When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton

When We Left Cuba

Chanel Cleeton

As the Cold War swells like a hurricane over the shores of the Florida Strait, Beatriz Perez is caught between the clash of Cuban American politics and the perils of a forbidden affair with a powerful man driven by ambitions of his own.

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In 1960s Florida, a young Cuban exile will risk her life--and heart--to take back her country in this exhilarating historical novel from the author of Next Year in Havana, a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick.

Beautiful. Daring. Deadly.

The Cuban Revolution took everything from sugar heiress Beatriz Perez--her family, her people, her country. Recruited by the CIA to infiltrate Fidel Castro's inner circle and pulled into the dangerous world of espionage, Beatriz is consumed by her quest for revenge and her desire to reclaim the life she lost.

As the Cold War swells like a hurricane over the shores of the Florida Strait, Beatriz is caught between the clash of Cuban American politics and the perils of a forbidden affair with a powerful man driven by ambitions of his own. When the ever-changing tides of history threaten everything she has fought for, she must make a choice between her past and future--but the wrong move could cost Beatriz everything--not just the island she loves, but also the man who has stolen her heart...

Advance Galley Reviews

Thanks to Penguin's First to Read program for a advance reading copy in exchange for a honest review. Very intense, fiery, and oh la la. Only a little disappointed that this one was not quite as awesome as the first book, but still very good compared to some historical fiction today.

I was really looking forward to this book. I had an issue with my copy where the first page of each chapter was blank minus the first letter of the first sentence...I emailed First to Read Twice and it has been over a week...still no response. I am assuming I will never get to read this book and do not want to be punished for not writing a review so here I am...very disappointed in the program!

Synopsis: This book follows the story of Beatriz Perez, who was introduced in Next Year in Havana, throughout the aftermath of the Cuban revolution (set in the 1960s in Palm Beach). It is a story about Beatriz and her quest to avenging her brother’s death and her desire for revenge against Fidel Castro. It includes romance, politics and espionage. It highlights the tensions between the US and Cuba and the Kennedy era. When I finished Next Year in Havana earlier this year I couldn’t wait to hear Beatriz’s story. Right then I thought we didn’t get enough of her in Next Year in Havana. She is such a fascinating character and I connected with her. Lucky for us we get an entire book about Beatriz and an amazing follow up to Next Year in Havana. I really enjoyed how the author captured all the historical facts with the romance and espionage aspects intertwined. The pace of the book is slower than Next Year in Havana and I missed the writing in two different time periods that I loved in the first book. However, I couldn’t put this one down either as I was intrigued by Beatriz’s story. This book can be read as a stand-alone book, you don’t have to read Next Year in Havana before reading it, but why wouldn’t you? It is amazing! I hope Chanel Cleeton continues to delight us with more of the Perez family members in future books. Thank you to First to read and the author for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

I really enjoyed Next Year in Havana, so I was very excited to read When We Left Cuba. Although I did not love it as much, I still really enjoyed it. Chanel Cleeton is a great author, and I love reading these books even if historical fiction isn't so much my genre. Beatriz is a great main character and I loved all the espionage even though I was a little lost with the politics and stuff at times. I'd definitely recommend this to people who enjoyed Next Year in Havana.

If you enjoyed the historical fiction novel,Next Year in Havana, you'll want to check this one out as it features Beatriz Perez. I'm so glad the author decided to write a book about her because she's a fascinating character. Really liked this one as it had a little bit of everything including romance, espionage, and family drama. While this book could be read as standalone novel, I highly recommend checking out the previous book so you can get a better understanding of not just Beatriz but also her family and everything that took place in Cuba. It's the 1960s and Beatriz and the Perez family are living in Florida after the Cuban Revolution forced them to leave everything behind in Cuba. Beatriz has a lot of anger towards the man responsible for all of the turmoil in her home country, Fidel Castro, and so she agrees to work as a spy for the CIA and infiltrate Castro's inner circle. She soon gets quite an education on the dirty side of politics for both countries and also manages to get caught up in a forbidden love affair. It's fair to say she will be forced to make a lot of tough choices, some with lasting consequences. I was slightly worried before reading this that it was going to read too much like a spy novel, which isn't really my thing. However, while Beatriz working for the CIA is definitely part of the story, there are other facets of her life that are explored as well. Overall there really was a nice balance to the story. I was drawn the most to Beatriz and her love life but I also enjoyed learning some of the historical facts regarding what was going on between Cuba and the United States during this time. It was also nice to revisit characters from the previous book. Definitely an enjoyable read and I would love to see the author continue on with featuring Perez family members in future books. Thank you to First to Read for the free advance digital copy!

In between the story of Elisa and the story of her granddaughter Marisol in Next Year in Havana is When We Left Cuba, the story of Beatriz, sister and aunt. Except for it isn't in between - because nobody puts Beatriz in a corner, or in between anything for that matter. Beatriz is used to doing things her way, and her family being exiled from Cuba only makes her more determined. Beatriz can make you want to shake her at times, which means Cleeton is writing her perfectly. She's wiser than her years, but in some regards so single-minded and idealistic that she can help oust Fidel Castro and go back to the Cuba she wants. Her relationship with a senator and an old friend of hers from Havana help add romance and balance to a character sometimes focused to the exclusion of everything else on Cuba. Unlike the preceding novel that shifts between two stories in two times, this one is exclusively told by Beatriz, mostly in the years directly after her family's exile and helps provide a more personal perspective on both the Bay of Pigs, and the frustration of Cubans by the Americans' stance on their country. Once again, Cleeton has a winner on her hands!

I loved this book just as much as I loved Next Year in Havana. That book stayed with me for a long time after I turned the last page, and I can already tell this one will too. Though Beatriz was a fairly minor character in the previous book, she was a fascinating and mysterious one, and I'm glad I got to read her story in When We Left Cuba. This is still not a period of history that I'm overly familiar with, so it was very interesting to read about the turmoil and intrigue even in America after Fidel took power in Cuba. Cleefton has a gift for creating realistic, fleshed-out characters, and Beatriz was no exception. She is intelligent, brave, stubborn, and deeply loyal to both her country and her loved ones, and overall I may have liked her even more than Marisol (the main character of Next Year in Havana). When We Left Cuba is a fascinating, poignant book set in a significant time in world history, and I can't recommend it enough.

this book claimed its way to the top of my list for books I can’t wait to read in 2019. ever since I read “next year in Havana” I wanted more of the Perez story. I devoured this thing. I didn’t want to stop till the end and then I wanted it to keep going. This is a worthy successor to the first novel and its stands on its on by itself. I loved the story of Beatriz and I’m so glad that the author needed to tell the story of what came after the revolution. My preorder still stands because I know I’ll read this one again and any of Chanel Cleeton’s future historical fiction books. This one is highly recommend led and five huge stars.


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