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The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba

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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 Hear 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.


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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 Hear 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.

30 review for The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba

  1. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    This book features three revolutionary women, who at the end of the nineteenth century, fought for freedom. The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba is inspired by real life events and the true story of Evangelina Cisneros! This book features three women: Evangelina Cisneros - is thrown in jail in the beginning of the book as a rebel during the Cuban War on Independence. She is dubbed "The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba" by the press to both sell papers and raise awareness of the plight in Cuba. Grace Harringt This book features three revolutionary women, who at the end of the nineteenth century, fought for freedom. The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba is inspired by real life events and the true story of Evangelina Cisneros! This book features three women: Evangelina Cisneros - is thrown in jail in the beginning of the book as a rebel during the Cuban War on Independence. She is dubbed "The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba" by the press to both sell papers and raise awareness of the plight in Cuba. Grace Harrington - a young female reporter who lands a job at William Randolph Hearst's newspaper in 1896. She gets paid by the story and must prove herself and the story of Cuba and it is fight for independence from Spain just might be her ticket to success. Maria Perez - a young woman who gave up her social standing when she married for love, has become a courier for the Cuban Revolutionaries in Havana. She will help Grace and Hearst's staff attempt to free Evangelina. I love books that not only educate me but are entertaining and moving as well. This one foot the bill quite nicely. A lot of research went into the writing of this book. The facts fit seamlessly into the narrative. Not only is this book beautifully written but the story of the three women is engrossing and brilliantly told. I found this perfectly paced book hard to put down after the first couple of chapters. The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba also proved to be a fast read as I was invested in each woman's tales. Fans of historical fiction, strong women and true events will love this book. This was my first book by Chanel Cleeton and I look forward to reading more of her books in the future! Beautifully written, moving and thought provoking! A must Read!!! Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own. Read more of my reviews at www.openbookposts.com

  2. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    Once again, Chanel Cleeton has fulfilled my expectations for historical fiction - to teach me something new while telling a good story. Here, it concerns the Cuban War of independence from Spain, which took place from 1895-98. The story has three main characters, one of whom was real. Evangelina Cisneros, imprisoned by the Spanish on accusations of insurrection, was dubbed “the most beautiful woman in Cuba” to raise awareness about the war by reporters, especially those employed by William Rando Once again, Chanel Cleeton has fulfilled my expectations for historical fiction - to teach me something new while telling a good story. Here, it concerns the Cuban War of independence from Spain, which took place from 1895-98. The story has three main characters, one of whom was real. Evangelina Cisneros, imprisoned by the Spanish on accusations of insurrection, was dubbed “the most beautiful woman in Cuba” to raise awareness about the war by reporters, especially those employed by William Randolph Hearst. The two fictional characters are a female reporter and another woman involved in the rebel cause. Cheeton does a masterful job of interweaving facts into the story. It never felt forced or that it slowed the story down in any way. I had to smile at Hearst’s recognition that Americans would take more interest in one beautiful woman imprisoned than tales of the thousands of regular women and children suffering in reconcentration camps. The book even spurred my interest in the events to the point that I sought out additional information. I’ve always heard the terms “remember the Maine” and yellow journalism without really understanding what they meant. I could have done without the romance subplot of Grace and Rafael, but it seems to be a requirement for historical fiction. My thanks to NetGalley and Berkley for an advance copy of this book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Olivia (Stories For Coffee)

    This novel. My goodness. I never learned about Cuban history during the 1800s (thanks, American Education System), so the amount of history that was woven into this narrative was absolutely fascinating and shocking. I learned more about my culture's history, was introduced to three strong protagonists who all show their own resilience in very different ways, and fell in love with another Chanel Cleeton story again. I do wish we focused the story more around Evangelina and Marina rather than Grace This novel. My goodness. I never learned about Cuban history during the 1800s (thanks, American Education System), so the amount of history that was woven into this narrative was absolutely fascinating and shocking. I learned more about my culture's history, was introduced to three strong protagonists who all show their own resilience in very different ways, and fell in love with another Chanel Cleeton story again. I do wish we focused the story more around Evangelina and Marina rather than Grace, who seemed to get the most page time, but I still am so grateful to learn about Cuban history through such a well-written historical fiction AT A GLANCE - 1800s Cuban historical fiction focused around Spanish colonization - Follows 3 resilient women's POV (a journalist and two revolutionaries)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Natasha Lester

    Grace Harrington is my new favourite heroine. I was absolutely fascinated by the world of stunt girl reporters and newspaper wars that she throws herself into, just as I was equal parts enthralled and heartbroken by the story of Evangelina Cisneros, the most beautiful – and courageous – girl in Cuba. And how wonderful to meet another member of the Perez family – the plucky Marina, whose story intertwines with the other women's. Nobody writes about Cuban women – their lives, their loves and their Grace Harrington is my new favourite heroine. I was absolutely fascinated by the world of stunt girl reporters and newspaper wars that she throws herself into, just as I was equal parts enthralled and heartbroken by the story of Evangelina Cisneros, the most beautiful – and courageous – girl in Cuba. And how wonderful to meet another member of the Perez family – the plucky Marina, whose story intertwines with the other women's. Nobody writes about Cuban women – their lives, their loves and their bravery – like Chanel Cleeton does. A truly beautiful book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Pam Jenoff

    Inspired by actual events, this story is about 18 year old Evangelina, who is imprisoned in late 19th century Cuba, as well as Grace, the American reporter who is trying to free her with the help of Marina, a courier working for the revolutionaries. This book is both explosive and compelling. Out May 4th!

