A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey

“Thing is, when you put something back together it’s never exactly the same as it was before.”
― Laura Taylor Namey, A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow

A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey is gorgeously written, exactly what my heart needed. Even though this cover is bubblegum pink, it deals with heavy topics like grief and heartbreak in a sensitive manner. The writing pulled me in from the start with richly descriptive settings and characters that popped off the page.  (FYI the companion book, A British Girl’s Guide to Hurricanes and Heartbreak, is set to be released at the end of September 2023 and I CANNOT WAIT!)

Lila Reyes did not have ‘spend a summer in England’ on her wishlist after graduation. If everything had worked out the way she planned, she would be moving in with her best friend, taking over as head baker at her abuela’s bakery, and spending more time with her boyfriend. Her plans destroyed when the Trifecta happened. Lila, like her plans, fell apart.

After a twenty mile run leaves Lila crying in a field and her family searching for her, her parents, worried about her mental health, send her to Winchester, England for three months. Her instructions are to relax, reset, and recharge. A complete change of scenery is in order, which combined with a family member she hasn’t seen in years has the possibility to rejuvenate her(if Lila would open up a bit). The lack of anything Miami, no sun, no flavorful food, and grumpy people has Lila anxious and wishing desperately to go back home to Miami.

Lila’s attitude changes when she meets Orion Maxwell. Orion is a clerk in his family’s teashop. He doesn’t swoop in to solve Lila’s problem, quite the opposite. Orion has his own heap of problems, helping him understand that Lila needs an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on. Volunteering to be her personal tour guide, Orion takes Lila on trips across the English countryside, showing her that England isn’t as bad as she thinks. Instead England is charming and full of people who only want to help. Lila realizes that the future she originally wanted just months ago may not be where her heart is anymore; part of her may have fallen for England and the boy who showed her how to trust again.

This book is also available as a Libby eBook and Libby eAudiobook.

“I’ve grown to find peace and acceptance in not fighting what I can’t control.”
― Laura Taylor Namey, A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow

Did this book catch your interest? Join See YA and discuss this book with us at our October meeting! See YA is our adult book club with a teen book twist. See why so many teen books are being turned into movies and are taking over the best seller lists.

Registration is not required. Books are available on a first-come, first-serve basis at the Eastern Avenue library. We meet the first Wednesday of the month at Eastern at 6:30pm. Stop by the service desk for more information.

October 4A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey

November 1 Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia

Told through flashbacks to various family members throughout the years, Gabriela Garcia has written a novel of fierce familial pride in her debut work, Of Women and Salt. Five generations of women are linked through blood and the love of story as they each navigate life.

1866, Cuba: Maria is the only woman employed at a local cigar factory. Each day, a man comes in and reads to them from various books. The current book he reads is by Victor Hugo. Dangerous political times rock her life. As Maria realizes that she won’t be able to escape her current life without getting married and starting a family, war descends on them all.

1959, Cuba: Dolores is often stuck at home feeding and caring for her daughter while her husband disappears for long stretches of time. Her husband is a supporter of Fidel Castro and frequently heads to the mountains in order to answer Castro’s call to arms. Dependent on what little money her husband brings home and with his income drying up with him gone, Dolores knows that in order to survive she will do whatever it takes. What she decides to do may end up destroying her daughter Carmen’s life as well as her own, but she is hopeful that in the long run, they will be able to survive.

2016, Miami: Carmen is struggling. Her feelings of displacement have never completely evaporated. When her daughter Jeanette tells Carmen that she will be traveling to Cuba to visit her grandmother Dolores, Carmen is shocked and confused. Why would Jeanette want to travel? What will Dolores tell her? Carmen and her mother Dolores have a very complicated relationship that she has had to wrestle with for years. Meanwhile, Carmen and Jeanette also have a rocky relationship, something that Carmen has been working through while trying to keep her wayward daughter from going too far off-track. All Jeanette wants is to understand her family’s histories. The best way to do so she believes is to travel to Cuba and visit with her grandma. The secrets in her grandma’s house hold the power to give her answers while also destroying the fragility of the past.

This book is also available in the following formats:

Salt and Silver: Travel, Surf, Cook by Johannes Rifflemacher

salt and silverSalt & Silver traces the journey of Johannes Riffelmacher and Thomas Kosikowski as they travel through Central and South America – reporting on all the best surfing locations, chronicling the stories of local surfers and restaurant owners, and compiling recipes representative of each area.

The narrative begins in Cuba with beautiful images of the city and the beaches, as well as stories related to the Cuban surfing community and a discussion of popular Cuban dishes. Next is a tour of Mexico–first with street tacos, a trip through Mexican markets, and day spent in the urban graffitiscene of Guadalajara; then with Tostadas de Pulpo (Octopus Crackers), Shrimp and Portobello Burgers, and glimpse into small town life in the remote surfing town of San Pancho. The Mexican leg of the journey draws to a conclusion with 7-meter-waves, BBQ, and Tajine in Rio Nexpa, as well as “a perfect righthander barreling of a point” in the scenic La Ticla. After Mexico comes a long list of sites and sounds as the two men make their way through Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, Peru, and finally Chile, exploring the beaches and waves, as well as the kitchens of each location.

Interspersed throughout the pages of the trip are more than 90 regional recipes, over 250 stunning photographs, and a wide array of tips and stories ranging from social commentary on the Cuban surf scene to pointers on how to rent a “Hamaquera” in La Ticla for $3 a night. (description from publisher)