Review – The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton

Posted May 28, 2021 by Carole in Reviews / 8 Comments

I received this book for free from the Publisher, Purchased. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review – The Last Train to Key West by Chanel CleetonThe Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton
Narrator: Kyla Garcia, Rachel L. Jacobs, Karissa Vacker
ISBN: 9780451490889
Published by Berkley Publishing Group, Penguin Audio on June 16, 2020
Genres: Fiction, Historical
Length: 9 hours 16 minutes
Pages: 320
Format: ARC, Audiobook
Source: Publisher, Purchased
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four-stars

In 1935 three women are forever changed when one of the most powerful hurricanes in history barrels toward the Florida Keys in New York Times bestselling author Chanel Cleeton’s captivating new novel.

Everyone journeys to Key West searching for something. For the tourists traveling on Henry Flagler’s legendary Overseas Railroad, Labor Day weekend is an opportunity to forget the economic depression gripping the nation. But one person’s paradise can be another’s prison, and Key West-native Helen Berner yearns to escape.

The Cuban Revolution of 1933 left Mirta Perez’s family in a precarious position. After an arranged wedding in Havana, Mirta arrives in the Keys on her honeymoon. While she can’t deny the growing attraction to the stranger she’s married, her new husband’s illicit business interests may threaten not only her relationship, but her life.

Elizabeth Preston’s trip from New York to Key West is a chance to save her once-wealthy family from their troubles as a result of the Wall Street crash. Her quest takes her to the camps occupied by veterans of the Great War and pairs her with an unlikely ally on a treacherous hunt of his own.

Over the course of the holiday weekend, the women’s paths cross unexpectedly, and the danger swirling around them is matched only by the terrifying force of the deadly storm threatening the Keys.

What a great book! I am so glad that I finally got around to tackling this book. I had a feeling that I would like this book and boy was I right! It was easy to lose myself in the story and I felt myself caught up in the characters’ lives more and more as I worked my way through the book. I am so glad that I decided to grab the audiobook since the narrators really took this book to the next level.

This book is told from three points of view. All three of the women at the heart of the story were strong women facing a pivotal moment in their lives. Throw in a natural disaster and you have the makings of a fantastic story. I really liked all three of the women in this book but I have to admit that Helen held a special place in my heart in this story. The paths of these women cross at a small diner in Key West and I couldn’t wait to see how they would meet again.

I loved the characters in this book. Helen is a waitress at the restaurant where she meets the other women. She is heavily pregnant and married to an abusive husband. Mirta stops into the restaurant fresh from Cuba with her new husband and is just trying to make sense of her new life. Elizabeth makes her way to Key West to find a man only to learn that he is most likely to be found at one of the veteran’s camps. These three women are all facing major challenges and I really enjoyed seeing them find their own inner strength.

The story was really exciting. There were some pretty scary moments for these women and there were times that I wasn’t sure how things would work out. I loved that there was a bit of romance worked in because I think it added a lot to the story. There was a bit of a puzzle as to how these three lives would come together and as the pieces snapped into place, I was sometimes quite surprised.

Kyla Garcia, Rachel L. Jacobs, and Karissa Vacker did a wonderful job with the narration of this book. I liked the fact that their voices were all very different because that made it very easy to tell whose point of view the story had moved to. I think that they all were able to voice multiple characters quite well and I loved how much emotion and excitement they were able to add to their reading. I believe that their narration added to my overall enjoyment of the story.

I would recommend this book to others. This was a very well told story that featured some remarkable characters. I love that some events from the past that I had never heard of were woven into the story. I will definitely be looking out for futures books by Chanel Cleeton.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via Edelweiss and purchased a copy of the audiobook.

About Chanel Cleeton

Originally from Florida, Chanel Cleeton 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 and Political Science. Chanel also received her Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law.

8 responses to “Review – The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton

  1. I have read several rave reviews about this book. I have been meaning to try this author. Hopefully one day.

  2. I was fascinated by the event she focused on and the other parts of that time period Cleeton incorporated. She wove the three women’s stories together so well too.