  6. 4 out of 5

    MicheleReader

    It’s 1896 and New York City’s Park Row is a battlefield between two rival publishers: William Randolph Hearst (New York Journal) and Joseph Pulitzer (New York World). It is a time of “yellow journalism” when the press often greatly exaggerates and even creates the news. Socialite Grace Harrington wants to be the next Nellie Bly and finds herself as a “stunt girl” reporter for Hearst. When word of beautiful, eighteen-year-old Evangelina Cisneros’s imprisonment in Cuba for her role in an attack of It’s 1896 and New York City’s Park Row is a battlefield between two rival publishers: William Randolph Hearst (New York Journal) and Joseph Pulitzer (New York World). It is a time of “yellow journalism” when the press often greatly exaggerates and even creates the news. Socialite Grace Harrington wants to be the next Nellie Bly and finds herself as a “stunt girl” reporter for Hearst. When word of beautiful, eighteen-year-old Evangelina Cisneros’s imprisonment in Cuba for her role in an attack of a Spanish colonel reaches the desk of Hearst, he finds his latest top story. In a series of articles, Evangelina’s plight is splashed on the front pages generating widespread support for the Cuban revolutionaries. In addition to selling more papers, it serves Hearst’s agenda for getting the United States involved in Cuba’s fight for independence. While conditions worsen in Cuba, Marina, the third lead character, is struggling to keep her daughter safe. She is the estranged daughter of the Perez family, sugar barons who have sided with Spain. Her husband Mateo is fighting for Cuban freedom. Marina is risking her life as a courier for the rebels. As efforts are made by Hearst to free Evangelina, the lives of the three brave women come together. Soon Grace finds herself in Cuba, far from the ballrooms of the Astors and the Vanderbilts. The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba is the fourth historical novel by Chanel Cleeton which delves into Cuba’s turbulent past. Each includes a character from the fictional Perez family yet you don’t have to read the other three books before reading this latest one. The story of real-life Evangelina Cisneros is intertwined with the two excellent fictional characters of Grace and Marina which makes for a wonderful story of heroism and love of country. Rated 4.25 stars. Review posted on MicheleReader.com.

  7. 5 out of 5

    DJ Sakata

    Favorite Quotes: It feels as though we are waiting to die here, growing mad minute by minute, our bones aging, the life leeching from us. My debut was far from a splash, more like a slow drizzle, and now at twenty-five, unmarried and living with my mother’s eccentric sister, I am hardly marriage material. In my current attire, everyone makes a concerted effort not to make eye contact with me as I pass by them. My appearance provides the perfect opportunity to work as a courier because no one, least Favorite Quotes: It feels as though we are waiting to die here, growing mad minute by minute, our bones aging, the life leeching from us. My debut was far from a splash, more like a slow drizzle, and now at twenty-five, unmarried and living with my mother’s eccentric sister, I am hardly marriage material. In my current attire, everyone makes a concerted effort not to make eye contact with me as I pass by them. My appearance provides the perfect opportunity to work as a courier because no one, least of all the wealthy and privileged citizens of Havana, wants to confront the human face of this war. It’s impossible to feel victorious when the “victory” leaves your country in ruins. My Review: I must confess other than knowing where it is on the map and the lore of their famous cigars, I am woefully ignorant about Cuba, Cuban history, and Cuban culture. I wore Mr. Google out while I read this tome and was astounded at how much of this story was actually true or based on true events. The author must have researched thousands of hours and brought history to life. She often walked a fine line to avoid being overwrought, as there was agony in every character’s storyline, so - much - agony. This was an informative as well as a challenging read for me and she implanted me so deeply within the narrative, I was struggling along with the characters. There was no shortage of despair, fear, misery, abuse, deprivation, and horrific conditions. The writing was highly descriptive as well as emotive and heart-squeezing and was intermittently paced yet quite eventful and busy. I need a spa day and a vat of wine to recover.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Candie

    3.5 stars I really enjoyed learning about the subject matter in this book. I have never read a book previously on the Cuban Revolution and really didn't know much about it. The plot of the story was very interesting and I found it to be quite a page turner because I really wanted to know what was going to happen next. That said, I found the character development in this book to be a bit lacking. It seemed to focus a lot on the characters so I should have felt more connected to them, but I didn't. 3.5 stars I really enjoyed learning about the subject matter in this book. I have never read a book previously on the Cuban Revolution and really didn't know much about it. The plot of the story was very interesting and I found it to be quite a page turner because I really wanted to know what was going to happen next. That said, I found the character development in this book to be a bit lacking. It seemed to focus a lot on the characters so I should have felt more connected to them, but I didn't. The writing seemed quite shallow and full of cliches. The romances seemed kind of silly like they were added in there to just marry every woman off; there was not much build up to them. Overall, it was a good book because I found the topic really interesting, I find historical fiction a very accessible way to start learning about a certain point in history, but the writing for me was just okay.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bkwmlee

    So far, I have read all 4 of Chanel Cleeton’s historical fiction novels and have enjoyed all of them. Starting with Next Year in Havana , which first introduced us to the Perez family and their subsequent exodus from Cuba, then later her follow-up novel When We Left Cuba , where she continued the family’s story after their arrival in the United States, to last year’s standalone novel The Last Train to Key West , and now her most recent release The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba , Cleeto So far, I have read all 4 of Chanel Cleeton’s historical fiction novels and have enjoyed all of them. Starting with Next Year in Havana , which first introduced us to the Perez family and their subsequent exodus from Cuba, then later her follow-up novel When We Left Cuba , where she continued the family’s story after their arrival in the United States, to last year’s standalone novel The Last Train to Key West , and now her most recent release The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba , Cleeton not only pays tribute to her own Cuban heritage, she also sheds light on a few little-known historical events that have been fascinating to learn about. This time around, in her latest work, Cleeton tells the story of Evangelina Cisneros, a real-life Cuban woman who was part of the fight for Cuba’s independence from Spanish occupation at the end of the nineteenth century. At the age of only eighteen, Evangelina was separated from her family and unjustly thrown into a Havana jail notorious for its squalid conditions. When Evangelina’s situation is brought to the attention of an American audience via New York newspaper reporters stationed in Cuba, she suddenly finds herself thrust into the international spotlight – in addition to being dubbed “the most beautiful girl in Cuba” by the media, she also becomes a rallying cry on the political front for those pushing American intervention in Cuba. At the same time, Marina Perez is separated from her beloved husband Mateo when he goes off to join the Cuban revolutionaries – shortly afterward, she and her 7-year-old daughter Isabella and mother-in-law Luz lose everything they own when Spanish soldiers burn down their farm and force them into reconcentration camps where, in order to survive, Marina secretly works as a courier passing messages to the revolutionaries. Meanwhile, in New York, Grace Harrington lands a dream job as a female journalist at the Journal, run by famous newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, where she hopes to catch that one big scoop that will allow her to be taken seriously as an independent woman trying to prove herself in the ruthless world of news media. The lives of these 3 women converge and are changed forever when the situation in Cuba becomes most dire and the United States is spurred into war with Spain for control over the territory. Once again, Cleeton tells a compelling story from the alternating perspectives of 3 women whose backgrounds and circumstances couldn’t be more different, yet they are brought together with the common goal of fighting for freedom – whether for themselves as individuals or for their country. As was the case with Cleeton’s previous books, the story features strong female protagonists who defy convention as well as the restrictions placed upon them by society, ultimately rising above their circumstances with courage and grace. Having said that though, there was one slight difference I noticed this time around: with Cleeton’s previous book, which was also narrated from the different perspectives of the 3 main female characters, I had actually liked all 3 story arcs equally – with this one though, I actually preferred Marina’s and Grace’s story arcs to Evangelina’s, which is a bit ironic given Evangelina’s story is technically the main arc that everything else revolves around. It didn’t occur to me at first, but after I read the Author’s Note -- where Cleeton explains how, with Evangelina’s story, most of the sources available, including the autobiography of her life, were written by people associated with Hearst’s New York Journal newspaper, which was locked in a fierce circulation battle with the rival paper run by Joseph Pulitzer at the time, so unfortunately, much of the information was sensationalized and likely overdramatized in order to attract buyers, making it hard to separate the true facts of Evangelina’s life from the embellished ones – it made sense why Evangelina’s story arc felt a bit “off” to me (I realize now that what was “off” with the story was that it felt too incredulous and farcical – by comparisons, both Marina’s and Grace’s stories felt much more realistic). For me, I would’ve preferred Marina’s story to be the main one — I think the book overall would’ve been more powerful and emotional if that had been the case. With all that said, I still enjoyed this quite a bit. Chanel Cleeton is a great storyteller and writer — when reading her books, it’s easy to become absorbed and lose yourself in the stories she crafts based off her thorough and extensive research. I also love the way she weaves a connection to the Perez name through all of her books (some more subtly than others) — every time I read one of her books, I feel compelled to go back and re-read Next Year in Havana again to find the connection. Cleeton’s books have definitely become “must-reads” for me and of course, I look forward to seeing what she has in store for us next, both from a story and character perspective (and yes, I will continue to look for the Perez connection as well)! Received ARC from Berkley via Edelweiss.

