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Published by Berkley on April 9, 2019
Genres: Historical, Romance
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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...
I was provided a review copy by Berkley; this did not influence my opinion of the book.
❝Why does everyone assume I want marriage? That if I’m not someone’s wife, I’m not worth anything?❞
❝It’s not about marriage. You shouldn’t be anyone’s second choice. Don’t you want to be someone’s first choice?❞
❝I don’t want to be anyone’s choice. I want them to be mine.❞
WHEN WE LEFT CUBA was a dazzling portrayal of a strong-willed and self-assured Cuban refugee whose self-appointed mission to make Fidel Castro pay for the destruction of her country and family became her sustenance. It was her passion for love and revenge that helped her survive each day she was away from her homeland, and it was that drive that simultaneously allowed her to be true to herself and consequently, pushed away the ones she loved.
Beatriz Perez was a heroine in the days when being a formidable woman was not in vogue. Women from this era were encouraged to be demure so they could attract a husband. But Beatriz would not be overlooked. She would not shy away and hide her desires. She would fight for what she believed even if that meant giving up a future with the only man she ever loved.
Nicholas Randolph Preston III was a rising star on the political scene. He was a sitting US Senator whose political aspirations would one day have him running for the Presidency. He had everything he could ever want except the one thing he could never have, Beatriz Perez — it was her passion to bring about justice in Cuba that could be his political undoing. He struggled with his need to have her in his life and his sense of duty to his country. The two were mutually exclusive, to have one, meant to give up the other. Together, they shared secrets, laughter, and each others bed. But being together was never easy. Nicholas and Beatriz had to hide their love for one another, which meant secret rendezvous and stolen moments. Ultimately, there was too much between them. There were too many battles, too many wars to fight, and too many wrongs to right. Perhaps had they met at a different time …
❝It seems remarkably stupid to give my heart to a man who can never be mine.❞
Cleeton is immensely talented. She brilliantly brought her characters to life. Beatriz was strong and full of passion. Her sense of duty was thought-provoking, and her sense of self was admirable. Cleeton could have easily allowed a man to derail Beatriz or have a man fix her problems. But Cleeton stayed true to Beatriz’s character, making her story all the more powerful. Nicholas’s character was equally well-crafted and admirable. He was a dichotomy. Nicholas was a very powerful man, yet he could not (and would not try to) bring Beatriz to heal. Their love story was heart-wrenching, it was beautiful, it was timeless.
❝I love you. I will never love anyone as much as I love you.❞
I have no doubt WHEN WE LEFT CUBA will be at top of my Favorites for 2019!
An epic, unforgettable love story, WHEN WE LEFT CUBA, was a spellbinding, character-driven novel filled with intrigue, heartache, and romance. It is an absolute must read!
Learn more about When We Left Cuba including downloading the book club guide and more at: http://www.chanelcleeton.com/when-we-left-cuba
Praise for When We Left Cuba:
A thrilling story about love, loss, and what we will do to go home again. Utterly un-put-down-able. —PopSugar
A beautiful and utterly transporting novel. —Publisher’s Weekly
Bold, unconventional Beatriz makes a heroine for the ages…A thrilling, thought-provoking read —Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network
A gorgeously atmospheric homage to a country and a past that vibrates with emotion on every page. Historic events, espionage, and a Kennedy-esque romance make this novel a rich read, but the addition of a formidable heroine truly makes it unputdownable. This is not just historical fiction, but also an unrequited love story for a country and a way of life, as well as a journey of self-discovery for a woman torn between love and the two countries she calls home. —Karen White, New York Times bestselling author
Cleeton once again delivers a masterful tale of political intrigue tinged with personal heartbreak. Her ferocity and fearlessness can be found on every page, and Beatriz’s story—one of vengeance, betrayal, and bravery—astonishes and thrills. —Fiona Davis, national bestselling author of The Masterpiece
Atmospheric and evocative, When We Left Cuba captivates with its compelling portrayals of the glamorous Cuban exile community and powerful forbidden love set against the dangerous intrigue of the Cold War. Unforgettable and unputdownable! —Laura Kamoie, New York Times bestselling coauthor of My Dear Hamilton
By turns a captivating historical novel, a sweeping love story, and a daring tale of espionage—I absolutely adored this gem of a novel. —Jillian Cantor, author of The Lost Letter and In Another Time
Oozing with atmosphere and intrigue, When We Left Cuba is an evocative, powerful and beautifully written historical novel which had me completely captivated from the first page to the last. Take a bow, Chanel Cleeton! —Hazel Gaynor, New York Times bestselling author of The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter
With a sure hand for historical detail, an impeccable eye for setting, and a heroine who grasps hold of your heart and never lets go, Chanel Cleeton has created another dazzlingly atmospheric and absorbing story of Cuba and its exiles. A beautiful and profoundly affecting novel from a writer whose work belongs on the shelves of every lover of historical fiction. —Jennifer Robson, USA Today bestselling author of The Gown
Powerful, emotional and oh so real. One woman’s fight to reclaim her own country, against all odds and no matter what the cost is intertwined with the real history of our lifetime and creates an unforgettable story. —Rhys Bowen, New York Times and #1 Kindle bestselling author of The Tuscan Child and the Royal Spyness mysteries.
Scintillating…. An intriguing dive into the turbulent Cuban-American history of the 1960s, and the unorthodox choices made by a strong historical woman. —Marie Benedict, New York Times bestselling author of The Only Woman in the Room
Rich in historic detail, When We Left Cuba has it all—the excitement of a page-turning thriller, the sizzle of a steamy romance and the elegant prose of a master storyteller. —Renée Rosen, author of Park Avenue Summer
Cleeton draws you into the glamour, intrigue, and uncertainty of the Cuban exile community just after Castro’s coup through a heroine who could give Mata Hari a run for her money…. You’ll be rooting for Beatriz to change the course of history—and find her own hard-won happily ever after. —Lauren Willig, New York Times bestselling author of The English Wife
With a richly imagined setting and a heroine worth rooting for from the start, When We Left Cuba is thrilling and romantic, and timely to boot. —Michelle Gable, New York Times bestselling author of The Summer I Met Jack
A compelling unputdownable story of love—for a man, for a country, for a past ripped away, and a future’s tenuous promise. When We Left Cuba swept me away. —Shelley Noble, New York Times bestselling author of Lighthouse Beach.
Electric and fierce. Beatriz Perez’s romance with a handsome, important senator will sweep you away, but it’s her profound loyalty to Cuba and her formidable determination to be her own woman despite life-and-death odds that will really hold you in thrall. —Kerri Maher, author of The Kennedy Debutante
In a tale as tempestuous as Cuba itself, When We Left Cuba is the revolutionary story of one woman’s bold courage and her many sacrifices for her beloved country. An absolutely spectacular read! —Stephanie Marie Thornton, author of American Princess
Beatriz Perez’s brand of vintage-Havana glamour dazzles with equal parts intrigue, rebellion, and romance to make for an unforgettable story. —Elise Hooper, author of The Other Alcott