Next Year in Havana

by Chanel Cleeton

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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.

* * *

Next Year in Havana is an extraordinary and passionate book and a rollercoaster of emotions.

With this book, Chanel Cleeton delivers a poignant, resonant, and unforgettable novel about love, painful losses, sacrifices, and courage at different times of the Cuban history thanks to an engaging narration that alternates memories of Elisa’s past and the present life of her granddaughter, Marisol. Continue reading “Next Year in Havana”

Memory House (Review)

by Bette Lee Crosby

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Annie Cross is running from a broken love affair and the only thing she wants is to forget; but once she meets Ophelia Browne she just might discover there are far greater joys in remembering. 

Ophelia remembers everything. She remembers things from her own life and from the lives of those who came before her. She has only to touch her hand to an object and she can feel the special memories clinging to it. But now she is nearing ninety and needs to find a caretaker for these memories. If death comes before she finds someone, the memories will be lost forever. Ophelia prays this won’t happen.

When Annie shows up on the doorstep of the Memory House Bed and Breakfast Ophelia knows she is the one. Seldom has she come across such deep violet eyes, and never with the flecks of green that once could be seen in her own reflection.

The two women forge a friendship and forgotten memories begin to unfold, but before long a thread of violence starts to unravel and Ophelia fears things may have gone too far.

* * *

Memory House has captivated me from the first pages. With her delightful prose, Bette Lee Crosby has created a magic and fascinating storyline with wonderful characters and a very special and gifted bond, which left the reader fascinated and hopeful to discover more about Ophelia and Annie. Continue reading “Memory House (Review)”

Dear Dwayne, With Love (Review)

by Eliza Gordon

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Wannabe actress Dani Steele’s résumé resembles a cautionary tale on how not to be famous. She’s pushing thirty and stuck in a dead-end insurance job, and her relationship status is holding at uncommitted. With unbearably perfect sisters and a mother who won’t let her forget it, Dani has two go-tos for consolation: maple scones and a blog in which she pours her heart out to her celebrity idol. He’s the man her father never was, no boyfriend will ever be—and not so impossible a dream as one might think. When Dani learns that he’s planning a fund-raising event where the winning amateur athlete gets a walk-on in his new film, she decides to trade pastries and self-doubt for running shoes and a sexy British trainer with adorable knees.

But when Dani’s plot takes an unexpected twist, she realizes that her happy ending might have to be improvised—and that proving herself to her idol isn’t half as important as proving something to herself. Continue reading “Dear Dwayne, With Love (Review)”

Drawing Lessons (Review)

by Patricia Sands

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The author of the Love in Provence series returns to the South of France with a poignant portrait of a woman who must learn how to create a new life for herself…

Sixty-two-year-old Arianna arrives in the South of France for a two-week artists’ workshop full of anticipation but burdened by guilt. Back home in Toronto, she has been living with the devastating diagnosis of her husband’s dementia and the heartbreak of watching the man she has loved for decades slip away before her eyes. What does her future hold without Ben? Before her is a blank canvas.

Encouraged by her family to take some time for herself, she has traveled to Arles to set up her easel in the same fields of poppies and sunflowers that inspired Van Gogh. Gradually, she rediscovers the inner artist she abandoned long ago. Drawing strength from the warm companionship and gentle wisdom of her fellow artists at the retreat—as well as the vitality of guest lecturer Jacques de Villeneuve, an artist and a cowboy—Arianna searches her heart for permission to embrace the life in front of her and, like the sunflowers, once again face the light. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon)

Drawing Lessons is a fantastic portrait of a woman in her sixties, who suddenly must face suffering and loss, and fight again for her dreams. Patricia Sands has wonderfully presented all her characters. She has drawn them, like in a painting. While I was reading, I could actually see them, and all her descriptions have such strength and delicacy. Continue reading “Drawing Lessons (Review)”

Wish Me Home (Review)

by Kay Bratt

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

In her first work of contemporary women’s fiction, bestselling author Kay Bratt draws on her own life experiences to create a raw, yet inescapably warm, novel about friendship and a wary heart’s unexpected capacity to love.

A hungry, stray dog is the last thing Cara Butter needs. Stranded in Georgia with only her backpack and a few dwindling dollars, she already has too much baggage. Like her twin sister, Hana, who has broken Cara’s heart one too many times. After a lifetime of family troubles, and bouncing from one foster home to another, Cara decides to leave it all behind and strike out alone—on foot.

Cara sets off to Florida to see the home of her literary hero, Ernest Hemingway, accompanied only by Hemi, the stray dog who proves to be the perfect travel companion. Continue reading “Wish Me Home (Review)”

Everything the heart wants (Review)

by Savannah Page

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Writer Halley Brennan couldn’t dream up a better love story than her own. Married for eleven years, she and her husband, Adam, are still living their happily ever after. They both know what they want—and don’t want—for their life together. And that includes being child-free. But when one of them has a change of heart about wanting a baby, it brings their marriage and life plans into harsher focus.

Devastated that this bombshell might destroy their relationship, Halley finds comfort in her closest friends: Nina, who’s finally pregnant after years of trying; her sister, Charlotte, an overwhelmed mother of three; and Marian, a successful businesswoman who regrets letting go of her one true love. Continue reading “Everything the heart wants (Review)”