  10. 5 out of 5

    BernLuvsBooks

    Why have I taken so long to read Chanel Cleeton? I am not a huge historical fiction reader but I enjoy it from time to time, especially if it features strong female characters like in The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba. This was told via multiple perspectives, all adding to the overall story. And what a story it was! Evangelina Cisneros is thrown in jail as a rebel during the Cuban War on Independence. She is dubbed "The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba" by the press. Telling the tale of her imprisonment Why have I taken so long to read Chanel Cleeton? I am not a huge historical fiction reader but I enjoy it from time to time, especially if it features strong female characters like in The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba. This was told via multiple perspectives, all adding to the overall story. And what a story it was! Evangelina Cisneros is thrown in jail as a rebel during the Cuban War on Independence. She is dubbed "The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba" by the press. Telling the tale of her imprisonment helps raise awareness of the truth of what is happening in Cuba. Grace Harrington is a young female reporter who lands a job at William Randolph Hearst's newspaper in 1896. She becomes more and more aware of the realities of the war in Cuba and wants to write about the women who often go unseen and unheard. Maria Perez is a young Cuban woman who gave up her life of privilege and was renounced by her family when she married a poor man for love. Trying to make ends meet while she cares for her daughter and mother-in-law, she becomes a secret courier for the Cuban Revolutionaries in Havana. We follow these three women's stories, each showing bravery, strength, love and compassion in her own way. I love that this was based on the real Cuban heroine. What an extraordinary woman and life! I thoroughly appreciate reading a work of historical fiction like this that can not only entertain but educate. Cleeton has a gift for story-telling that simply sweeps you away. I listened to this one audio and easily lost myself in the tumultuous time period for hours on end. I must read her previous works soon.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Desiree

    I gave up on this story after about 78 of its 362 pages. I was so disappointed because I read the first three books in the series (Next Year in Havana, When We Left Cuba, and The Last Train to Key West) and really enjoyed them (especially When We Left Cuba) and they all proudly hold a spot in my guest room bookcase. As with the others, this book focuses on a real-life Perez ancestor of the author, Chanel Cleeton; but with the added bonus of another factual, historical personage as well - "the Mos I gave up on this story after about 78 of its 362 pages. I was so disappointed because I read the first three books in the series (Next Year in Havana, When We Left Cuba, and The Last Train to Key West) and really enjoyed them (especially When We Left Cuba) and they all proudly hold a spot in my guest room bookcase. As with the others, this book focuses on a real-life Perez ancestor of the author, Chanel Cleeton; but with the added bonus of another factual, historical personage as well - "the Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba" herself, Evangelina Cisneros. Also, newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst - such an interesting character! Totally my nerdy, historical jam, right? Sadly, no. Firstly, the story did seem a bit light on material, with many scenes expanded just to fill a word count. Secondly, read on below only if you're not going to be "triggered" (ha ha) by a viewpoint that may be different than your own. I realize that a modern-day book has to appeal to modern-day readers, even if based in the factual, historical past. That said, I tired quickly of the 21st Century tropes of thinking that marriage, running a household, and/or raising a family have no intrinsic value (think of all the things in life you pay for, such as meal prep, housekeeping, childcare - are those devoid of merit?); and characters raised in wealthy homes complaining and bemoaning their "privilege" (perhaps your ancestors worked really hard so you wouldn't have to). The book really "jumped the shark" for me, though, when one of said spoiled characters was about to attend a fancy party in the social circle in which she grew up and started banging on about "the 1%". *eye roll* These thoughts are my own and I don't expect any and all to agree (that's what so great about communities - difference of thought!). I'm not looking for a debate on my comments, however, I put them here for those who it may help. If you disagree, please feel free to move on to the next review without comment. P.S. No plot spoilers above, so you're safe, if you'd like to read it. :)

  12. 4 out of 5

    Literary Redhead

    Gorgeous writing, impeccable research and three courageous female characters make this a must-read for any historical fiction lover! The title protagonist, Evangelina Cisneros, is unfairly incarcerated in the late 1890s, stuck in an infamous Havana jail. She’s among many oppressed Cubans who yearn for freedom from Spain, and is based on one of Cuba’s real heroines. Randolph Hearst and his influential press take up her cause, naming her “The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba” in a ploy to sell papers a Gorgeous writing, impeccable research and three courageous female characters make this a must-read for any historical fiction lover! The title protagonist, Evangelina Cisneros, is unfairly incarcerated in the late 1890s, stuck in an infamous Havana jail. She’s among many oppressed Cubans who yearn for freedom from Spain, and is based on one of Cuba’s real heroines. Randolph Hearst and his influential press take up her cause, naming her “The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba” in a ploy to sell papers and urge America to back Cuba. Gutsy Grace Harrington, a Hearst reporter, and Marina Perez, a secret courier supporting Cuba, add compellingly to the narrative as they toil to free Evangelina. Will they succeed? Will Hearst push the U.S. into war by skewing truth to best his rival, Joseph Pulitzer? Chanel Cleeton’s latest reveals the always intriguing, often heartbreaking answers in this page-turning triumph — my first Cleeton but definitely not the last! 5 of 5 Stars Pub Date 04 May 2021 Thanks to the author, Berkley Publishing Group, and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are mine. #TheMostBeautifulGirlinCuba #NetGalley

