney's office on Brickell. Her sisters were there-Beatriz and Maria. Isabel passed away the year before. Their children came with their spouses and their children, the next generations paying their respects. Then there was my father-her only child-my two sisters, and me. The main parts of her will were fairly straightforward, no major surprises to be expected. My grandfather had died over two decades earlier and turned the family sugar business over to my father to run. There was the house in Palm Beach, which went to my sister Daniela. The farm in Wellington and the horses were left to my sister Lucia, the middle child. And I ended up with the house in Coral Gables, the site of so many imaginary trips to Cuba. There were monetary bequests, and artwork, lists upon lists of items read by the attorney in a matter-of-fact tone, his announcements met with the occasional tear or exclamation of gratitude. And then there was her final wish- Grandparents aren't supposed to play favorites, but my grandmother never played by anyone else's rules. Maybe it was the fact that I came into the world two months before my mother caught my father in bed with a rubber heiress. Lucia and Daniela had years of family unity before the Great Divorce, and after that, they had a bond with my mother I never quite achieved. My early years were logged between strategy sessions at the lawyers' offices, shuttled back and forth between homes, until finally my mother washed her hands of it all and went back to Spain, leaving me under the care of my grandmother. So perhaps because I was the daughter she never had, yet raised as her own, it made sense that she charged me with this- No one in the family questioned it. From her sisters, I received a list of addresses-including the Perez estate in Havana and the beach house no one had seen in over fifty years. They put me in contact with Ana Rodriguez, my grandmother's childhood best friend. Despite the passage of time, she'd been gracious enough to offer to host me for the week I'd be in Cuba. Perhaps she could shed some light on my grandmother's final resting place. You always wanted to see Cuba, and it's my greatest regret that we were unable to do so in my lifetime. I am consoled, at least, by the image of you strolling along the Malec—n, the spray of salt water on your face. I imagine you kneeling in the pews of the Cathedral of Havana, sitting at a table at the Tropicana. Did I ever tell you about the night we snuck out and went to the club? I always dreamed Fidel would die before me, that I would return home. But now my dream is a different one. I am an old woman, and I have come to accept that I will never see Cuba again. But you will. To be in exile is to have the things you love most in the world-the air you breathe, the earth you walk upon-taken from you. They exist on the other side of a wall-there and not-unaltered by time and circumstance, preserved in a perfect memory in a land of dreams. My Cuba is gone, the Cuba I gave to you over the years swept away by the winds of revolution. It's time for you to discover your own Cuba.

Bookclub Guide

Readers Guide forNext Year in Havana Discussion Questions   1. The novel alternates between Elisa Perez’s life in Cuba in 1958 and 1959 and her granddaughter Marisol Ferrera’s trip to Cuba in 2017. Which woman did you identify with more? What parallels can you see between their personalities and their lives? What differences?    2. The first chapter ends with Elisa wondering how long her family will be away from Cuba. The final chapter ends over a decade later with her posing the same question. How are the themes of hope and exile illustrated in the book? How does the weight of exile affect the Perez family?    3. When Marisol arrives in Cuba she struggles with identifying as Cuban because she grew up in the United States and because she has never set foot on Cuban soil. How much does a physical place define one’s identity? How does Marisol’s trip alter her views about being Cuban and change her perception of herself? How do Marisol and her family attempt to keep their heritage alive in exile? Are there stories and rituals handed down through the generations in your family?    4. Like her grandmother, Marisol falls in love with a man who has revolutionary political leanings. What similarities can you see between Pablo's and Luis’s dreams for Cuba? What differences are there in their worldview? How do they go about achieving their dreams for a better Cuba?    5. Sacrifice is a major theme that runs throughout the novel. How do the characters make sacrifices for one another, and what are some examples of them risking their safety and security for their loved ones? How do you think you would have acted in similar situations?    6. Family plays an important role in the novel, and each of the characters face their own struggles in their attempts to live up to their family’s expectations. What are some examples of this? Did you identify with one character’s point of view more? Are there certain expectations in your own family? Do you feel the need to live up to them? How have they shaped your life decisions?    7. Elisa’s final wish is to have her ashes scattered over Cuban soil. Do you agree with her decision? Would you have wanted your ashes spread in Cuba or would you have preferred to be buried on American soil? Do you think Marisol picked the best place to spread Elisa’s ashes? Where else would you have considered scattering them? Have you scattered the ashes of a loved one? What was the experience like?    8. What initially attracts Elisa to Pablo? Do you believe they would have been able to overcome the differences between them if they weren’t caught in the midst of the Cuban Revolution? Or was their love fueled by the urgency of the times?    9. Elisa chooses to save her letters from Pablo and her memories of their romance by burying them in a box in the backyard. If you had a box in which to bury your most precious possessions, what would you choose to keep safe?    10. What parallels do you see between life in modern Cuba and life in pre-revolutionary Cuba? What differences?    11. Pablo tells Elisa that everything is political. Do you agree with him?    12. Despite coming from very different backgrounds, Marisol and Luis share many similarities that bring them together as a couple. What are some examples of this? Why do you think they get along so well? Do you think they are a good influence on each other?    13. Pablo believes that the best way to change his country is from within. Others like Elisa’s family choose to leave Cuba because they can no longer support the regime. Which approach do you identify with? What are the differences between the Cubans who remained in Cuba and those who live in exile? What are the similarities?

