REVIEW: When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton
WHEN WE LEFT CUBA by Chanel Cleeton leaves a lasting impression. I loved the political intrigue mixed with taboo relationships that made it very realistic. Not that I agreed with the characters’ behavior, which may tip the non-traditional scale for the follow-the-rules romance reader, but it worked for me in the end.
Like many romance readers, I read romance for a guaranteed escape into a happy-ever-after, or a happy-for-now, story. There are certain expectations, plus taboos that we shake our head at. The cheating husband and the other woman romance are taboos. Imagine my surprise when a book that was all about that was acceptable to me.
Maybe because history has taken the edge off it, where those in the political world are expected to marry for their political gain instead of love? It’s easier to accept that arranged marriages for political power will stray when they find their one true love? Maybe because the wife in this story fully expects her husband to have dalliances? I don’t know, but I couldn’t stop thinking about some of our past presidents when I read this scenario. The added bonus of the heroine becoming a spy made it even more acceptable, because she never felt she had a future.
The first paragraph of the first chapter includes one of my favorite first lines, as well as sets the stage for our notorious heroine who is captivating…
“The thing about collecting marriage proposals is they’re much like cultivating eccentricities. One is an absolute must for being admired in polite—or slightly less-than-polite—society. Two ensure you’re a sought-after guest at parties, three add a soupcon of mystery, four are a scandal, and five, well, five make you a legend.” Read the first chapter here.
Beatriz Perez is brave, sassy, and full of spunk for someone who has lost everything she loved in Cuba. In exile in the United States with her once very wealthy family, her only thought is to get even with the man who murdered her brother. Falling in love? Not on her list, but sometimes fate has other ideas.
It’s on the evening of her fifth proposal that Beatriz meets the handsome senator who will change her life. This novel is full of intrigue, politics, and espionage from the Kennedy era involving Cuba. Most of it takes place in Palm Beach society with a side trip to New York. Next, Beatriz is off to London without her family to protect her. I couldn’t put the book down.
WHEN WE LEFT CUBA is not just a romantic story. It reads more like a spy novel aimed at women’s fiction readers with enough political intrigue and a strong woman to satisfy MADAM SECRETARY fans. Plus, I loved all the details about President Kennedy that were slipped in by the senator, due to Beatriz’s curiosity. I’m not usually one to read political infused novels, but this one is so addictive it’s hard to resist.
I understand that Beatriz is a character from the reader favorite NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA. This novel stands eloquently on its own without reading the first one. However, having enjoyed WHEN WE LEFT CUBA immensely, I’m sure my curiosity will win and I’ll have to read the first book.
Politically-charged, full of glitz and glamour, as well as wartime intrigue, WHEN WE LEFT CUBA is absolutely fascinating. I grew up with the Cuban Revolution in the news, so it’s something I was aware of, but I didn’t really understand the significance.
This book is passionate, making me yearn to know the Cubans of this era. Chanel Cleeton writes a seamless story that captures your heart and sense of adventure – her historical knowledge of this situation shines through with compassion. The writing is gorgeous and the sexual chemistry sizzles. Highly recommend.
Reviewed by Dorine, courtesy of TheZestQuest.com. Digital copy provided by the publisher for an honest review. Thanks in advance for following links and sharing this review on social media.
When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton
Category: Multicultural Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Berkley (April 9, 2019)
Rated 5 out of 5 – Highly Recommended
Have some books swayed you from your normal preferences – which ones?