  13. 5 out of 5

    Joan Happel

    This newest addition to Cleeton’s sublime Cuba series, does not disappoint! Set in 1896 to 1898, the years leading up to the Spanish American War, the story alternates between three fascinating and courageous women. The first is the real Evangelina Cisneros, who American newspapers have named dubbed “The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba”. Evangelina is imprisoned in Havana and William Randolph Hearst sets out to orchestrate her escape and use her as the impetus for American to declare war on Spain. S This newest addition to Cleeton’s sublime Cuba series, does not disappoint! Set in 1896 to 1898, the years leading up to the Spanish American War, the story alternates between three fascinating and courageous women. The first is the real Evangelina Cisneros, who American newspapers have named dubbed “The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba”. Evangelina is imprisoned in Havana and William Randolph Hearst sets out to orchestrate her escape and use her as the impetus for American to declare war on Spain. Secondly, Marina, a member of the Perez family, has been disowned by her family because she chose to marry a revolutionary. With her husband missing, she and her daughter are detained in a refugee camp. She finds work as a laundress and is recruited by the Hearst’s people to be the go between with Evangelina. Finally, there is Grace Herrington, a spunky young woman with ambitions to be the next Nelly Bly, she is hired by Hearst to help tell the story of Evangelina. The three women’s stories come together to in this well-researched and gripping novel of courage, love, and perseverance. A wonderful blend of history and fiction, with strong characters and fast-paced prose. This is a masterfully crafted story, blending real life characters such as Hearst and Cisneros with strong-willed females breaking down the barriers of their time and class. I have loved all Cleeton’s novels, but this may well be my favorite. Once you pick it up, you won’t be able to put it down; following the many twists and turns until it leads to the satisfying conclusion! Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group and NetGalley for the ARC.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)

    Once again I am completely blown away at how beautifully this author can create a story and transport me back in time and right into the heart of this country and all it's glory and sadness. I absolutely loved the storyline of these amazing women and their journey at finding not only themselves along the way but a life and love of country as well. This was absolutely amazing and such a wonderful addition to this series/time line. I was swept away with these amazing characters, their history and Once again I am completely blown away at how beautifully this author can create a story and transport me back in time and right into the heart of this country and all it's glory and sadness. I absolutely loved the storyline of these amazing women and their journey at finding not only themselves along the way but a life and love of country as well. This was absolutely amazing and such a wonderful addition to this series/time line. I was swept away with these amazing characters, their history and their story. An absolutely heart breaking and heart warming story about what it means to be truly brave and courageous and standing up for what is right and true and fair. *ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rindy

    I don't even know where to start with this book. I am very picky about historical fiction and train wrecks like this book are the reason why. The subject matter and time period should have made this book an interesting read, rather than a painful slog to the finish. Cleeton's writing style definitely leaves something to be desired. I wasn't expecting Dickens but this book is, sadly, very shallow. The language is overly dramatic, yet inadequate at the same time. I found much of it juvenile and ma I don't even know where to start with this book. I am very picky about historical fiction and train wrecks like this book are the reason why. The subject matter and time period should have made this book an interesting read, rather than a painful slog to the finish. Cleeton's writing style definitely leaves something to be desired. I wasn't expecting Dickens but this book is, sadly, very shallow. The language is overly dramatic, yet inadequate at the same time. I found much of it juvenile and many of the terms and concepts she imposes on the time are modern and inappropriate. The characters spoke/thought in an odd mix of period and modern language. Amplified by first-person narration, the heroines came across as vapid, as opposed to strong capable women. Marina seemed like an afterthought in the story. Of course, Cleeton reminded us incessantly that they were women. Most of the men were nothing more than clichés. The pacing was often slow or too rushed. I often found myself skimming passages. I could go on. I wanted to like this book, but in the end I thought "The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba," had all the depth of a puddle.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Carole (Carole's Random Life)

    This review can also be found at https://carolesrandomlife.com/ 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 This review can also be found at https://carolesrandomlife.com/ 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.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Eva K (journeyofthepages)

    The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleeton is an outstanding historical fictional novel capturing the events of 1890s Cuba under Spanish oppression. I have now read or listened to all four of Cleeton’s historical fiction books based on Cuban history and oh my goodness I think this is my favorite! They’re all phenomenal but this one has something special I can’t quite put my finger on. This story features three strong female protagonists which follows suit with previous books. The women are The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleeton is an outstanding historical fictional novel capturing the events of 1890s Cuba under Spanish oppression. I have now read or listened to all four of Cleeton’s historical fiction books based on Cuban history and oh my goodness I think this is my favorite! They’re all phenomenal but this one has something special I can’t quite put my finger on. This story features three strong female protagonists which follows suit with previous books. The women are fierce, unstoppable, caring and kind, but full of grit. This story had me hooked with all the excitement of a revolution! Undercover journalists, espionage, spies, jail breaks, prison camps, family, love and romance, press and politics, war, all during a freaking revolution. It’s an exciting read with so much heart. Thank you, Netgalley, Berkley Pub, and Chanel Cleeton, for a #gifted copy of this for review!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Barbi ♉️

