Winds of Hope and Change by Keith Reiss

★★★★  After receiving a large inheritance, Pricilla Jarmon and her husband Josh decide to move to the Florida Keys, where Josh takes a job teaching chemistry and Pricilla begins working at a company called CubaLibre. Pricilla takes on an assignment with the company, which requires she travel to Cuba and work undercover, keeping the details of her journey secret from even her husband. But while in Cuba, Pricilla is abducted along with Julio, her guide and translator, and a beautiful and influential poet named Gilda. Though being kidnapped by two violent thugs is a horrific surprise for the three travelers, their only option is to try and flee Cuba, no matter the dangers. For Pricilla and her fellow prisoners, the window of escape is rapidly closing.

One of the major reasons in the book that Pricilla is sent to Cuba by her company is to help the rightful owner of Havana Club Rum get the money she and her family deserve, which is currently being withheld from them by corrupt officials.  To the people of Cuba, this is seen as a symbolic gesture of rebelling against the dictatorship and wresting control of one’s fate back from the amoral hands of government. On a similar note, young Gilda’s writing and poetry is said to be instrumental in encouraging Cubans to fight for their independence; there is a lovely example of her poems that the author gives, and it really is moving.  Full of action and suspense, Winds of Hope and Change is an exhilarating novel that will inspire readers to stay cool in the face of danger and to stand up for the causes they believe in.

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