I couldn’t put it down

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kayla.keefer Avatar


Thank you to Lyons Press and BookishFirst for this Arc of Hidden Cargo. I absolutely loved it. I love historical novels as a big history buff and this book was was no different. This story centers around a navy lieutenant Everett Townsend. He is currently stationed at Key West. When he gets an order to investigate a shipwreck off the coast of Cuba. They come across the ship and find something unexpected. A group of African-American chained many of whom have drowned. It has been five years since the end of the Civil War. With opinion still largely divided over the issue of slavery.

Everett and his men still live in the shadow of Lincoln’s assassination. So when Everett arrives in Cuba a place where slavery not only thrives it is a major aspect of the economy there, he feels very uneasy. Everett enlisted in the navy as part of the union army but, his family history was very complex to say the least. His grandmother owns a large sugar plantation and owns hundreds of slaves. He had not seen his grandmother in nearly three years. To say she doesn’t share his outlook on life would be putting it gently.

I had little to no knowledge of the period after the Civil War and Cuba’s strong influence in keeping the slave trade alive while being a strong trading partner with the U.S. It still rocks me to my core when I read the numerous passages of slave traders selling slaves as if they weren’t human. The harsh reality though is people had the mindset. Slavery was a profitable “business” my favorite aspect of the whole novel is was Jacob Levi being reunited with his two sons. It was amazing!

I also loved the romance between Everett and Emma. It was so sweet. The part where she was arrested for handing out what Cuba and the Spanish called propaganda really worried me. I wasn’t sure if she was going to make it. The plot point that was not resolved for me was Everett’s mother. She had fled Cuba and her mothers sick and inhumane philosophy. That aspect of the story was so sad. This story has inspired me to look up other stories about Cuba/U.S. relations during this period.