    5+ stars. This is her best book yet!! Oh how I want more! Well researched! Well written! Loved learning about events in history I know little about!! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

  19. 5 out of 5

    Betül

    **ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review** I mostly read Contemporary Romance and throw a couple other genres in every now and then, Historical Fiction being one of them. I have fallen in love with Chanel Cleeton's writing since I read Next Year in Havana, and I always look forward to her releasing her next book. I can always depend on her writing about strong and determined women. The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba is the latest release in the author's Cuba Saga. I want to thank **ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review** I mostly read Contemporary Romance and throw a couple other genres in every now and then, Historical Fiction being one of them. I have fallen in love with Chanel Cleeton's writing since I read Next Year in Havana, and I always look forward to her releasing her next book. I can always depend on her writing about strong and determined women. The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba is the latest release in the author's Cuba Saga. I want to thank her for introducing me to Cuba, a beautiful and resilient country, and educating me to its complicated past. The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba was like the previous books very emotional and intriguing. I fell in love with the three main characters Evangelina, Grace and Marina. Normally I am not a big fan of multiple POVs but Chanel just does such an incredible job in making the story flow perfectly. I was 100% connected to the characters and looked forward to seeing how they would fare in this book. I was rooting for them, and when they found themselves in bad situations it hurt my heart. This book made me feel so many different emotions. I loved how everything was connected and the characters at times found themselves in the company of each other. I love that the author continues to write about Cuba but chooses a different historical event to focus on. It is very educative and piques my interest to do my own research. This book was great and it held my attention until the end. The author really brought the characters to life, and I loved that some of her characters were based on real people. I already look forward to Chanel's next book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Milena

    The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba is an exceptionally well-written historical fiction novel from one of my favorite authors, Chanel Cleeton. It's a story of three very different women, caught in the war for independence between Cuba and Spain in the nineteenth century. Grace Harrington is one of few female reporters, working for the New York paper, the Journal. Marina Perez is a wife of a revolutionary and a courier who delivers messages for the independence fighters. Evangelina Cisneros, a real-l The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba is an exceptionally well-written historical fiction novel from one of my favorite authors, Chanel Cleeton. It's a story of three very different women, caught in the war for independence between Cuba and Spain in the nineteenth century. Grace Harrington is one of few female reporters, working for the New York paper, the Journal. Marina Perez is a wife of a revolutionary and a courier who delivers messages for the independence fighters. Evangelina Cisneros, a real-life historical person, is a prisoner at a notorious women's prison in Havana, Casa de Recogidas. The lives of these three women intertwine in unexpected ways when the story of Evangelina gets plastered over US papers and she becomes the symbol of the Cuban revolution. Channel Cleeton has a real gift for story-telling, I enjoyed every book of hers I've read. I usually don't like multiple POV books but I didn't mind it in this book. I liked Grace's and Marina's POV the most. Evangelina's POV was the least developed, and I think maybe it was an artistic choice. Even in real life, Evangelina was made into something larger than life, she was dubbed "the most beautiful girl in Cuba" and her life was sensationalized, but her true character and the details of her story remained a mystery. All three heroines chose lives that went against society's expectations at the time. As often with historical fiction books, I loved reading the author's note and her inspiration for this novel. I would recommend The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba to all historical fiction fans. *ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

    One of my favorite go-to authors, Chanel Cleeton can do no wrong. I love her books. Her latest, The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba, centers around three strong women in the 1890’s, each unique in their own right; American reporter Grace, Marina a secret courier for the Cuban revolutionary’s, and Evangelina Cisneros who’s unfairly jailed in an infamous Cuban prison. William Randolph Hearst and his press take up Evangelinas cause, sending a journalist to Cuba to help plan her escape from Recogidas pr One of my favorite go-to authors, Chanel Cleeton can do no wrong. I love her books. Her latest, The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba, centers around three strong women in the 1890’s, each unique in their own right; American reporter Grace, Marina a secret courier for the Cuban revolutionary’s, and Evangelina Cisneros who’s unfairly jailed in an infamous Cuban prison. William Randolph Hearst and his press take up Evangelinas cause, sending a journalist to Cuba to help plan her escape from Recogidas prison to America. With Cuba under Spanish rule, tensions rise in the fight against Spain for Cuban independence, and Cuba looks to America to intervene. Inspired by actual events, Chanel Cleeton immerses you alongside Evangelina Cisneros’s fight for freedom, as well as Grace who’s trying to free her with the help of Marina. CC intertwines their stories perfectly. This story is well written and overflows with well-researched Cuban history. The romances are just as heartwarming as the characters themselves. It’s all so perfect. Such a great story!

