When We Left Cuba

When We Left Cuba

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 infiltrat...

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Title:When We Left Cuba
Author:Chanel Cleeton
Rating:

When We Left Cuba Reviews

  • Liz

    4.5 stars, rounded up

    When We Left Cuba picks up in time after Next Year in Havana. The Perez family, part of the Cuban sugar aristocracy, has landed in Palm Beach after the Cuban Revolution. Once again, Cleeton does a great job of combining an engaging story with a real feel for the time and place. This is historical fiction done right. Cleeton knows how to weave historic facts into the story in a seamless manner.

    This sequel focuses on a different Perez daughter. Driven by revenge, Beatriz Per

    4.5 stars, rounded up

    When We Left Cuba picks up in time after Next Year in Havana. The Perez family, part of the Cuban sugar aristocracy, has landed in Palm Beach after the Cuban Revolution. Once again, Cleeton does a great job of combining an engaging story with a real feel for the time and place. This is historical fiction done right. Cleeton knows how to weave historic facts into the story in a seamless manner.

    This sequel focuses on a different Perez daughter. Driven by revenge, Beatriz Perez makes contact with the CIA in an effort to return to Cuba and assassinate Castro. "It's strange to realize someone is your nemesis, and yet to them, you are little more than a faint murmur in the background of their lives."

    NYIH employed the two storyline, dual time frame approach. Here, it's a single story, straightforward approach, which I prefer. And while there is romance, it is not the whole story, far from it. We get politics, espionage, family and social issues as well.

    Beatriz is a fully formed character. Young, but in some ways an old soul because of what she has lived through. Although having written that, at times her recklessness made her age very much apparent. The two men in her life, Nick and Eduardo, were equally well formed and interesting, diverse characters.

    I loved NYIH, but I think I preferred this book.

    My thanks to netgalley and Berkley Books for an advance copy of this novel.

  • Susanne  Strong

    Beatriz Perez wants nothing more than to return to Cuba. Having been exiled to Florida after the Cuban Revolution is not what she had in mind. She has no interest in being a debutante like her sisters, nor does she have any interest in marriage. For Beatriz, the loss of her twin brother Alejandro, is excruciating thus all she wants is revenge. When the CIA recruits her as a spy, she jumps at the chance hoping that she can make Castro pay.

    What Beatriz doesn’

    Beatriz Perez wants nothing more than to return to Cuba. Having been exiled to Florida after the Cuban Revolution is not what she had in mind. She has no interest in being a debutante like her sisters, nor does she have any interest in marriage. For Beatriz, the loss of her twin brother Alejandro, is excruciating thus all she wants is revenge. When the CIA recruits her as a spy, she jumps at the chance hoping that she can make Castro pay.

    What Beatriz doesn’t count on, is meeting Nick, who captures every fiber of her being, and whose life is the exact opposite of hers. How will Beatriz’s need for revenge coincide with her need for a man she can’t get enough of?

    She will do whatever it takes to get what she wants. I liked her immediately and got wrapped up in this spy game, as well as the story of family, love, intrigue and vengeance. While I loved the character of Beatriz, I adored the character of Eduardo as well and would love to find out more about him one of these days (hint hint)!

    “When We Left Cuba” is the second book in the Perez family series by Chanel Cleeton, with “Next Year in Havana” being the first. While I liked “Next Year in Havana” - I absolutely LOVE Beatriz Perez’s story. I found her to be compelling, funny, intelligent and sassy. Perhaps it is her independence or her ability to face danger so willingly, whatever it is about her, it grabbed me.

    I highly recommend this to fans of historical fiction and those who love reading a good espionage story.

    Kudos also to Ms. Cleeton for the gorgeous cover! What a way to draw readers in.

    A huge thank you to Elisha at Berkley Publishing Group and to Chanel Cleeton for a galley of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

    Published on Goodreads on 12.11.18.

    Will be published on Amazon and Twitter on release date.

