Next Year in Havana is two interwoven stories set in Cuba in the 1950s and today. Marisol, a current-day Cuban-American woman, travels to Havana in search of a place to scatter the ashes of her grandmother, Elisa. Nineteen-year-old Elisa and her family were forced to flee Cuba by the Castro regime in the late 1950s and, like many families in that situation, settled in southern Florida. Romance is central to the plot of both Elisa's and Marisol's stories, but it is tasteful and the intimacy is off-scene. A family secret lurks throughout, and a twist at the end of the story leads to a satisfactory resolution.
Next Year in Havana is a beautifully written, passionate novel about friendship, love, loss, and hope. The author, who has degrees in the international relations and political science fields, does a fantastic job of weaving the facts of the Cuban Revolution of the 1950s and life in current-day Havana with the fictional stories of Elisa and Marisol. The evocative writing allows the reader to see the vibrant colors of Cuba and smell the ropa vieja cooking in the kitchen. Next Year in Havana will be enjoyed by both historical fiction and women's fiction readers.
Reviewed by nw, 12/17. Other reviews by nw.