Friday, July 1, 2022

Book Review: Our Last Days in Barcelona by Chanel Cleeton

Pages: 320
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: May 24, 2022
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "When Isabel Perez travels to Barcelona to save her sister Beatriz, she discovers a shocking family secret in New York Times bestselling author Chanel Cleeton’s new novel. Barcelona, 1964. Exiled from Cuba after the revolution, Isabel Perez has learned to guard her heart and protect her family at all costs. After Isabel’s sister Beatriz disappears in Barcelona, Isabel goes to Spain in search of her. Joining forces with an unlikely ally thrusts Isabel into her sister’s dangerous world of espionage, but it’s an unearthed piece of family history that transforms Isabel’s life. Barcelona, 1936. Alicia Perez arrives in Barcelona after a difficult voyage from Cuba, her marriage in jeopardy and her young daughter Isabel in tow. Violence brews in Spain, the country on the brink of civil war, the rise of fascism threatening the world. When Cubans journey to Spain to join the International Brigades, Alicia’s past comes back to haunt her as she is unexpectedly reunited with the man who once held her heart. Alicia and Isabel’s lives intertwine, and the past and present collide, as a mother and daughter are forced to choose between their family’s expectations and following their hearts."
The year is 1964 and if you've read Cleeton's other novels, you know the Perez family is in Florida, away from their beloved home in Cuba, thanks to the Castro's revolution. While they have started new lives in Florida, they can't deny how Cuba still calls to them. Isabel, the oldest Perez daughter, travels to Barcelona, because she is worried about her sister, Beatriz. She hasn't heard from her and Isabel worries that she has tangled herself up in something dangerous. While searching for Beatriz in Barcelona, Isabel comes across a very curious photo of their mother, Alicia, with a young Isabel, and a strange man in Barcelona. How can this be? Jump back to 1936, Cleeton takes us to Spain when Alicia visited after she found out her husband was cheating on her.  While in Spain, Alicia reconnects with a former love and there's much more family drama enroute.  Chanel Cleeton's Our Last Days in Barcelona is another great addition to the Perez family story. While it wasn't my favorite in the series, it was definitely an engaging historical tale.

Isabel is a character you immediately are drawn to in Our Last Days in Barcelona. How could you not feel for her as she sister has pretty much vanished and it's up to her to get some answers. Thanks to Beatriz's friend, Diego, Isabel has some leads. What was Beatriz up to in Spain? Was she working with the CIA and more importantly, did her being in Spain have something to do with the picture Isabel found of their mother in Spain with an unknown man?

Cleeton then fills in the blanks by taking us back to Spain in 1936 with their mother, Alicia, who is visiting her sister who finds herself pregnant and unmarried. The Perez women have a strong sense of duty to their families and have more in common than initially thought. The Perez women, although separated by many years, have to deal with war and lives being torn about; in turn, it has caused them to be extremely brave and resilient. I liked Alicia's story and learning more about what brought her to Spain, what Spain was like before war broke out, and how she was going to help her sister who was most definitely in a jam.

What I like most about Our Last Days in Barcelona is Cleeton's ability to bring the time periods to life so well.  Whether it be in Cuba, Spain, or Palm Beach, Cleeton brings the setting to life as well as the politics, but without it being too heavy. Spain was on the brink of war during Alicia's visit and Cleeton was able to highlight that well and really set the stage. Lastly, I really enjoyed the espionage parts of this story as well as the unearthing of family secrets and how that impact's Isabel's life in 1960s.

Even though this wasn't my favorite of Cleeton's novels, I think her fans will still enjoy Our Last Days in Barcelona and appreciate this mother/daughter story complete with politics, espionage, romance, and adventure. I look forward to reading the next installment in the Perez family's saga.

So, are you a fan of Cleeton's novels? Is Our Last Days in Barcelona on your TBR list? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 


  1. I always love the way she brings a setting to life, and the way she crafts such amazing female characters!

    1. Agreed! I really enjoy the Perez family. Thanks for dropping by, Angela!


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