I was a little disappointed not to read more of the history of the train. But did love the stories around the characters that brought them to life.
I was glad to take our last vacation before the pandemic happened to Key West. I remember riding next to that broken down railway knowing there was some history to that.
"People are what circumstances make them"
Haven't thought about this in this way. I look over the story again. And see that it revolves around these 3 women.
Helen, Mirta, and Elizabeth paths have criss crossed over this time. 1935 and a hurricane is coming to Key West, Florida. Sadly it wasn't taken so seriously. But for Helen who had a husband that abused her and she was pregnant at the time, plus working in that fast paced tourist cafe. The hurricane gave her an opportunity as well to get out before storm hit.
Mirta who married a man at the time did not know of what his business was. She did for her family to get out of Cuba when the regime would change.
Elizabeth a mystery and hardest to figure out in the beginning. She's childlike in a way also to marry someone that his business was tough. And to help her family out.
The storm hit the Keys and these women drew a strength about them that they didn't know they had.
Set in the Great Depression the effect that it had on the characters the fact at 1 time Key West was the largest and wealthiest city in Flordia. Where things were built by hand and enjoyed by people who had the money. The Depression equalized all that. For all the money in the world like Anthony and Mirta would/have couldn't help them in the long run. Even Elizabeth and her family did things to keep going. Helen and Tom not having much/any money found work, did what they had to do to live. Government had some help to give but seemed never enough.
One larger event that happened was the hurricane. I believe the characters saw more in themselves to give to others. Try to help because they all were in this together. Nature has destroyed that so many men sacrificed for.
The treatment of the soldiers of The Great War and society were grim. Just as it is today in a way. Soldiers were dying and fighting for what they thought a monster. And when it is all said and done when soldiers came home society wasn't as appreciative as they should of been. They needed jobs, a decent place to stay, food etc... but not always the case. Soldiers came home to a different kind of hell. The camps that they stayed at helping to build the Flagler's Oversea Railroad were a disgrace. Definition of not livable but to ease their minds the people that hired them believed well at least it was a job. Right!
The vision of connecting New York to Havana, Cuba with a few days of travel through the other keys was a great vision that would bring people together socially and in business. Hoping to see Key West as a major trade route. Globally would work if only conditions were better.
The Depression was hard on women because a lot of doors were closed to them. In that period time it was a man's world
Being that said these strong women show how they can be in times of unease.
With a little romance mixed in with some good story telling. There were a couple of things I was surprised at. Not to give too much away but the stranger that watched Elizabeth and Mirta had an interesting twist. I am a person that goes down that google rabbit hole to find out more on the history.
For that I'm glad to find out more just not the railway was happening.
I give The Last Train to Key West 4
Since I read the 1st already,
I look forward to reading the rest of the Cuba Saga books.