  22. 5 out of 5

    The Lit Bitch

    I have been a big fan of Chanel Cleeton for a while now. I have loved all her books and whenever I see that she has a new book coming out, I fan-girl pretty hard! But this book in particular made me really fan-girl. Most of Cleeton’s have a strong historical fiction component but it’s mostly 1930s or 1950s/60s time period, which is fine but its truthfully not my favorite time in history. Don’t get me wrong, I love Cleeton’s books but historically, the modern era isn’t my fav, but when I saw this I have been a big fan of Chanel Cleeton for a while now. I have loved all her books and whenever I see that she has a new book coming out, I fan-girl pretty hard! But this book in particular made me really fan-girl. Most of Cleeton’s have a strong historical fiction component but it’s mostly 1930s or 1950s/60s time period, which is fine but its truthfully not my favorite time in history. Don’t get me wrong, I love Cleeton’s books but historically, the modern era isn’t my fav, but when I saw this book was coming out and it was set at the end of the 19th century, I couldn’t contain my excitement because that is my favorite time period! Since reading her books, I have come to really appreciate Cuban history. It’s history that I know nothing about but Cleeton makes me want to know all the Cuban things! If you love historical fiction but haven’t read Cleeton’s books, you need to just stop reading this review and go grab one! Her books are so unique in their setting and history that you can’t help but be transported. There is a romance element but for me the real interest is in the history part, I mean I love the romance but the history is just so different and I truly feel like I am reading something fresh and new every time I read one of her books! If I had to describe Cleeton’s books in one word it would be authentic. Every time I read one of her books, the research is top shelf and the writing is well crafted and elegant. I simply adore her books and cannot rave about them enough! The stories of the women are alway compelling, different, and fully realized. In this one I absolutely loved Evangelina! I thought that Beatriz was my favorite heroine of Cleeton’s but then came Evangelina and now she has taken that honor. I loved Evangelina and felt completely invested in her story. Grace and Marina were also developed and well researched but for me it was Evangeline that stood out as the most memorable. As with Cleeton’s other books, this one pulled me in immediately and I became wrapped up in all the history, characters, and or course the romance elements. I do not want to give too much away about this book because I think it would appeal to so many readers. Even if you don’t love historical fiction, this book (as well as all her others) are well researched and interesting. She writes about patriotism, history, strong female characters, and the setting is exotic and simply different. So many historical fiction books are set in England or France during WWII and Cleeton’s books take us to Cuba during many different historical time periods so we can understand the complexity of the Cuban and American relationship. Her books are simply amazing, so just read them! I will say though, that this one had a different feel than the others. It felt a little heavier than some of her other books but it was still an amazing read. I think what made it heavier for me was the reconcentration camps. But do not let the heavier content sway you or put you off to this one. It’s such a great story and I adored it even if it was a little heavier. It was a wonderful novel and I cannot say enough great things about this latest ‘Cuban novel’ from Cleeton. Is you want beautiful story telling, amazing research, and something different this is the author for you! Go read this book! See my full review here

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kate Vocke (bookapotamus)

    I absolutely adore Chanel Cleeton's books and this was no exception. It did take a much slower start in the beginning as this one definitely feels much more historical in theme than her others, but once I got into it - I was all in. She has this way of making you care abut every single one of the women featured in her books. By the end, you fell like you know them personally. As always, the book is layered with history, love, and strong females whose lives intersect in the most beautiful of ways I absolutely adore Chanel Cleeton's books and this was no exception. It did take a much slower start in the beginning as this one definitely feels much more historical in theme than her others, but once I got into it - I was all in. She has this way of making you care abut every single one of the women featured in her books. By the end, you fell like you know them personally. As always, the book is layered with history, love, and strong females whose lives intersect in the most beautiful of ways. The fight for the independence of Cuba takes center stage, and how it affects these three women's lives. And it's once again, beautifully written, rich in historical facts and descriptions that transport you to Cuba and NYC, and full of the strength and power of some pretty inspirational females - always a recurring theme in her stories that I am happy to devour. And I love the character connections in each of her books - they are always fun to stumble upon!!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Deanne Patterson

    Though the author has many other books that look fabulous this is my first read by her. The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba is based on many true events that took place. I absolutely love reading historical fiction because of what I learn from them. The author has put in double time doing her research for this one I do believe! It was fascinating to learn so many facts that were previously unknown to me such as the fierce circulation war between William Randolph Hearst Sr. and Joseph Pulitzer. Hearst go Though the author has many other books that look fabulous this is my first read by her. The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba is based on many true events that took place. I absolutely love reading historical fiction because of what I learn from them. The author has put in double time doing her research for this one I do believe! It was fascinating to learn so many facts that were previously unknown to me such as the fierce circulation war between William Randolph Hearst Sr. and Joseph Pulitzer. Hearst got ahead by sensationalizing his paper's headlines. This newspaper battle takes place during the Gilded Age New York City where showgirls and yacht parties were commonplace for these tycoons. There are three story lines going here with the fight for freedom of Cuba mainly focusing on the extraordinary woman, Cuban revolutionary Evangelina Cisneros. She was exiled with her father to the Isle of Pines and then imprisoned in Recogidas prison which had horrific conditions. She was helped to escape by a Journal reporter. She became famous after her jail break and many newspaper articles were written about her. She was given the title of "The Most Beautiful Girl In Cuba" by the American newspapers. Many of the articles written about her were a caricature of her and people's opinions were shaped by how the articles were written not by Evangelina's true character. "The war for independence from Spain is one of the darkest and most heartbreaking times in Cuban history" While not having the exact number it is estimated that one third of Cuba's population was sent to Spanish concentration camps which resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths. Very dark time for Cuba! I am sure Cuba still celebrates it's formal freedom today after gaining it from the United States May 20th 1902. I suggest you read the author's notes at the back of the book that accompany the story. Absolutely excellent book, a story that needed to be told! Pub Date 04 May 2021 I was given a complimentary copy of this book. Thank you. All opinions expressed are my own.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jasmine Dale

