Beginning with June of 1939, Daniel, a German Jew, flees Germany by boat. He is alone because his parents only had enough money to pay for one person’s passage. The boat’s passengers are refused entry to the United States and Canada, and end up in a Cuban harbour for several days, waiting for permission to land.
Tropical Secrets, Margarita Engle‘s historical novel-in-verse, explores the survival and political plight of Jewish refugees in Cuba. Alternating poems from the perspectives of several characters, including Daniel and Paloma, a daughter of a Cuban official who secretly helps several refugees, provide a well-rounded story.