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Next Year in Havana“A sweeping love story and tale of courage and familial and patriotic legacy that spans generations.”—EW.com   “Next Year in Havana reminds us that while love is complicated and occasionally heartbreaking, it's always worth the risk.”—NPR.org“A flat-out stunner of a book, at once a dual-timeline mystery, a passionate romance, and paean to the tragedy and beauty of war-torn Cuba. Simply wonderful!”—Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network "Cleeton has penned an atmospheric, politically insightful, and highly hopeful homage to a lost world. Devour Next Year in Havana and you, too, will smell the perfumed groves, taste the ropa vieja, and feel the sun on your face."—Stephanie Dray, New York Times bestselling author of America's First Daughter“Don’t miss this smart, moving, and romantic story.”—HelloGiggles.com“A vivid, transporting novel. Next Year in Havana is about journeys—into exile, into history, and into questions of home and identity. It's an engrossing read.”—David Ebershoff, author of The Danish Girl and The 19th Wife “An evocative, passionate story of family loyalty and forbidden love that moves seamlessly between the past and present of Cuba’s turbulent history...Next Year in Havana kept me enthralled and savoring every word.”—Shelley Noble, New York Times bestselling author of Whisper Beach “Chanel Cleeton’s prose is as beautiful as Cuba itself, and the story she weaves—of exile and loss, memory and myth, forbidden love and enduring friendship—is at once sweeping and beautifully intimate.”—Jennifer Robson, USA Today bestselling author of Somewhere in France"A poignant tale of aristocracy, subterfuge, tyranny, conflict, corruption and courage during the Cuban Revolution…Next Year In Havana is an extraordinary journey that connects the past and present and will enthrall readers until the very end."—RT Book Review (starred review) “An enticing and wonderful read for lovers of historical fiction and soul-searching journeys.”—Library Journal (starred review) “An undeniably personal and intimate look at Cuba then and now, wrapped around the gripping story of two women torn between love and country.”—Renee Rosen, author of Windy City Blues “Chanel Cleeton delivers an amazing and captivating read!”—Alix Rickloff, author of On the Way to London “With graceful prose, Cleeton evokes the former grandeur of 1950s Cuba, and contrasts it with modern day Miami in this sweeping family saga of loss and love.”—Heather Webb, author of Last Christmas in Paris “A compelling, un-put-downable page-turner told from two equally powerful female narratives...A must read.”—Lia Riley, author of It Happened on Love Street “Next Year in Havana is a ravishing jewel of romance, hope, family, and the history in Cuba.”—Weina Dai Randel, author of The Moon in the Palace “This gritty tale pulls back the curtain on revolutionary and modern Cuba, allowing us a glimpse of the courage, heartache, and sacrifices of those who left their country in exile, and also those who stayed behind.”—Stephanie Thornton, author The Conqueror's Wife“Next Year in Havana is a riveting, moving novel that explores the ever-relevant themes of love and sacrifice, family and duty, patriotism and resistance. Cleeton describes Havana so vividly that I felt I was there. I could not put this book down!”—Alyssa Palombo, author of The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence