The Ending of Next Year in Havana

book cover of Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

Next Year in Havana is a historical fiction written by Chanel Cleeton, and it is also a romantic book.

The story, “The Secrets of Cuba,” is both informative and emotionally captivating as it explores the rich culture and history of Cuba. In the course of the story, Marisol uncovers family secrets and follows in the footsteps of Elisa, retracing her journey. During her trip to Cuba, Marisol not only bids farewell to her grandmother but also learns about her grandmother’s upbringing and the fascinating history of Cuba. The book tells the story of two women, Elisa and Marisol, who were separated by decades but are connected through their shared Cuban heritage.

The primary topics in the book include affection, kinship, individuality, and governance.

Spoilers ahead.

A Surprise Meeting

He continues to work within Castro’s perspective, trying to create change. Pablo chose to move on from his life in Cuba and marry Elisa. He showed Pablo pictures of him with Elisa and told him that they had a child together. When Pablo went to the US for business, he tracked down his father’s offices and saw that they had enough wealth outside of Cuba to rebuild a successful company.

Pablo informed Marisol that he would not do anything to make the situation worse for Luis and that he would only try to use his influence to get him out for the next day. He asked her to trust him.

Marisol Visits Cuba

The book commences in Havana, Cuba, in 1959. The story unfolds from Elisa’s viewpoint, precisely at the airport, as the Perez family flees their residence to evade Castro. Being affiliated with the previous government under Batista, the Perez family, who belonged to the affluent social stratum, became the focus of Castro’s attention.

The Perez family, consisting of the parents and four sisters, is leaving Cuba, with the hope of being able to return in a few years. They are leaving behind all their possessions, only taking one suitcase each, and are not permitted to bring any of their valuable belongings.

Arriving home in Cuba feels like landing. Marisol, a Cuban, feels like she has grown up in the Miami community of exiles. She wishes to honor her grandmother Elisa by smuggling her ashes back to Cuba. She is headed there in 2017, and next, we will meet Marisol’s granddaughter Elisa.

Marisol is visiting Havana to learn about Ana’s family, under the pretext of being a journalist writing a lifestyle piece about Cuban-American relations. During her brief stay, she will be staying with Ana and her family, while her childhood friend Elisa Rodriguez’s grandson, Luis, picks her up from the airport.

Luis, Professor, and Rebel

Life in Cuba is mostly comfortable but also challenging, allowing them to live a comfortable life by Cuban standards. However, their supplemental income is worth only a fraction of Cuban pesos, which the government uses to set a fixed monthly amount that each person should be paid. The government also allows them to access pesos convertible, which is given to them by the paladar. The family runs a paladar and has divided their house into apartments where other families live. Ana’s husband, Luis, meets his wife and mother in the house, but Marisol is attracted to him and thinks he is married.

Communication and transportation between their respective nations are costly and challenging. They are uncertain about the feasibility of continuing their relationship after Marisol’s visit, but they embark on a romantic journey. This creates an opportunity for Marisol to reciprocate the strong connection she experiences with Luis upon learning about his divorce. Due to financial constraints and the scarcity of housing in Cuba, his ex-wife still resides with him and their family. As they explore Havana together, their attraction intensifies. Being a professor at the University of Havana, Luis is well-positioned to provide her with a guided tour of the city and impart his knowledge of Cuban history.

Marisol comes to know that Luis is a revolutionary as he writes about this caught attention of the regime on a blog, although he feels responsible for Cuba’s progress and feels that he has no choice but to struggle. He understands the threat to his family and himself.

Caught by the Regime

Luis believes that the regime is monitoring him, which may intensify her investigation and exploration of the past. He is aware that Marisol’s great-aunts provided her with guidance to exercise caution before her departure to Cuba.

Guillermo, a friend of Pablo who had been told about Elisa’s thoughts on death, died. Pablo had almost died in the battle. Marisol finds out the missing part of the puzzle and they both learn a little about each other. They sit together in a room, and Marisol recognizes her grandfather. Luis and she are individually kidnapped, and on their first fancy date, they are taken.

Once Elisa’s father was imprisoned by the Battista regime, Pablo managed to get favors in order to release him. Elisa promised that she would not see Pablo again, as it would cost her dearly. However, when Pablo discovered that Che had helped him get Elisa’s father released, he realized that the Perez family was the target. He used his influence with Che to ensure that he would come for Elisa, as he loved her and wanted to make sure she was safe. Elisa gave him a message to let him know that she was safe and that he could come for her. Her father had never told her. Pablo went looking for Elisa once he realized she was gone and thought she was dead.

