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Published by Penguin, Berkley on June 16, 2020
Genres: Women's Fiction
AMZ US iBooks Audible
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In 1935 three women are forever changed when one of the most powerful hurricanes in history barrels toward the Florida Keys in New York Times bestselling author Chanel Cleeton's captivating new novel.
Everyone journeys to Key West searching for something. For the tourists traveling on Henry Flagler's legendary Overseas Railroad, Labor Day weekend is an opportunity to forget the economic depression gripping the nation. But one person's paradise can be another's prison, and Key West-native Helen Berner yearns to escape.
The Cuban Revolution of 1933 left Mirta Perez's family in a precarious position. After an arranged wedding in Havana, Mirta arrives in the Keys on her honeymoon. While she can't deny the growing attraction to the stranger she's married, her new husband's illicit business interests may threaten not only her relationship, but her life.
Elizabeth Preston's trip from New York to Key West is a chance to save her once-wealthy family from their troubles as a result of the Wall Street crash. Her quest takes her to the camps occupied by veterans of the Great War and pairs her with an unlikely ally on a treacherous hunt of his own.
Over the course of the holiday weekend, the women's paths cross unexpectedly, and the danger swirling around them is matched only by the terrifying force of the deadly storm threatening the Keys.
I was provided a review copy by Berkley, Penguin; this did not influence my opinion of the book.
❝It’s strange how your life can change so quickly, how one moment you can barely eke by, desperation filling your days, and then suddenly, out of the unimaginably horrific, a glimmer of something beautiful can appear like a bud pushing through the hard-formed earth.❞
Do you ever get filled with such delight and happiness while reading that you can’t help but smile and release a huge sigh? Do you ever get filled with such fear or sadness that your heart is in your throat, and your whole body goes tense?
Those are what I experience while reading Chanel Cleeton’s writing. My favorite stories from her are the ones where she explores real-life circumstances and puts her twist on them. As if she researched some part of history and wondered about the people who lived them and felt the need to write their stories.
The Last Train to Key West was a beautifully written story about three women whose lives were turned upside down and intertwined, by The Great Labor Day Hurricane of 1935.
An abused wife of a fisherman, a young Cuban woman in an arranged marriage to a New York mobster, and a woman hoping to escape her impending marriage, one that her soon to be husband won as payment for a gambling debt, share their stories through alternating POV’s. These women continually faced trials and persevered non-the-less. Their strength was admirable. They search for a better life despite the situations and times in which they lived.
❝Why is it that when men approach women as conquests to be won they are lauded, but when women decide to go on a hunt of their own, they’re branded too aggressive, too eager, too greedy?❞
Deeply passionate, The Last Train to Key West was filled with hope and heartache, resilience and devastation, love and longing.