    Excerpt to be published on Instagram.

  • Marialyce

    4.5 stars

    I always find there is nothing better than reading a book that connects you to a time you so well remember. Such was the case in this wonderfully written story that Chancel Cleeton constructed for her readers.

    This story takes us into the life and times of Beatriz Perez, a strong willed, beautiful, independent woman who possesses great love and feelings for her native land. Her wish is to see Cuba become the place of beauty, family, and one that her memories so want it to be. However,

    4.5 stars

    I always find there is nothing better than reading a book that connects you to a time you so well remember. Such was the case in this wonderfully written story that Chancel Cleeton constructed for her readers.

    This story takes us into the life and times of Beatriz Perez, a strong willed, beautiful, independent woman who possesses great love and feelings for her native land. Her wish is to see Cuba become the place of beauty, family, and one that her memories so want it to be. However, this is the time of the advent of Castro, coming into power after the tyrannical reign of Baptiste. Beatriz wants to go home again, but the times thwart her heart's desire.

    She is beautiful, desired by many men, but she falls in love with a "Kennedyesque" senator, and their relationship, though loving and torrid for the times, only seems to be able to bring Beatriz pain, longing, and loneliness. Recruited by the CIA, she is determined to fight for her Cuba in any way she can even to the ultimate of murder and death. Her life becomes one of clandestine times with the Senator and plotting for the overthrow of Castro.

    One can not help but admire Beatriz as she is driven to try and recapture what was once hers and her family's. This story was told with the backdrop of the times, Kennedy as President, the Bay of Pigs failed attempt, the plight of the Cuban people both here and in Cuba, and the Missile crisis added such relevance and poignancy to this book. It was a time I so remember as the threat of nuclear destruction hung about our days and made the news reels each night scaring those who watched.

    Chancel Cleeton did a most admirable job weaving the story infused with so much historical significance with the life of Beatriz. I recommend this story most highly for its authenticity and its ability to present so well the wonderful ability of strength and resilience that so many woman of that time possessed.

    A special thanks to Susanne who sent this book to me after I mentioned I so wanted to read it.

  • Holly  B

    Beatriz Perez lives in exile in Palm Beach, Florida with her family, but Cuba forever lives in her heart. The family fled during the Cuban Revolution and they lost their family home and successful sugar field business. They are safe, but Beatriz has

    She isn't one to forget the past.

    Beatriz as a strong, independent and beautiful young woman and is known for catching the eye of many and is known to 

    .

    She is approached by the CIA and agree

    Beatriz Perez lives in exile in Palm Beach, Florida with her family, but Cuba forever lives in her heart. The family fled during the Cuban Revolution and they lost their family home and successful sugar field business. They are safe, but Beatriz has

    She isn't one to forget the past.

    Beatriz as a strong, independent and beautiful young woman and is known for catching the eye of many and is known to 

    .

    She is approached by the CIA and agrees to help them, but she is a not a trained spy.  Things could easily go wrong. 

    Many believe she can.

    Some cliff-hanger chapters steeped in suspense, a politically flavored romance and plenty of historic details made this one easy to pick up and hard to put down.

    Recommend to fans of Cleeton's debut novel,

    and those who enjoy historical fiction with a bit of glamour and suspense.

     Thank you Berkley and NG for my review copy! Out on April 9,2019

  • Angela M

    Political intrigue, history, wanting to know more about Cuba, and a love story were the things that attracted me to this book, as well as the fact that I enjoyed

    . It moved a little slowly at first. I didn’t feel immersed until a third of the way in and then I was taken in. I remembered that Beatriz Perez was Marisol’s great Aunt and Elisa’s sister from the previous book, but I don’t remember much more about her from the first novel. She turns out to be a spirited, independen

    Political intrigue, history, wanting to know more about Cuba, and a love story were the things that attracted me to this book, as well as the fact that I enjoyed

