#JCarReads | Next Year in Havana

“To be in exile is to have the things you love most in the world – the air you breath, 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.”

“At the end of the day, the only thing you have left is what you stand for. If I said nothing, if I did nothing, I could not live with myself. I would not be a man. This is the position I choose to take, and for better or worse, I will accept the consequences of my actions.”

“Havana is like a woman who was grand once and has fallen on hard times, and yet hints of her former brilliance remain, traces of an era since passed, a photograph faded by time and circumstance, its edges crumbling to dust.”

Next Year in Havana2
Book Summary:

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.

I can’t, can’t, can’t, recommend this book enough. Ya’ll….this book was everything. It was romantic, it was idyllic, it was challenging and passionate. It was tough…at times, because the Cuban struggle is so authentically real and difficult to 100% understand as someone not from there. It was personal for me because growing up in South Florida my closest friends were Cuban. Thinking back to their families, their hopes and dreams, their fears, just makes all of this come to life in a very personal way and I just wish I knew sooner some things I know now. This book is also about romance, ohhhhh you know how that gets my heart going. The romance here is just so beautiful, so unadulterated, so heart-warming. As soon as you start the book you get caught up, it’s not one that you have to wait to really be sucked into. It’s political, it’s challenging, it makes you think about what you believe and how far you’re willing to go to stand up for those beliefs. It also makes you think about your country…would you die for it? So many questions, so many tears, so many smiles, this book does it all. Please, please pick this one up you won’t regret it.

“I told myself being a Perez meant more than being Cuban, that my responsibility to my family, to do what was expected, to be the woman my parents wanted me to be meant more than fighting for what I believed in, for speaking out against Batista’s tyranny.

And the whole time we were pretending our way of life was fine, the “paradise” we’d created was really a fragile deal with a mercurial devil, and the ground beneath us shifted and cracked, destroying the world as we knew it.

Fidel has shown us the cost of our silence. The danger of waiting too long to speak, of another’s voice being louder than ours because we were too busy living in the bubbles we’d created to realize the rest of Cuba had changed and left us behind.”

Next Year in Havana

*Images not my own but are link for purchase*