Reese Witherspoon has officially announced her next book club selection, and it’s a sweeping, engrossing novel: Chanel Cleeton’s Next Year in Havana.
Witherspoon announced the July pick on Instagram, holding up the book, with a caption that reads, “I can never resist a good romance, so I’m excited for the July @reesesbookclubxhellosunshine book pick: #NextYearInHavana by @chanelcleeton!”
“It’s a beautiful novel that’s full of forbidden passions, family secrets and a lot of courage and sacrifice,” Witherspoon added.
The book alternates between two heroines — Elisa Perez in 1958, a wealthy sugar heiress living on the precipice of revolution in Cuba, and her granddaughter Marisol in the present day as she travels to Havana to spread her grandmother’s ashes and uncovers family secrets in the process. Both women grapple with what it means to be Cuban, how to love one’s country when it becomes unrecognizable, and the challenge of choosing between what is easy and what is right.
EW reviewed the novel when it was released in February, giving it an A- and calling it “a sweeping love story and tale of courage and familial and patriotic legacy that spans generations.” This writer praised Cleeton’s “crisp interiority” and “poignant empathy,” writing, “the novel possesses a heady atmosphere tinged with romanticism and nostalgia, while also remaining remarkably circumspect about the tumultuous and complicated truths of Cuban history and politics.”
Publisher Berkley Romance tweeted about the book club selection, sharing Witherspoon’s photo and noting it is “incredibly thrilled, proud, and honored.” Author Chanel Cleeton also weighed in, writing, “I am so honored and just absolutely thrilled. I’m so grateful to everyone who made this possible.”
Cleeton has penned a sequel to the novel, titled When We Left Cuba, which will follow the life of Elisa’s older sister, Beatriz, who worked as a spy in efforts to reclaim her homeland. It will be released by Berkley in April 2019.