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The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba (Cuba Saga)…

The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba (Cuba Saga) (edition 2021)

by Chanel Cleeton (Author)

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386515,707 (4.15)1
Title:The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba (Cuba Saga)
Authors:Chanel Cleeton (Author)
Info:Berkley (2021), 384 pages
Collections:Stored, Your library

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The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleeton


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The history surrounding the Cuban War of Independence and the Spanish-American War comes to life in this novel, centered around three women, each with a different part to play. Evangelina is imprisoned after being assaulted by a Spanish military officer, but her case is focused on by American newspapers, who see an opportunity to create public sympathy for the Cuban cause. Grace is a reporter for William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal and determined to make her way in a man's profession, even if it means working as a spy. Marina is the outcast daughter of a wealthy family who is living in terrible conditions in a camp after her home was destroyed, her husband is fighting with the rebels, and she faces difficult choices about what she can do to support the Cuban cause while also caring for her young daughter. These women make for fascinating reading and I definitely feel I learned about an era that's less explored by writers of historical fiction. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Jun 13, 2021 |
I watched a documentary about Cuba several years ago, and fell in love with the country, and its rich history, so when I had the opportunity to read The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba presented itself I jumped at the chance. This is the first time I've read anything by Chanel Cleeton, and am awestruck by the incredible writing, the talent full of such detail and heart, it is practically spilling off the pages. I was instantly transported back to a unique time in history that I had previously known very little about.

Cleeton did a masterful job with her research, the details captivating, and the exploration and research, especially of Evangelina Cisneros, and the war between publishing giants William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, masterfully done. Though there is a lot of details about the Cubans fight for freedom, I never once felt like I was reading a history book, and much of the book is historically accurate!

I learned so much that I wasn't aware of before! There were moments where my heart literally ached, my mind dazed with the thoughts that these events actually happened. Unbelievable! I have heard about the Cuban suppression and struggle for independence from Spain, but I didn't realize the horrors the Cubans endured at the hands of this power-hungry country. While I was reading I couldn't help but wonder if Hitler took a few notes from the Spanish before pouring out his evil on the Jews during World War II, the parallels undeniable.

What inspired me the most was how strong Evangelina, Grace, and Marina were as they endured the war, each fighting for the freedom of their beloved country in their own ways. I love reading about women who can rise above their circumstances and show their true strength.

I have always been a historical fiction lover, and this novel just made me fall more in love with the genre, and opened my eyes to another historical incidence that I want to learn more about. The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba is truly a great story that was poetically told by a terrific new author to me that has now gained herself a new fan!

*I have voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from Berkley Publishing Group through NetGalley. All views and opinions expressed are completely honest, and my own. ( )
  cflores0420 | Jun 1, 2021 |
Author Chanel Cleeton has brought to us a highly atmospheric story, based on historical fact which is beautifully delivered. She blends history and fiction in a seamless story which weaves lives and voices of three strong female protagonists of the late 19th century - all connected to the drama coming out of Cuba as that country fights for its independence. "Viva Cuba Libre!" is the clarion call of the revolutionaries.

This was a story of several wars: Cuba's fight for independence from oppressive Spain which leads to the Spanish-American War, the media wars of New York City, war between the Cuban classes and subtly, the war for women's suffrage. Evangelina Cisneros, the actual historical figure of the three women, was the daughter of an insurgent. She had been imprisoned at Recogidas based on slim evidence of collusion against an officer of the Spanish government. William Randolph Hearst facilitated her rescue and the subsequent media blitz in his efforts to sway public opinion and sell more papers - yellow journalism personified.

Cleeton deftly weaves the lives of Evangelina Cisneros, Grace Harrington, an aspiring female journalist employed by Hearst and that of Marina Perez, a woman subjected to the reconcentration camp and ultimately to Recogidas, a facility where women who step outside acceptable social behavior are left to rot and fall into obscurity. It is the decisions of men who fight for freedom, the status quo or for power which ultimately direct the lives of these women. The women are often helpless. Through these women's stories, Cuban's fight for independence is vividly brought to light. ( )
  KateBaxter | May 9, 2021 |
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. ( )
  Carolesrandomlife | May 4, 2021 |
Grace is struggling to make it as a female reporter in an all male world. She is in a cutthroat business with Hearst and Pulitzer. But, when she discovers a situation in Cuba, Grace knows she has found the story of a lifetime.

Grace has some gumption…I will tell you that. Then there is Evangelina. She is wrongfully accused and placed in a Spanish prison in war torn Cuba. Enter Marina. She is a courier for the Cuban revolutionaries. These three ladies are tough and do exactly what it takes to achieve freedom!

Thanks to Chanel Cleeton, I am now a fan of historical Cuba. Until I started reading her books, I had no idea about Cuba. Her research, her strong female characters and her setting make for fabulous books.

Need a unique historical fiction book…THIS IS IT!

I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review. ( )
  fredreeca | May 2, 2021 |
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