Audiobook Mini-Review — Next Year in Havana

24 Apr

Next Year in Havana was the first book Chanel Cleeton authored. I picked it up from Audible because I really liked The Last Train to Key West, and I was eager for another book in the same vein. This novel introduces the Perez family (various members of the family are characters in other of Cleeton’s books), specifically Elisa, a privileged young woman caught up in the Cuban Revolution of 1958. The dual timeline novel also features Elisa’s granddaughter Marisol, who is tasked with returning to Cuba after Fidel Castro’s death and surreptitiously spreading her grandmother’s ashes. Cleeton does an excellent job of bringing Cuba past and present to life. She presents various sides of the revolution, sympathetic to those who fled into exile and those who chose to stay. The communist regime is not viewed favorably — all the injustices are exposed. While the politics of the times are the backdrop, the human element is what kept me turning the pages. There is love, loss, and a hope for a future. I liked both time periods equally, causing me to keep listening to find out what was going to happen to each of the main characters. There are some twists that I found very satisfying. Please note that this a general market offering — there are some adult situations. Specific to the audiobook: two narrators lend their voices allowing for Alissa and Marisol to shine through.

Bottom line, I liked this book and would not hesitate to pick up another by Cleeton.


Audience: adults.

(I purchased the audiobook through Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

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 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick Next Year in Havana, When We Left Cuba, The Last Train to Key West, and The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba. Originally from Florida, Chanel grew up on stories of her family’s exodus from Cuba following the events of the Cuban Revolution. Her passion for politics and history continued during her years spent studying in England where she earned 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. Chanel also received her Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law.

Learn more about her on her website at

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