A book that weaves together the stories of remarkable women always hits my sweet spot, so when I picked this book up thinking I would do just a little lazy Saturday morning reading, I soon realised I could not put it down. Each character is so unique and interesting, and written so incredibly well, that within just a few pages each already feels like a living, breathing person. It takes no time at all to get completely invested into their lives ... Without a doubt, this is one of those books that as soon as you finish it you will be handing it off to your best friend. It is a great book club selection, and will make the perfect summer beach read. I highly recommend it especially for fans of Chanel Cleeton’s previous novels as well as fans of All the Ways We Said Goodbye or Fountains of Silence. This is another masterwork of historical fiction.
The story, the characters, the setting and the situation all lead to a thrilling climax. Cleeton does a magnificent job describing the fury of the hurricane, right down to the stinging sand moving at such a velocity that it causes bleeding on the skin. Roofs ripped from houses, whole buildings flung around like paper, railroad cars tossed in the water --- it’s all so vivid as we feel like we’re experiencing the storm firsthand. We can see, taste and smell the salt air on the beach, as well as the stagnant rotting in the veterans’ camps. We see the beauty of the Keys, the worst side of nature, and the fortitude of women who must stand up for themselves.
... an intimate tale of survival, love, and courage ... The novel's imminent danger, its ticking clock, is the hurricane, but the three main characters and their complicated relationships really deliver the tension ... The narrative jumps between Helen, Mirta, and Elizabeth, but each character resonates from chapter to chapter, and heightening the tension. And Cleeton keeps the surprises coming: Each woman is distinct in voice, manner, and goals, and the pace of the story never slows ... The book is a bit dialogue-heavy at times, and I could've used a few more descriptions, a little more time spent with each character — especially once the storm struck, and in its immediate aftermath. But overall, The Last Train to Key West blends danger, intimacy, history, and suspense in a taut, romantic story I didn't want to end.