Cover Image: The Family She Never Met

The Family She Never Met

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Thank you Netgalley and the Publisher for my ARC in exchange for my honest review. This was an enjoyable book.

Was this review helpful?

Jessica Russo grew up in New York with her parents and her father's large, Italian family. She knew nothing about her mother's Cuban family except that her mother was estranged from them. When her abuela who she's never met sends her right-hand man, Luis, to offer Jessica the chance to come to Miami and meet her estranged family, she can't help but say yes, even as she knows her mother will be hurt. The family she meets, especially her Cuban grandmother is nothing like what she was expecting. The family is wealthy, philanthropic and loving. She spends time getting to know them and her family history. As she begins to understand all that happened, she is determined to heal the rift and bring her mother back into her family.

The Family She Never Met blends women's fiction, family drama, and historical fiction together nicely. I found the characters to be well developed as we get to know them as Jessica does. Learning about some of the issues and reasons to migrate from Cuba was part of the story, but I would have liked to learn more. That yearning to return that I have read about in other books was also there. With another plot of a romantic relationship, we got to know Jessica as she went on a journey of discovery as well. Themes of migration, family estrangement, mother-daughter relationships, forgiveness and new beginnings are all part of this story. It is heartbreaking at times, but also has hope, healing and resilience. I liked that Caridad Piñeiro used her own Cuban family history as the background for writing this book, to leave her children with her family's history.

Was this review helpful?

The Family She Never Met by Caridad Piñeiro is a subtle, heartfelt retelling of three women from three generations and their journeys to the present day. From Cuba to Miami and New York, it is a novel impacted by politics, but all about family and heart. When we meet them, Jessica, the now-grown daughter of Lara, is invited to meet her grandmother Carmen for the very first time.

This beautiful story highlights how age, circumstance, and perspective can color how one experiences a moment in time. How our memories may be our truth, but they're not necessarily the truth. And just how much estrangement can impact so many lives.

But it's also a story of redemption and second chances and strength. Each of these women is so incredibly strong and resilient. And while we can feel just how much passion runs in their blood, the writing is measured and almost hesitant, but in an intentional, powerful way. The delicate pace of the novel with its well-chosen, mini flashbacks perfectly captures the history and tempo precisely needed in each moment. Not too much. Not too little.

It may sound like a simple way to describe it, but this novel is quite lovely. It's most definitely women's fiction, but there is enough romance to warm any romance-genre lover's heart.

Was this review helpful?

This was a slow, slow burn book for me. I kept waiting for something to happen but it never did and I found myself really irritated with Lara's character. I also found the book to be fairly repetitive. How many times can you describe a person as stubborn?

Was this review helpful?

Jessica has never met her mother’s family In Miami. One day she is approached by a very good looking man. He is representing her grandmother. The grandmother Jessica has never known. She decides to go to Miami to discover exactly what happened between her grandmother and her mother.

The setting of this story is just wonderful. Who wouldn’t want their own private island. And the story itself is interesting. But I found the writing a bit overly dramatic and even eyerolling in places. Jessica’s mother is the one I wanted to slap through most of this novel. And no…I cannot remember her name. But, in my opinion, she had no reason to abandon her family. She thinks she was done wrong…but nope….you need to read this book to find out.

The narrator, Frankie Corzo is great. Perfect on the accents!

Need a good family drama…THIS IS IT! Grab your copy today.

I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.

Was this review helpful?

There are two different plot lines throughout this book. One I really liked and one I hated. I did NOT like the romance at all, and I’m generally someone who loves a romance subplot in every book she reads. I did not feel the chemistry between the two. The romance felt insta-lovey in one moment and then like there were no feelings the next, and Luis just didn’t seem like a real person. It’s kind of hard to explain.

What I really liked was the family story. There is an estrangement, with somewhat good reason, but the story revolves around trying to mend that estrangement after several decades. I enjoyed watching Jessica get to know her grandmother and part of her culture she was unaware of. I also liked the blending of cultures with the Italian side of her family and the Cuban side. It felt like a real modern family.

That said, I didn’t feel like I really knew any of the characters. They were a little surface level, and I had a hard time connecting.

Overall, this book was fine. It definitely had some redeeming qualities, but I did find myself rolling my eyes often enough and went through a couple of spurts of boredom in the first half.

Was this review helpful?

During the years I lived in SW Florida, I had many friends and co-workers whose families had escaped to the U.S. from Cuba. Their feelings about their allegiance to their homeland, the (often successful) lives they had left behind, the struggles of learning a new language while forging a new life in a strange country where they were often not welcomed, and their expectations for their children and grandchildren were understandably complex and multi-layered. Pineiro captures all that and more in her poignant and realistic portrayal of a fractured, Cuban-American family in The Family She Never Met.

