Tuesday, 7 July 2020

The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton

"The day we stop fighting for others is the day we might as well pack it all up and go home."

Chanel Cleeton has a gift for being able to seamlessly immerse her readers into a new time and place. This was true of Next Year in Havana, and it continues to be true for her newest release, The Last Train to Key West.

Set over Labor Day weekend in 1935, the lives of three women will intersect during the most powerful hurricane the area has ever seen.

This novel is told in three perspectives. Key West is all Helen has ever known, but she dreams of escape for herself, and for her unborn baby. Mirta arrives in the Keys on her honeymoon and is adjusting to her arranged marriage. She knows little of her husband but senses a growing attraction between them. Elizabeth arrives in Key West searching for her brother, a WWI veteran working in the camps nearby. She hopes that finding him may help save her once-wealthy family after the Wall Street crash of 1929. As the dangerous hurricane approaches, who will find what they are looking for in the end? 

I flew through The Last Train to Key West and finished it in two days. Chanel Cleeton writes strong women and characters that are easy to care for. Both the infamous Labor Day hurricane of 1935 and the dismissive treatment of WWI veterans were well-researched, and I learned quite a bit about both of these heartbreaking historical moments as a result. I love historical fiction that has an escapist story while simultaneously teaching me about a new time and place.

For me, so much of this book is about how we find moments to help when we can. What we do for others defines us, so how might we reach out or speak up when it's important? What doors will open when we do?

The Last Train to Key West is available now from your favourite library or bookseller. Enjoy!


Disclaimer - Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy of this book to review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

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