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The Cuban Heiress by Chanel Cleeton: A Book Review

The Cuban Heiress
Author: Chanel Cleeton
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: 2023
Pages: 304
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: In 1934, a luxury cruise becomes a fight for survival as two women’s pasts collide on a round-trip voyage from New York to Havana in New York Times bestselling author Chanel Cleeton's page-turning new novel inspired by the true story of the SS Morro Castle.


     New York heiress Catherine Dohan seemingly has it all. There’s only one problem. It’s a lie. As soon as the Morro Castle leaves port, Catherine’s past returns with a vengeance and threatens her life. Joining forces with a charismatic jewel thief, Catherine must discover who wants her dead—and why.


     Elena Palacio is a dead woman. Or so everyone thinks. After a devastating betrayal left her penniless and on the run, Elena’s journey on the Morro Castle is her last hope. Steeped in secrecy and a burning desire for revenge, her return to Havana is a chance to right the wrong that has been done to her—and her prey is on the ship.


     As danger swirls aboard the Morro Castle and their fates intertwine, Elena and Catherine must risk everything to see justice served once and for all.


     My Review: In 1934, Catherine Dohan and Elena Palacio board the SS Morro Castle, a cruise ship that makes a round trip from New York to Havana. Catherine is a fake heiress who plans to marry her rich fiancé. Elena wants revenge on the man who tried to kill her. These two women’s lives eventually intersect. Catherine helps Elena with her revenge.


     Catherine is a very likable protagonist. I found her to be very clever. I wondered if her charade as a fake heiress would ever be discovered. I liked her curiosity and how determined she was to learn secrets of those around her. There were some of her actions that seemed a bit absurd. Nevertheless, I thought she was a strong character. She was definitely capable of defending herself. Thus, I found her to be a fun protagonist.


     I thought that Elena was a more interesting character than Catherine. I wish there were more scenes from her perspective than Catherine’s. Elena is a tragic character. I could see why she wanted revenge. She was a very strong character. I rooted for her to not only carry out her revenge, but also for her to find happiness.


      Overall, this novel is about justice, trauma, and sacrifice. Despite the likable protagonists, however, other characters are very stereotypical. The Cuban Heiress is a predictable read. I was disappointed with the reveal. I didn’t think it should have been a twist. Instead, I think it should have been revealed in the beginning to understand the character’s motivations more clearly. I also didn’t like the romance and believe it to be instantaneous. Nevertheless, The Cuban Heiress was a short and easy read! It was enjoyable enough for me to read in one sitting! I had never heard of the SS Morro Castle shipwreck. Therefore, it was fascinating to learn a few details about the shipwreck! I recommend this book for fans of Surviving Savannah, Iceberg, and Luck of The Titanic!


Rating: 3 out of 5 stars


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