Review: Last Train to Key West: A Novel by Chanel Cleeton



My Interest

I loved the author’s previous books (see the bottom of the post for links to my review) so much that she is now a “must-read” author for me!’


The Story

Three young women have lives that are about to intersect. Mirta, the Cuban society girl married off to a mobster with a heart for her, Helen a waitress married to a cruel Cracker-fisherman and about to give birth to her first child, and Elizabeth, a once rich New York debutante whose family has lost all in the Crash of ’29.  Helen works in a small diner in Key West to which a quiet man comes to lunch. Elizbeth flirts all the way down on the train, catching the eye of a genial young man. And Mirta goes to her honeymoon with a man she has met only briefly.

Meanwhile, outside Key West there are scores of Great War veterans in camps–the Bonus Army that Douglas MacArthur and Dwight Eisenhower teamed up to run out of Washington, D.C. Conditions are deplorable. Many, if not most, of the men, suffer from “shell shock” as PTSD was known back then. Among them is Elizabeth’s brother–the brother she needs to find.

When a record-breaking hurricane hits, the story gets really interesting! [No Spoilers!]

My Thoughts

At first, I was disappointed that this book did not tie into either of her other books, but then I got into the story and didn’t care. I shouldn’t have worried–Cleeton is a masterful storyteller. No cliched storylines here! While she did occasionally use a modern term “give him his space” is an example, I really didn’t care. The story consumed me! I listened to the audio for 3 hours straight because I HAD to know the ending–and I was not disappointed at any point in the story. Admittedly, occasionally, Elizabeth was a touch too modern–especially on care for the veterans, but there WERE people like that so I let it go. I just loved the story so much.

Last Train to Key West: A Novel by Chanel Cleeton


My Rating

4 Stars


My reviews of Chanel Cleeton’s other books:




When We Left Cuba: A Novel by Chanel Cleeton





Next Year in Havana: A Novel by Chanel Cleeton




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