May 24, 2022
Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Spain
*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
Thanks #NetGalley @BerkleyPub #BerkleyWritesStrongWomen #BerkleyBuddyReads for a complimentary eARC of #OurLastDaysInBarcelona upon my request. All opinions are my own.
In 1964, Isabel Perez travels to Barcelona to check on her sister Beatriz after the family loses contact with her. The family is worried about her disappearance because they fear Beatriz may be involved in espionage. Isabel meets a (handsome) gentleman friend and coworker of Beatriz’s who helps locate Beatriz. While in Barcelona, Isabel stumbles upon an old picture that causes her to question her family history. The story takes us back to 1936 as family secrets are revealed.
Dependable Author: Having read three of Chanel Cleeton’s most recent releases, I’ve deemed her a reliable, auto-buy author. What I love most about Cleeton’s stories is the easy way she engages readers. I’m invested in the story from page one. Even though her stories have a vivid historical sense of place, we are never overwhelmed with historical facts. In my mind, I categorize her stories as women’s fiction in a historical setting. For me, her writing style is “easy reading” and I can fly through her books. This does not mean that she sacrifices substantial content or thoughtful themes. Other books I’ve reviewed are The Last Train to Key West and The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba. (I have not read her first two books.) Our Last Days in Barcelona and the other two I’ve reviewed would make page-turning summer reads.
Characters: Do you love complicated family drama? Although Cleeton’s main characters in each book are all connected to the Perez family of Cuba, each book can be read as a stand-alone. In dual timelines, Our Last Days in Barcelona shares the story of Isabel (1964) and her mother (1936). They are each inspiring, independently minded, strong, and brave women. We see how cultural expectations, family traditions, and circumstances attempt to shape their lives.
Lovely Ending: Cleeton writes satisfying endings for her stories. I love how the two timelines of Our Last Days in Barcelona come together. The story has an especially satisfying ending tied up in a big fluffy bow.
Themes: Thoughtful themes include mothers and daughters, family loyalty, sibling conflict and devotion, independence, taking risks, friendship, reconciliation and forgiveness, living in times of civil war and political unrest, and desperate measures in desperate times.
Recommended: Readers who are looking for non-WW11 histfic will appreciate Our Last Days in Barcelona, and fans of substantial women’s fiction will be delighted. A thoughtful beach read for summer! Rich discussion possibilities also make this an engaging book club selection or buddy read.
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
Meet the Author, Chanel Cleeton
Chanel Cleeton is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick Next Year in Havana, When We Left Cuba, The Last Train to Key West, and The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba. Originally from Florida, Chanel grew up on stories of her family’s exodus from Cuba following the events of the Cuban Revolution. Her passion for politics and history continued during her years spent studying in England where she earned a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Richmond, The American International University in London and a master’s degree in Global Politics from the London School of Economics & Political Science. Chanel also received her Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law.
Learn more about her on her website at http://www.chanelcleeton.com.
Is Our Last Days in Barcelona on your TBR or have you read it?
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