Back in the USA

Smoothly, Luis and Marisol successfully reach Antigua and the US. The Perez family, who successfully secured his entry, organized an immigration attorney for Luis.

Although it may not have started in that manner, Beatriz clarifies that the affection between Elisa and her spouse was genuine. Provided they manage to reach Cuba, Pablo desires to meet them, and Marisol assures Beatriz that she will impart her knowledge about Pablo to her father and sisters. Beatriz was aware of Elisa’s undisclosed information, and Marisol uncovers it. They converse about Luis and Elisa, and her aunt Beatriz is most probably the one who knows the family mysteries. Consequently, Marisol pays her a visit.

Elisa’s Box of Secrets

Marisol felt like she was part of a secret family that discovered Cuba. She had never looked inside the box while storing it. Ana dug up the box from the backyard, which was taken over by Russian diplomats after Elisa instructed Marisol to keep it. Elisa used to wear a necklace and a ring when she was with Pablo. He had given her his grandmother’s ring as a promise and he wrote letters to Elisa, giving her a white rose on their first date. When Ana gives Marisol the box of treasures that Elisa had buried in the backyard of the Perez home, Marisol finds the white rose.

The narrative alternates between different time periods. We gain insight into the past through Elisa’s correspondence with Pablo. Certain sections of the tale unveil themselves to us, despite Marisol’s lack of complete knowledge from the discovered letters. There are specific chapters that focus on Elisa’s life in Cuba. The story moves back and forth in time.

We want to learn how Alejandro’s parents, Perez and Beatrix, cast him out of the family because of his political activities. Alejandro continued to fight in the revolution against Battista, but once Castro took power, he started wiping out his opponents. Shortly before the ceremony, Cuba left him buried in a private ceremony outside the gate.

Luis’ Release

The following day, Marisol found out that Pablo resided just one block from her, in a splendid residence with a breathtaking sight of the ocean. He informed her that he was putting efforts into securing Luis’s release, and advised her to anticipate further information from him.

Luis is even more persuasive. Marisol calls her sister to arrange an escape for Pablo, which makes it possible. Luckily, Perez’s company has a plane. They can go to the US on a chartered plane, and they can also go to Antigua. He tells them that they need to leave the country as soon as possible, so they need to leave for Antigua. Pablo has accidentally created a small window that looks like Luis has been released. He is bruised and beaten up. Later, Luis brings Pablo to Ana’s home.

Convinced by those outside the nation, they ultimately persuade him that he has the ability to discover a method to advocate the Cuban population. Together with Marisol, they assist him in making the decision to depart. However, Luis’s mother Caridad and Ana have no desire to abandon Cuba, forsaking their homeland and fellow citizens.

Another Family Secret

Extended secret the far how, knew Elisa’s sisters if knew, wonders if her grandfather knew that her child’s biological father wasn’t him. This brings up all sorts of questions about the relationship. Pablo, the father of the baby, died while fighting to oust Battista with Castro. Marisol learns that Elisa was already pregnant when she left Cuba while visiting Magda, the old nanny Perez.

Final Resting Place

Farewell appears fitting. Pablo was one of Elisa’s favorite places and the location of their first date. Before leaving Cuba, Elisa releases her ashes along the Malecon, with Pablo and Marisol by her side, on this night.

The Ending of the Story

“When they toast it, the words ‘Next year in Havana’ take on a whole new meaning. Marisol and Luis, who are having dinner, have been working together on an article attempting to call for change in Cuba and get the international community to take action. As the story ends, they are working to bring about a change.”

Elisa’s final section depicts her love for Juan and their son Miguel, set on a beach in 1970. However, this love is different from the steady, true, and strong love she once felt for Pablo. Juan’s love for Miguel is like that of a biological parent, and their love for each other is mutual.

Miguel and Pablo are together on day One. She imagines that Malecon will be like heaven and she thinks about how Pablo’s eyes are seen in Miguel’s face. Miguel and Pablo will stroll along Malecon, and she can see herself in a white dress imagining that, while she is standing in West Key wearing a pink dress. Elisa ends up in Havana, looking towards Cuba, with a visual of 90 miles away in the Next Year.

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