    . It moved a little slowly at first. I didn’t feel immersed until a third of the way in and then I was taken in. I remembered that Beatriz Perez was Marisol’s great Aunt and Elisa’s sister from the previous book, but I don’t remember much more about her from the first novel. She turns out to be a spirited, independent woman, who seems beyond her time in that she won’t follow her family’s wishes when it comes to a woman’s place in society - “that our parents consider marriage to be the final goal for us, our success ties to the men we catch rather than our own merits.” She follows her own heart, falling in love with a man, already engaged. Motivated by a desire to avenge her brother’s murder before they left Cuba and to avenge her family’s loss of home and fortune, she becomes involved with the CIA and wants to do whatever it takes to kill Castro.

    In a note , Cleeton says “While the Perez family and their friends are entirely fictional, the events in the novel were inspired by the tumultuous Cuban-American relations in the 1960’s.” She does a great job of depicting historical events of the 1960’s such as The Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missle Crisis and Kennedy’s asassination through the lives of these characters. I have to admit that Beatriz’s involvement in the CIA was a bit much for me at times as I am not a spy thriller reader and there were shades of that here. Having said that, I loved her character and admired her strength and independence. As in the first novel, I felt the author’s connection to the story through her heritage. I loved that the buried box appears here too. An engaging story.

    This was a Traveling Sisters read.

    I received an advanced copy of this book from Berkley Books through NetGalley.

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

    Beatriz Perez lost everything during the Cuban Revolution, including her family and her home, her beloved Cuba. The CIA recruits her to get close to Fidel Castro and his comrades.

    Now a spy, Beatriz is thirsty with revenge for all she’s lost. The Cold War is in full swing when Beatriz finds herself in love with power hungry man; a clandestine affair, and she knows it.

    Beatriz comes to a crossroads where she must choose between everything she holds dea

    ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

    Beatriz Perez lost everything during the Cuban Revolution, including her family and her home, her beloved Cuba. The CIA recruits her to get close to Fidel Castro and his comrades.

    Now a spy, Beatriz is thirsty with revenge for all she’s lost. The Cold War is in full swing when Beatriz finds herself in love with power hungry man; a clandestine affair, and she knows it.

    Beatriz comes to a crossroads where she must choose between everything she holds dear from her past and her hopeful, possibly steadfast future. Can she let Cuba go?

    When We Left Cuba is full of unexpected intrigue! I was on the edge of my seat with worry about Beatriz. One of the strongest aspects of the novel is its sense of time and place. Be prepared to be transported because you will be whisked away. The historical aspects are strong as well and seamlessly woven in. Of course, I have to mention the romance, which successfully amped up the suspense.

    Overall, When We Left Cuba is a formidable woman’s story of moving beyond a tragedy and seeking revenge but also balancing her desire for love at the same time. Will love or vengeance be the victor here?

    I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.

    My reviews can also be found on my blog:

  • Miranda Reads

    Beatriz is one of the Perez daughters - known for their

    in their homeland, Cuba.

    But they were forced to flee due to the revolution. And though her family has settled in Florida, and her father is bent on reforming the Perez family fortune, Beatriz cannot help but

    .

    Beatriz becomes consumed with the near-impossible goal - to destroy Fidel Castro.

    But making plans and

    Beatriz is one of the Perez daughters - known for their

    in their homeland, Cuba.

    But they were forced to flee due to the revolution. And though her family has settled in Florida, and her father is bent on reforming the Perez family fortune, Beatriz cannot help but

    .

    Beatriz becomes consumed with the near-impossible goal - to destroy Fidel Castro.

    But making plans and executing them are two different things.

    Beatriz manages to find contacts, ones who see eye-to-eye with her aspirations in the United States. She manages to become part of the CIA.

    The

    at the edge of the horizon, Castro's power grows ever stronger...

    Beatriz is set on her path to revenge...and yet...there is a man. A man who is

    A man who exceeds all her expectations,

    and one who represents everything she cannot have.

