The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It’s a story of three women with vastly different lives and a hurricane headed for Florida that is going to upend every one of them. At the beginning of the book, their lives cross at a diner in Key West. Each also seems to have a knight in shining armor that will help them navigate through the story. There are also some abusive husband triggers with one of the women.
Helen is a pregnant waitress who is with an abusive husband. She is afraid that if she tries to escape, Tom will come looking for her and hurt her or the baby. There was also some references to previous pregnancies that ended in loss, so she is also constantly afraid she will lose this baby. Mirta is from Cuba and newly wed to someone she doesn’t know. Her dad had backed the wrong political power and after the politics shifted, she is told that she has to marry this gangster with ties to the new regime in hopes that it will save the family. And then Elizabeth, a once wealthy debutante whose family lost all their money in the stock market crash. She is engaged to someone but has run to Florida to try to find a man who will hopefully save her from this engagement and save the family that is falling apart.
There is profanity, but it’s not a significant part of the dialogue. There are kissing scenes and implications of more, but nothing quite graphic. And the violent content comes from the abusive relationship, and also a violent assault that ends in a death, as well as all the dead from this hurricane.
Overall, the story is fascinating. I had never heard of this hurricane that happened so soon after the stock market crash of 1929. It was interesting to see what else was going on at the time that we don’t usually discuss in history books. The story felt alive and moved well with the looming storm approaching. Plus, I love how everything connected in the end and there was a sense of hope for the future.
Have you read her previous two books which loosely tie in with this book…”Next Year in Havana” and “When We Left Cuba”? They gave me a better understanding of Cuba’s history while providing an entertaining storyline.
I have not! This is my first introduction to her work, but I will definitely add her other books to my TBR. I really like how she intertwines actual historical events with her characters. Especially on the topics I don’t know much about!
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