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The Last Train to Key West
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July 2020: Southern > The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton -- 4 stars

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Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton
4 stars

Chanel Cleeton has quickly established herself on my list of authors to consistently read. I love a good historical fiction and Cleeton is very good at crafting a compelling and engaging story!

Ms. Cleeton's third book takes us several decades before her previous two books and tells the story of three women: Mirta (who is the connection to the previous two books as she is the aunt of Elisa and Beatriz), Helen, and Elizabeth. Each woman is in Key West over Labor Day weekend 1935 and, conveniently, each of them has a man as a traveling companion for a bit of romance. They find themselves caught in the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, struggling to survive the storm as well as struggling to figure out their lives.

The story was thoroughly engaging. I found myself listening of an evening just to find out what happened next. For the most part, I liked the three women and admired their bold decisions for women of the 30s. The male characters were okay too. They tended to be more caricatures of male stereotypes and were just props against which the women shone. But I can handle a bit of that.

The things I like least were that the author didn't tie this book strongly to Cuba or the Perez family. In fact, it was clear that Marta was the connection to the other books, but it took me some time--and a visit to Cleeton's website--to figure out the tie-in. Also, there were an absurd number of coincidences that tied the lives of these three women together at the end. And, honestly, none of them were surprising. You could see them coming from a mile away. Finally, whichever narrator voiced the sections about Helen and John did a horrendous male voice. She kind of sounded like she was inspired by Christian Bale's Batman, it was so deep and raspy. Her female characters were fine and the other two narrators were excellent, but my word the voice of John was irritating.

All in all, a solid installment from Ms. Cleeton and, as always, I am interested in seeing what she comes up with next! In many ways, she reminds me more and more of Beatriz Williams, and that is not bad company to keep!

 Olivermagnus (lynda214) | 2277 comments I picked this up because of the beautiful cover. Haven't read it yet but I will now that I've seen your review.
The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton

message 3: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (joabroda1) | 8098 comments Great review Nicole. HF is one of my favorite reads too, and I am adding this one! Thanks for sharing.

message 4: by Amy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy | 9068 comments She is clearly and quickly emerging as one of my absolute favorite authors. Loved the first two. This is gone much higher on my list and will be gotten to by the fall.

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