Wednesday 22 June 2016

Review ~ Last Dance in Havana by Rosanna Ley for the Quercus Summer Reading Group...

Jaffareadstoo is thrilled to be part of the Quercus Summer Reading Group and to start off - here's the first book in the chosen selection of great summer reads.

#Quercus Summer

May 201

A bit of blurb...

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 shoulderto 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?

From bestselling author Rosanna Ley comes an exotic tale of love, family and friendship set between England and Cuba.

My thoughts...

First off, I love this cover and want to be in that square in Havana and be the girl in the red dress, and such is the emotional pull of the story that even before the book is opened you are taken into another world.

The story opens in Havana, 1957 and the lure of dancing the rumba entices fifteen year old Elisa to dance in the back street nightclub at La Cueva with the charismatic and enticing Duardo, who holds her in a close embrace as they dance to the passionate resonance of the rumba beat.

Moving forwards and backwards in time and swaying with  its own particular rumba beat, we journey beyond the troubled arena of 1950s Havana and move to Bristol in 2012, where we pick up the story of Elisa and of her connection to Grace, a troubled young woman who has more than her share of heartbreak.

I loved the whole premise of the story, the way it moved effortlessly between time frames and of the thread of passion which runs throughout the novel, drawing you into the dual story of Elisa and Duardo and of the love triangle between Grace, Robbie and Theo.

It's the sign of a good story, I suppose when you don't want it to end, and Last Dance in Havana is one of those books which, once started, is difficult to put down.  I found that I wanted to get back to the story at every opportunity, and when the story had ended, I was sad because I knew that I was having to say goodbye to characters who, over the space of a few hours, I had come to regard as friends.

I really hope that Last Dance in Havana is going to be one of those splendid summer novels which is lovingly packed away in hand luggage and is then taken on holiday.  It would be especially lovely if someone would take a copy back to Havana and maybe, sip a cocktail or two, and watch a couple like Elisa and Duardo dance their own very special rumba.

Best Read with....A dish of chicken with black beans and a delicious concoction of cold milk with chocolate and honey...

About the Author

Rosanna Ley has written numerous articles and stories for magazines. A long-time creative writing tutor, she now runs writing holidays and retreats in stunning locations in the UK and abroad. When she is not travelling, she lives in west Dorset by the sea.

Rosanna Ley

Visit the author's website

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Follow on Twitter @RosannaLey

Amazon UK

My thanks to Quercus for the opportunity to be part of this Summer Reading Group

Here's my photo of Last Dance in Havana whilst reading on a summery day in my garden


Happy Summer Reading !


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