Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton…

A nice, easy read with a straight forward plot. This was a good book for me to indulge in after reading Hanya Yanagihara’s ‘A Little Life’. The narrative in this book alternates between two love stories, both set in Cuba. One love story happened in the past and the other one is from the present.

The parts of the story that happened during Cuban Revolution and Fidel Castro’s rise to power were well done. I never read a book set in Cuba so I really liked learning about living in Cuba under the regime. I am filled with gratitude for the life that I have now and compassion for those (like the Cubans) who don’t have even the basic human rights under the regime.

Both love stories are too good to be true but that didn’t matter to me because I was busy collecting the golden nuggets about living in Cuba, that were scattered around the book, in almost every page. I am not someone who reads romantic novels but this one intrigued me due to the place setting. The romance was not too sappy or overly done. There were right amounts of romance sprinkled through out to move the plot forward. But,the main agenda is definitely to educate the readers about the fate of Cuba, a country that is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty; a country that has a long history of being controlled by various regimes; a country where ironically, people laugh more freely and more frequently than people who live in the more fortunate places around the world.

Overall, this was a good read: 3.5/5.

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