Review – The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleeton

Posted May 4, 2021 by Carole in Reviews / 18 Comments

I received this book for free from the Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review – The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel CleetonThe Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleeton
ISBN: 9780593098875
Published by Berkley Publishing Group, Penguin on May 4, 2021
Genres: Cultural Heritage, Fiction, Hispanic & Latino, Women
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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four-stars

At the end of the nineteenth century, three revolutionary women fight for freedom in New York Times bestselling author Chanel Cleeton's captivating new novel inspired by real-life events and the true story of a legendary Cuban woman--Evangelina Cisneros--who changed the course of history.

A feud rages in Gilded Age New York City between newspaper tycoons William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer. When Grace Harrington lands a job at Hearst's newspaper in 1896, she's caught in a cutthroat world where one scoop can make or break your career, but it's a story emerging from Cuba that changes her life.

Unjustly imprisoned in a notorious Havana women's jail, eighteen-year-old Evangelina Cisneros dreams of a Cuba free from Spanish oppression. When Hearst learns of her plight and splashes her image on the front page of his paper, proclaiming her, The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba, she becomes a rallying cry for American intervention in the battle for Cuban independence.

With the help of Marina Perez, a courier secretly working for the Cuban revolutionaries in Havana, Grace and Hearst's staff attempt to free Evangelina. But when Cuban civilians are forced into reconcentration camps and the explosion of the USS Maine propels the United States and Spain toward war, the three women must risk everything in their fight for freedom.

I really enjoyed this book! I have read and enjoyed two other historical fiction novels set in Cuba from this author so I went into this book knowing what to expect. I had hoped that this would be another book with fantastic characters, a vivid setting, and a story that would make me think and that is exactly what I got. The story grabbed me early on and I found it to be a story that was easy to lose myself in for hours at a time. I really had an incredible time with this book.

This book tells the tale of three women. Grace lives in New York and wants to succeed as a reporter. She gets a job at Hearst’s Journal where she eventually covers some important stories. Evangelina ends up in a Cuban jail after fighting off the advances of a Spanish leader. She eventually becomes well known in the United States as a result of newspaper coverage and sparks interest in the situation in Cuba. Marina and her daughter are forced from their farm in Cuba and sent to a re-concentration camp where the situation is dire. Marina is able to earn some money by working for wealthy families and does her part for the cause by delivering messages with the laundry.

Each of these three women had a remarkable story to tell and I loved the way that their paths interconnected. All three women had to deal with difficult, although different, situations and they each had some very had decisions to make. I loved the way that the story brought these women and the people surrounding them to life so that I really felt connected to each of their stories. I think that the historical details that were woven throughout the book were quite eye-opening and helped to tell this powerful story.

I would recommend this book to others. I found this to be a very well-written and entertaining story featuring wonderful characters. This was a book that I enjoyed from beginning to end and wanted to see things work out for each of the characters. I cannot wait to read more of this talented author’s work.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley.

About Chanel Cleeton

Originally from Florida, Chanel Cleeton grew up on stories of her family’s exodus from Cuba following the events of the Cuban Revolution. Her passion for politics and history continued during her years spent studying in England, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Richmond, The American International University in London, and a master’s degree in Global Politics from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Chanel also received her Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law.

18 responses to “Review – The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleeton

  1. I love her books so I can’t wait to get to this latest. Interesting how the last two have broadened to have three women’s stories going at once.

    • I actually still need to read the previous book but I did remember the first two focused more on a single character.

  2. I have one of her books which I got at the RT convention in 2017. I met her and it’s autographed So I intend to read her but it hasn’t happened yet. I’ve only heard good things. Wonderful review!

  3. Cleeton has done such a wonderful job with this series. Sounds like another interesting historical period/event is covered, and I love the way she intertwines the women’s lives.

  4. I haven’t read a lot of historical fiction lately. But it sounds like this might be something I’d like. I’m glad you enjoyed it so much. Those characters do sound wonderful.