Find Me in Havana by Serena Burdick- A Book Review

Happy Publication Day to Find Me in Havana by Serena Burdick!   I really enjoy historical fiction which is based on reality so when Netgalley offered the audiobook for request I knew I wanted to read it. Find Me in Havana falls in the genres of both General Fiction and Historical Fiction.  

Plot Summary

The story unfolds in a series of letters between Estelita Rodriguez and her daughter Nina Lopez. The story begins in Cuba in 1936 with Estelita’s family struggling following the Cuban Revolution. Growing up with a group of sisters who loved to sing and dance, Estelita is discovered in a nightclub in Havana as a young girl and arrives in the U.S. at age 15 to sing at the Copacabana in New York City. Nina is the result of a marriage to actor Chu Chu Martinez, the first of her four husbands. As was the often the case during this time in history, Chu Chu forbade his wife from performing. Estelita leaves the marriage and is discovered in Hollywood, beginning an acting career and appearing in movies such as Rio Bravo with John Wayne and Dean Martin.

Nina’s relationship to her mother remained strong, despite many horrific events that fell upon the two. Upon her mother’s mysterious death in 1966, Nina finds herself on a journey, reflecting on memories of her mother’s life and all that she endured to find her American dream. 

Book Review   

I found this book to be a very interesting read. It provides the reader with an immersion into the Cuban Revolution. It also demonstrates the way women have historically experienced injustice and atrocities as they strived to be something more than somebody’s wife.

Find Me in Havana would not be complete without the mention of the one constant in both Estelita and Nina’s lives- Estelita’s mother. A strong woman herself, she encourages Estelita to follow her dreams to Hollywood and becomes a stabilizing figure for Nina. The book really shines to me in the depth and sacrifice of all three women to create a good life independent of having to be someone’s wife. Therefore, I find it interesting that Estelita married so often in her 37 years. 

Content Warning

As a warning to more sensitive readers, this book has elements of physical abuse, misogyny and rape. It is a difficult read at times because of this, but an important one to completely understand the story.

Audiobook Review

I listened to the audiobook version of the Find Me in Havana which was narrated by Marisol Ramirez and Frankine Corzo. Their performances were very good, and provided a sense of realism to the story. Their voices were articulate and expressive. I listened to the book at my usual 1.25x which provided a comfortable experience. I would not hesitate to recommend the audiobook version of the book to those that enjoy this format.

What I Liked About Find Me in Havana 
  • The relationships between these three women
  • Insight into the Cuban Revolution
  • Insight into women’s role in society in 1936-1966
  • Strong female characters

What I Would Have Liked to be Different
  • I would have enjoyed hearing more about Estelita’s acting career.  
  • I found one scene effecting Estelita's niece to be a little too intense.  I almost stopped reading at this point.
I Recommend This Book To:
Those readers that enjoy historical fiction based on reality, or those that enjoy stories about family.


Thanks to Netgalley and Harlequin Audio for the ARC of this audiobook in exchange for the honest review provided here.

My rating:  ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️/5.

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  1. Sounds like it's a book that deals with many difficult topics... not sure it would be for me, but still sounds great!

    Katie x

    1. Thanks Katie. It does have several difficult topics and may not be for everyone.

  2. This sounds great. Excellent review, as always and I agree that the subject matter makes this sound like a fascinating read.

  3. I didn't expect the book to feature rape, but I guess if it's taking part around the resolution and invokes performers and Hollywood, then it's not surprising that it'd feature somewhere

    1. Thanks for the comment. However you may be surprised.

  4. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the book! It sounds like an interesting read which covers a few difficult topics. Great review as always!

  5. The insight into the Cuban Revolution would be something that I would enjoy reading about! Thanks for sharing this review x

  6. Sounds like a really interesting book. I can definitely imagine how it could be a tough read at times. I am always interested in reading books about history though, it's pretty crazy how much has changed from society back then to now. Great review, thank you for sharing!

  7. I love books that give you insight into a time or culture! Definitely sounds like this one is worth the read, what a great review.

    Anika |

  8. Thanks for sharing your review of this book. Sounds very interesting.

  9. This book sounds like something I would really enjoy. I don't really know much about Cuba's history so it would be great to get a better understanding of this too. This is such a helpful review, I'm definitely going to add Find Me In Havana on my TBR list.

  10. Cuba, as it is, is a fascinating country. A story involving Cuba and the lives of Cubans in 1930s grabs interest. As usual, your review reads excellently. Although noted some difficult reads, Sounds like a book where a novice like me (on the island's history) can sink my teeth into without getting too bogged down.

  11. This sounds really interesting! I’d love to listen to the audio version of it. Thanks for sharing Jodie x