I was immediately intrigued by these characters and the mysterious estrangement that had caused Jessica to grow up knowing nothing of her mother's family in Miami nor the trials they had endured in the past. Pineiro skillfully guides the reader through their journey, using brief flashbacks at strategic points to fill in the blanks of their family's saga while at the same time allowing the reader to get to know the characters in the present day. It gave me the opportunity to understand these characters fully, to experience their flaws, fears, mistakes, and motivations. It made them more real to me, their circumstances more compelling, and in the case of Jessica's mother, the anger stemming from her childhood more understandable. I appreciated the fact that the author took her time with them, not giving them easy fixes but letting the characters evolve organically, allowing forgiveness and healing to come slowly, realistically.

I also enjoyed the depiction of Jessica's father's Italian-American family in New York, characters who have been instrumental in guiding her life since she was born. The dichotomy between the two sides of her family clearly showing that no two immigrant experiences are alike.

While this book is centered around the multiple generations of women in Jessica's family, there is also a strong romantic thread with a happy ending that is an integral part of Jessica's journey, not only bringing love into her life but also helping her to more completely understand both the challenges and expectations placed upon the Cuban exiles within and outside of her family.

After you finish the book, take a minute to read the author's note. It explains how Caridad Pineiro was able to create characters and a story with so much authenticity and heart. Knowing her own family's history made reading this book an even richer experience.

ARC received for fair and unbiased review

Was this review helpful?

The Family She Never Met by Caridad Pineiro is a beautiful and touching historical fiction that is about family, love, forgiveness, and by finding one’s past, one can then find themselves.

Was this review helpful?

I was blown away by this story and the great writing!
I’ve never read a novel by Pineiro but I will certainly be looking for more of her books.
This is a story about lost, love and family history.
I loved Jessica's character so much. She really struck a cord with me.
Caridad Pineiro tells a very vivid and emotionally charged story.
And one I had so much fun reading.
I look forward to more and can't wait for the next one.

Sourcebooks Casablanca,
Thank You for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this amazing eARC!
I will post my review closer to pub date.

Was this review helpful?

I felt that this book packed an emotional punch yet also had a lovely romance. Jessica has always been close to the Italian side of her family but has never met the Cuban side of her family on her mother side. Her mother has been estranged from her family for 30 years. Jessica’s maternal grandmother sends her right hand man Luis to get Jessica to come visit her.

From meeting her grandmother Jessica starts to learn about both her mother and grandmother’s past and how hard it’s actually been. It was so interesting to see the effects of being a Cuban exile on both of the parents and the children. The romance with Luis is well done. Is interesting to see the estrangement between mother and daughter from Jessica‘s eyes because she can actually see both sides once she has talk to them both. This is a lovely book that is both emotional and heartwarming and does an excellent job of showing a family‘s history. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. This is actually the first book I have read by Caridad Pinero but it will not be the last.

Was this review helpful?

This book is so good! The author includes Cuban history with 3 perspectives. Carmen, Lara, and Jessica are three generations of strong women that have to find ways to mend the broken fences. We learn a lot about all three of them. This book is full of family history as well as family drama. I will say it dragged a little for me and read more like a YA book. I still loved it though. Highly recommend!

Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Casablanca for the ARC.

Was this review helpful?

I received an ARC from the publisher and am voluntarily posting a review. All opinions are my own.
The Family She Never Met is an intriguing story, highlighting the fraught relationships between mothers and daughters in a Cuban-American family, but also the importance of honoring that history of what previous generations went through when immigrating to the US.
While it is largely set in the present, there are brief flashbacks to various points in the past to highlight the family’s story, and what led them here. I love how it provides context to the current state of things between them.
Jessica is a wonderful lead character, and I appreciated that she wanted to do the right thing when she heard from her grandmother, and she later wants to bring peace.
The relationships between Jessica, Lara, and Carmen are fabulously written. The novel explores the complexities of the mother-daughter relationships among them, and I appreciate that their issues were navigated in such a sensitive way, with a believable path to healing.
And while this book is not in itself a romance, there is a romantic arc between. and her grandmother’s right hand man, Luis, that is quite sweet.
This book is delightful and heartwarming, and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a heartfelt family-centric contemporary.

Was this review helpful?

Beautifully written, rich with detail, and full of powerful emotions, The Family She Never Met by Caridad Pinero is a story of love and homecoming and forgiveness.

Jessica Russo is startled to receive an invitation to visit her maternal grandmother in Florida. She’s completely unacquainted with this side of her family as her mother has steadfastly not spoken of her mother or family, pretty much ever.

Luis Torres would do just about anything for Carmen Gonzalez, a formidable woman who essentially rescued him and his family, even reach out to a granddaughter who isn’t sure she wants to be “found”.

