Friday, February 24, 2023

The Night Travelers by Armando Lucas Correa


In this sweeping tale that covers WWII through the transition of Cuba to communist power, readers will follow four generations through unimaginable suffering and heartache. The story begins with Ally, the mother of a biracial daughter during a time when prejudices ran deep. She and her mother became travelers in the night when the color of Lilleth's skin was hidden. A precocious, bright child, she was tutored by a neighbor professor and learned to love rainy days when she and her mother would explore the desolated streets of the city.

When it became clear that Lilleth would never be accepted in Germany, Ally asked a Jewish couple to take her with them to Cuba. They had lost their only son--one of the many tragedies of WWII and Ally knew her daughter would be safe with them. Lilleth and her adopted family were one of the few families allowed to disembark at Havana. But even there, Hitler's reach overshadowed them. They gave up speaking German, not knowing who may be spying on them.

Lilleth became fast friends with a young boy who lived next door and they were inseparable. As they matured, so too did their friendship and all seemed right with the world when Martin asked Lilleth to marry him. But her happiness didn't last long as one tragedy after another invaded Lilleth's life. And as she became a mother to Nadine, she became desperate to spare her child from the warring factions swirling in Cuba. 

Nadine grows and has a daughter of her own, Luna. Plagued by the tragedies of her predecessors and hoping to find some answers about her past, Luna and her mother venture to Cuba to discover the secrets that have been long buried. 

Spanning the years 1931 through 2015, the lives of four courageous, devoted women: Ally, Lilleth, Nadine, and Luna are brought to life. Each bears the scars of their own choices, and some also bear the scars of their mother's choices. But the thread that knits the 4 generations together is an abiding, sacrificial, unending love. 

As each generation is introduced, there are some details left to the reader's imagination. I almost wish the author had penned 4 separate books so that each generation could be fully fleshed out without skipping ahead in time. Overall, the story will give readers much to weep over and much to contemplate. While there is much darkness in this story, the ending provides a number of answers as well as a measure of healing.                            

Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of The Night Travelers from NetGalley for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

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