Friday, 20 May 2016

Last Dance in Havana by Rosanna Ley

Cuba, 1958. Elisa is only sixteen years old when she meets Duardo and she knows he's the love of her life from the moment they first dance the rumba together in downtown Havana. But Duardo is a rebel, determined to fight in Castro's army, and Elisa is forced to leave behind her homeland and rebuild her life in distant England. But how can she stop longing for the warmth of Havana, when the music of the rumba still calls to her?

England, 2012. Grace has a troubled relationship with her father, whom she blames for her beloved mother's untimely death. And this year more than ever she could do with a shoulder to cry on - Grace's career is in flux, she isn't sure she wants the baby her husband is so desperate to have and, worst of all, she's begun to develop feelings for their best friend Theo. Theo is a Cuban born magician but even he can't make Grace's problems disappear. Is the passion Grace feels for Theo enough to risk her family's happiness?

I have been looking forward to reading Last Dance in Havana firstly because I have never read any of Rosanna Ley’s books and I love discovering new authors but also because I have always longed to visit Cuba and although my purse won’t allow me to go I thought this would be a perfect little teaser trip.

The storyline moves between two time frames Cuba in 1958 and England in 2012. We meet Elisa in Cuba when she is only a teen, she meets the love of her life Duardo in Havana as they danced the rumba but with the odds stacked against them will their love last the test of time. We meet Grace in England and we see early on that she has a very strained relationship with her father. She  is in a very difficult time of her life where she has come to a cross roads should she just take the easy safe path or should she follow her heart and turn her whole life upside down?

Eliza was such an endearing character who put everyone’s happiness and needs before her own and I just longed for a happy ever after for her. Grace was a more complex character and I found my feelings towards her constantly changing throughout the book. At times I was shocked by her actions and wanted to throttle her, then at other points I sympathised with her and hoped that she would make the right decision in the end. I found Grace’s story unpredictable I was sitting on the fence not sure which path she would chose.

Rosanna Ley has brought Cuba to life with her vibrant details, showing not only the charm of the country that draws people back but also showing the darker struggles the country and the Cubans have had to face. The author has quite clearly spent some time in Cuba and has absorbed a lot of Havana’s history. I found this such an evocative and charming read, my longing to visit Cuba has just magnified thanks to this book and I can’t wait to discover more of this authors books.

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