The Family She Never Met is a story of love and family, and how pain and loss can linger and continue to wound. It is also a story of healing and forgiveness, written by someone who is able to describe the joy and sorrow experienced. Caridad Pinero’s story brings to life a family’s sacrifices and the impacts they have on the generations that follow. Her writing is layered and descriptive, and her characterizations captivating. A wholly fantastic read.

Was this review helpful?

Jessica finally learns the history of her mother's Cuban family when her grandmother sends Luis, her right hand man, to find her and invite her to Miami. Why has her mother Lara never talked about it? No spoilers from me but it turns out that Carmen has a story to tell about the Cuban revolution and how the family got to the US. Her father's family emigrated from Italy Pineiro draws some parallels but the more important point is the value both sides place on both their heritage and the success they have in the US. I'm probably the only one who didn't need the romance with Luis - not that it isn't delightful but it's less compelling than the family saga. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. A good read.

Was this review helpful?

The story of a woman finding her past could have been quite wonderful. i felt the pace was too slow and YA for me. I had to put the book down. I'm sure others will enjoy it.

Was this review helpful?

I still don't really know what this book was about or what I was suppose to get out of it. I didn't love it but I didn't hate it either. It was kind of meh.

Was this review helpful?

I really enjoyed this terrific story. Jessica travels to Miami to meet family she never knew due to her mother’s estrangement. The author threads Cuban history along with three different voices in the narrative. Carmen, Lara, and Jessica, three generations of strong women have to find ways to mend the broken fences. And then there is Luis, smoking hot, sizzling, who I couldn’t get enough. It’s a great book, full of history and family drama.

Was this review helpful?

'"As long as we're together, we are home."'

As someone fascinated by the field of nationalism studies, national identity, diasporas and identity politics in general, and someone with a clear preference for historical fiction, this was an absolutely fascinating book. We meet Jessica, member of a Cuban-Italian-American family in New York, who, throughout the book, will reconnect with the Cuban side of her family. On her journey, she goes to Miami, where she learns about her family's past while getting to know her grandma, aunts and cousins.

A story mostly set in present day, we learn all about the importance of family, hope, forgiveness, and the story and experience of those migrating to the US (whether as a result of the Cuban revolution, or during earlier years when Europeans moved the US en masse looking for a better life). It is through carefully interspersed flashes of the past, that we learn what life was like for each of the characters at an earlier stage, and how that led them to the current day situation.

I liked the characters. I loved how Jessica was fiercely independent (determined, not stubborn ;)), and went with her heart on what she believed to be important. I enjoyed seeing how Lara, Carmen, Luis and even the Russo family, each responded and reacted to their migration (or their family's migration) in significantly different ways. The Family She Never Met is a great story and provides a spotlight on Cuba, Miami, and familial relationships.

A big thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks, Casablanca for providing me with an eARC in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

The story begins with the protagonist Jessica being sought out by her grandmother whom she has never met by the man who now runs the successful company her grandmother built. Jessica is skeptical because her mother has refused to have any contact with her mother or sisters since she met Jessica's father while in college and shuts down whenever she's asked about them. Jessica decides she needs to find out for herself and goes.
The rest of the story is set in Miami and is a beautiful, bittersweet story of how the aftermath of the Cuban Revolution affected their family and particularly the relationship between mother and daughter. The author's descriptive, lush writing brings Miami and the characters to real life and the rest of the story flows beautifully so that I never wanted to stop reading. I also found the blooming relationship between Jessica and her grandmother's "right hand man' Luis intriguing.
Beautiful and bittersweet, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know a little more about the Cuban revolution, Miami, or really anyone who loves a good story.

Was this review helpful?

The Family She Never Met by Caridad Pineiro is a beautiful and touching historical fiction that is about family, love, forgiveness, and by finding one’s past, one can then find themselves.

This is such a wonderful book in that it is not just about Cuban history and migration, but it is also about identity and family. It is about hope that one is giving their children a better future and existence than what it currently has become. It is about the complicated balance of finding that future and also preserving the past. And that it is possible to do both.

It was fascinating to read this family’s journey from one country to another. At this time, Cuba was such a dichotomy of natural beauty and vivid and stunning culture, but political upheaval, instability, and unrest. Many fled to a safer existence for their families, and the author gives us that complicated story that was inspired by her own family’s journey.

Jessica Russo has been separated from her mother’s Cuban lineage for unknown reasons. She is given a chance to visit Miami and meet this part of her family and discovers that in finding out the secrets and the past, it helps her answer her own questions and find her own purpose and sense of self. It is a story of hope, resilience, second chances, and family ties that can weather all storms.

5/5 stars

Thank you NG and Sourcebooks Casablanca for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.

I am posting this review to my NG account only at this time and will post the review to my GR, Bookbub, Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication per publisher request.

Was this review helpful?