Thursday, January 14, 2021

Review: Find Me in Havana by Serena Burdick

Find Me in Havana
by Serena Burdick

Publisher: Park Row Books
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Cuba, 1936: When Estelita Rodriguez sings in a hazy Havana nightclub for the very first time, she is nine years old. From then on, that spotlight of adoration--from Havana to New York's Copacabana and then Hollywood--becomes the one true accomplishment no one can take from her. Not the 1933 Cuban Revolution that drove her family into poverty. Not the revolving door of husbands or the fickle world of film.

Thirty years later, her young adult daughter, Nina, is blindsided by her mother's mysterious death. Seeking answers, the grieving Nina navigates the troubling, opulent memories of their life together and discovers how much Estelita sacrificed to live the American dream on her own terms.

Kritters Thoughts:  A mother and daughter both take turns telling the story of the 1930s from California to Mexico to Cuba through many different types of drama and tragedy and how they each endured through it all.  Based in fact, this novel introduced me to a woman in Hollywood that I had no previous knowledge of and made me do some research to find out where fact met fiction.  

Estelita Rodriguez was a major film star, of Cuban descent, she ended up starring in nine Roy Rogers movies which made up a majority of her film career.  This book took place during quite a span of years, so the reader gets to see her before her career takes off and through and beyond her death.  

A minor hiccup for me in this book was the labeling of chapters.  Each started with mother or daughter and made it seem as though each chapter was written almost in letter form, but it really didn't read that way.  The chapter headers made the reading confusing and I had to write myself a sticky note, so I kept it straight as to who would be talking.  I think I would have labeled the chapters differently to make things a little easier to read.  

I did love that both characters were given the chance to tell their sides of the story throughout the book.  Seeing from Estelita, the mother's point of view, when she thinks she is doing what is best for her family and then Nina, her daughter, describing what she wished her mother would do or how she perceived the situations in a different way - it was interesting to see what mother daughter each wanted from the other.  

This was a good historical fiction in that it taught me about something I didn't know, but in an entertaining way.    

Rating: enjoyable, but didn't leave me wanting more

Ebook 2020 Challenge: 135 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Harlequin.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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