I’ve loved Cleeton’s first two novels: WHEN WE LEFT CUBA and NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA. Really got excited when I heard the title of this new one. Key West, one of my favorite places and a great place to set this novel.
Years ago Wes Standiford wrote a non fiction book called THE LAST TRAIN TO PARADISE. ( we have copies on our shelves right now at Copperfish)He told the story of the making of the overseas railroad that traveled through the Keys into Key West. He also told the horrific story of the unknown storm of 1935 that tore down the railroad and slaughtered hundreds of souls.
Now, Cleeton brings us a novel that encapsulates this and she brings this amazing historical event to life through the lives of three women from totally different walks of life.
THE LAST TRAIN TO KEY WEST is a very quick read. Cleeton’s fictional characters are so alive they practically leap from the page. Part romance, part suspense, THE LAST TRAIN TO KEY WEST introduces you to three courageous women who have survival skills galore. Helen is nine months pregnant and running away from an abusive husband. Elizabeth is a socialite escaping from , looking for her brother and wondering if she really should marry the man she’s engaged to. Mirta is a newly wed from Havana and on her honeymoon. Will her arranged marriage survive?
The ticking time bomb of eminent terror reaches hair-raising levels as the hurricane takes over the islands. Honestly, I could almost hear the clock ticking as the storm took over.
Cleeton has certainly done her research but it takes a great storyteller to be able to move people as she does in this novel. At least 400 people were lost in this devastating storm that was never even named. Civilians as well as WW1 vets who were building the railroad were all killed. We know now it was a 5 hurricane and we now have the technology to evacuate when a storm of this magnitude is upon us. Thank God.
What begins as a pretty light story quickly becomes a tightly written novel of survival and courage. Not to be missed.
I was lucky enough to read a review copy of THE LAST TRAIN TO KEY WEST provided by Berkley an imprint of Penguin Random publishing. I loved it!
You can pick up your copy of THE LAST TRAIN TO KEY WEST from Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, Florida. They are currently having an amazing sale through the weekend and this trade paperback book will be 30% off as will most of their inventory. I know I love a great sale and I bet you do too!