Beatriz Perez fled Cuba with her family five years ago, after the
revolution that put Fidel Castro in power, forcing them to leave after
tragedy hit their family and Beatriz' twin brother, Alejandro, is killed.
Beatriz and her sisters had been Cuban socialites, gracing the society
pages of the local papers, shopping for best and newest clothes
whenever they wanted, and dazzling everyone they met. But in South
Florida, the once wealthy and powerful Perez family struggle to gain a
place among America's upper-crust. Beatriz, however, beguiling and
beautiful as ever, attracts attention wherever she goes and has been
proposed to no less than five times. On the night of her most recent
public proposal - and refusal, on her part- Beatriz is entranced by Nick
Preston, a young and promising handsome senator, a close friend of
President Kennedy, and recently engaged himself. Their attraction is
certain, immediate, and neither of them can stay away no matter how
much they try...
In addition to Nick, Beatriz catches the eye of CIA operative, Mr. Dwyer,
who wants Beatriz for very different reasons. Unbeknownst to most of
the US government, the CIA is trying to infiltrate Fidel's inner circle,
and knowing Fidel's affection for pretty women, Dwyer thinks Beatriz is
perfect for the job. Her tumultuous-yet-loyal connections to Cuba make
her the perfect double agent, and Beatriz wants nothing more than to
kill the man responsible for her brother's murder. As Beatriz gets more
involved with the CIA, her tenuous relationship with Nick is put to the
test. Can they beat insurmountable odds to be together?
WHEN WE LEFT CUBA is a
gorgeously written historical fiction novel by Chanel Cleeton, which
tells the story of Beatriz Perez, the sister of Elisa Perez, the main
character of NEXT YEAR IN
HAVANA, which I loved. Beatriz is a formidable, beautiful, and
seductive character - she practically jumps off the pages of this book.
Her story is one of sacrifice, passion, and self-discovery. She gets
involved in so many things considered risky - student groups during the
revolution in Cuba, then with an engaged senator in America, as well as
the CIA. There's quite a bit of this novel, especially in the latter half,
where Beatriz simply listens to men explains things to her, be it her
lover Nick, her CIA contact Dwyer, her brother's best friend Eduardo, or
even Fidel Castro. For a character set up to be so independent and
confident, she endures quite a bit of mansplaining and I was waiting for
a moment when she'd step in and say something back. Beatriz's
internal dialogue was dynamic and smart, and I wanted her to voice her
opinion more. The chemistry between Beatriz and Nick is palpable and
there's no denying they truly care for one another; I hoped they could
find a way to be together! Beatriz's time spent as a double agent didn't
grab me as much as I expected it to, but I liked the drama and
reflection it leads to for her. Still, I found WHEN WE LEFT CUBA to be a captivating and
engaging novel, one that shed light on important historical events: the
Bay of Pigs, the Cold War, and Kennedy's assassination from the
perspective of a woman trying to decide where her loyalties lie - with
the home country that betrayed her, the new country that took her in,
or to the man who steals her heart?
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
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...