Blog Tour Stop! When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton
Let’s start off with the facts - Chanel Cleeton has a masterful talent at bringing characters and locations to vivid, screaming life on the page.
And this book is magnificent.
I am just so excited for this book to be in the world - I loved Next Year in Havana, and Beatriz was my very favourite character when that book launched, so to have a whole book dedicated to her story is SO EXCITING. It doesn’t disappoint either - Beatriz is my spirit animal. 💋
Everything about this story is magic - picking up from the Perez family having fled Cuba after the revolution and Castro coming into power, a young Beatriz is coming to terms with her new reality in America - and her desperation for wanting to continue to fight for a country she loves so passionately.
I LOVE how Chanel writes her characters, they are so full of life and vibrant, I genuinely feel like Beatriz is someone I know in this world. I connect with her so deeply that watching her story unfold, I felt every single emotion she was feeling - the anger, frustration, love, joy, sadness, relief - all of it. Everything that I loved about Beatriz in the first book is simply reinforced in this book - she is just as feisty and wild as she was before, rebellious and determined, smart, strong, beautiful, vulnerable, assured and relentless in seeking justice for her country falling apart. I could not have asked for more from this second installment.
Most importantly, Chanel stayed true to the core of Beatriz - even when I was so maddeningly frustrated with some of her choices and decisions, I knew at my heart that it would have been exactly what Beatriz would have done, that she never would have faltered in her faith or her conviction, and that she would have stood her ground even in the face of enormous personal loss. I absolutely respect this in an author and a character - Chanel did not take the easy way out, she didn’t write the predictable love story, she didn’t relent in seeking the life that Beatriz knew she needed to lead, despite all the consequences of those choices.
As with all books, I am hesitant to say too much, as it truly is the readers singular joy to get to devour a story whole and with minimal spoiler. So I won’t let on any more, except to say that this book is everything I hoped it would be, and then some. Its one that you can read as a standalone, but I promise, you won’t want to miss the magic of Next Year in Havana either. These are beautiful stories that reflect such a tumultuous time in the world, and do so with humanity, empathy and true passion for a country and a culture. Books that should be on every bookworms pile.
I laughed, I cried and I celebrated with Beatriz all the days of her life. I loved every single page, and I cannot WAIT to see what other bookworms think of this one. It will be the perfect summer read - I know I’ll be visiting it again from the comfort of my home patio with a sangria in hand.
Now on sale everywhere, be SURE to grab your copy, and join me in falling in love with one of the great female characters of our generation.
Many congratulations Chanel, on another incredible piece of work. I cannot wait to see what is next.