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Sarah Broadhurst's view...
The author was only nine months old when her family was forced to flee Cuba but this poignant tale is clearly based on their experiences. Starting in 1955, it takes us through the good times and the bad as an extended loving family fragments when Castro comes to power. Rich, informative, tender and sad, it conjures up the pull of one’s homeland, the pain of exile and the bond of families. I loved it. It has been shortlisted for the RNA prize which is announced on 14th April.
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Ghost Heart by Cecilia Samartin
It is 1955 and two cousins, Nora and Alicia, are growing up in Cuba, where the sea is a beguiling turquoise and at night the lights glitter like stars along Havana’s shoreline. But revolutionary storm clouds are gathering, and as Fidel Castro comes to power, banks are closed, religion outlawed, and food shortages begin. Nora and her family emigrate to California; Alicia and hers stay behind. But Nora has left her heart in Cuba with her cousin. As the years pass and she becomes a woman, Alicia writes of her marriage to Tony, the birth of her daughter, and the terrible privations ordinary Cubans are suffering.
When Tony is arrested for anti-revolutionary behaviour, and Alicia and her daughter’s survival becomes increasingly hand-to-mouth, Nora knows she must leave her privileged life in America, and return to help them. But Cuba, and Alicia’s life as a single parent, is like nothing she has ever imagined…
'Writes with shimmering grace about homeland and exile, passion and loyalty...A richly textured story, sensuous and haunting’ Janet Fitch, bestselling author of WHITE OLEANDER
'Ghost Heart is Samartin's debut novel and it has all the ingredients of a literary masterpiece and a bestseller. Her characters are alive and the descriptions of Cuba are enough to make one want to catch the next flight out there. An enchanting read, not to be missed' Handbag.com
'I dare anyone not to be moved...the book is ultimately uplifting - a testimony to the strength of love and the human spirit' Traveller magazine
About the Author
Publication date1st April 2005
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PublisherTransworld Publishers Ltd
CategoriesModern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
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