    One false move could cost everything - her country, her love, her life.

    This one has such a different feel from the first novel but was still so enrapturing.

    I feel like the author really did a fabulous job embodying such

    . Beatriz has such a different feel from Marisol/Elise from the first novel.

    Beatriz (Elise's sister), began as a rich, spoiled girl in the first novel but she grew and developed wonderfully in this novel.

    She may be high maintenance but she loved her country with all her heart, and was willing to do anything to protect it. She teetered between being fully independent and curling in on herself, wanting to hide from the world.

    I loved watching

    and the way she asserted herself (in a time where such assertions were wholly unexpected).

    The love story arced beautifully. Normally, I have issue when the love relies on passion and barely suppressed emotions, but Cleeton brings that about realistically.

    I do think that

    at times, especially with some of the detours into the intricacies in the Perez sisters' lives...but the imagery does make up for that.

    Overall, this is more of a companion novel than the sequel I expected - but all in all, I am more than satisfied with this experience. I'm so excited for Cleeton's next novel!

  • Warda

    As beautiful as I was expecting it to be.

    I was anticipating this book a lot since I read

    earlier this year and fell in love with it. The way that story concluded had me excited to see what Beatriz's story would be like and it didn't disappoint. She exuded a lot of strength, charm and beauty in the previous book and those qualities carry through in her own book.

    Beatriz is a defiant character. She has a reputation that follows her, but she couldn't care less. She's bold and br

    As beautiful as I was expecting it to be.

    I was anticipating this book a lot since I read

    earlier this year and fell in love with it. The way that story concluded had me excited to see what Beatriz's story would be like and it didn't disappoint. She exuded a lot of strength, charm and beauty in the previous book and those qualities carry through in her own book.

    Beatriz is a defiant character. She has a reputation that follows her, but she couldn't care less. She's bold and brave and pushed the standards of what it was like to be a woman in the 1960's. She set the societal standard for herself and I really appreciated that about her character.

    Chanel Cleeton can

    ! Her writing is full of passion, honesty and heart and I love how she manages to express and explain the political climate that was going on in Cuba (and the States) through her characters. The romance will cause you to have a fever. It's flawed and raw and your own heart has you feeling the emotional turmoil her characters are facing. It was constantly fluctuating between pain and pleasure.

    I couldn't get enough.

    -------------------

    One of my most anticipated books!

    From what I’ve gathered in ‘Next Year in Havana’, Beatriz is going to kick some major ass in this book.

  • Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)

    EEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeehhhhhhh. Not really sure how to rate this one as it just.. wasn't what I expected it to be? Which I guess is my fault. I went in wanting more romance but this was definitely more about espionage and like.. spy stuff? It wasn't a bad book, but it was just not my cup of tea.

  • Jen

    I think I’m going to get poo-pooed on for this review. Having read and adored Next Year in Havana, this one just fell flat for me. Too unrealistic.

    I love Cuba but this character? What happened to Beatrize? For a 22 year old she makes reckless decisions - which may be appropriate for her age- but for how intelligent she is supposed to be just didn’t jive for me.

    This one read more like a harlequin romance - hey I’m a sucker for a good love story every now and then- but I couldn’t buy into it. I’m

    I think I’m going to get poo-pooed on for this review. Having read and adored Next Year in Havana, this one just fell flat for me. Too unrealistic.

    I love Cuba but this character? What happened to Beatrize? For a 22 year old she makes reckless decisions - which may be appropriate for her age- but for how intelligent she is supposed to be just didn’t jive for me.

    This one read more like a harlequin romance - hey I’m a sucker for a good love story every now and then- but I couldn’t buy into it. I’m the cynic.

    Many raved about this one. For me, it made my eyes roll back a little too far in this head.

    And what is with the word “machination”? Editor, do you job. I saw that one one too many times and it made me cringe.

    3⭐️ for the history.

    Next....

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