    I know I'm in the minority here and maybe I am just chasing the feelings of a newly discovered debut author for when I read Next Year in Havana... but this one was just ok for me. I feel like there could be so much MORE. And the woman the book is named after was the least interesting woman. It was very fantastical. And I didn't enjoy how all the women were portrayed. I know I'm in the minority here and maybe I am just chasing the feelings of a newly discovered debut author for when I read Next Year in Havana... but this one was just ok for me. I feel like there could be so much MORE. And the woman the book is named after was the least interesting woman. It was very fantastical. And I didn't enjoy how all the women were portrayed.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    Thank you to Berkley Pub and NetGalley for a gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. I don't read a lot of historical fiction but I really love Chanel Cleeton's writing. It's always a great history lesson on a part of history that may not be very well known. Her stories are captivating and you get very invested in the characters. Her books are definitely page turners. I enjoyed The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba which focuses on Cuba's struggle for independence from Spain and the Spanish Thank you to Berkley Pub and NetGalley for a gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. I don't read a lot of historical fiction but I really love Chanel Cleeton's writing. It's always a great history lesson on a part of history that may not be very well known. Her stories are captivating and you get very invested in the characters. Her books are definitely page turners. I enjoyed The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba which focuses on Cuba's struggle for independence from Spain and the Spanish American War. However, this one was a little too history focused for me. Cleeton is usually really good at weaving the lives of the three women she writes together, but this one felt a bit weaker. Overall, this one is not my favorite but I still highly recommend this series of standalone novels.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    So I ended up liking where this was going (particularly the lady journalist/rich dude story), but the amount of time I was reading this kind of speaks for itself. It was SLOW and it took me a really long time to want to pick it back up after I started it. The last couple of books by this author have featured really large casts of characters, and I selfishly wish a little that she'd return to much more narrow focused books the way the original Perez sister novels were. It allows them to be a litt So I ended up liking where this was going (particularly the lady journalist/rich dude story), but the amount of time I was reading this kind of speaks for itself. It was SLOW and it took me a really long time to want to pick it back up after I started it. The last couple of books by this author have featured really large casts of characters, and I selfishly wish a little that she'd return to much more narrow focused books the way the original Perez sister novels were. It allows them to be a little bit more romantic, with more development, which I think is what I want most from her.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sue Em

    Interesting history of a little known period, especially the rivalry between Hearst and Pulitzer as exemplified by Grace, society deb turned reporter. The Cuban characters didn't affect me at all. So a little disappointed as loved her previos books. Interesting history of a little known period, especially the rivalry between Hearst and Pulitzer as exemplified by Grace, society deb turned reporter. The Cuban characters didn't affect me at all. So a little disappointed as loved her previos books.

  29. 4 out of 5

    ☕️Kimberly

    Inspired by real-life events and the true story of a legendary Cuban woman–Evangelina Cisneros, the Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba quickly pulled me in. Cuba has been invaded by Spain and three times the Cubans have unsuccessfully tried to overturn their rule. Many people in Cuba and in the United States support Cuba’s freedom. In an attempt to shed light on the war, all while selling more papers and swaying the public and President of the United States, two newspapers vie for headlines. Newspaper ty Inspired by real-life events and the true story of a legendary Cuban woman–Evangelina Cisneros, the Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba quickly pulled me in. Cuba has been invaded by Spain and three times the Cubans have unsuccessfully tried to overturn their rule. Many people in Cuba and in the United States support Cuba’s freedom. In an attempt to shed light on the war, all while selling more papers and swaying the public and President of the United States, two newspapers vie for headlines. Newspaper tycoons William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer are trying to outdo each other from stealing reporters to getting the inside scoop. It’s 1896, and Grace Harrington is trying to make it in this cutthroat business. Cuba and the stories that emerge change the landscape of journalism, and Grace hopes to make a difference and prove herself. Grace is independent and lived with her Aunt. Unlike the others in her social circles, she isn’t interested in balls, marriage and exclusive invited to lavish parties where the five hundred try to outspend each other. An idealist, she hopes to put pen to paper and change the world. Meanwhile, in Cuba, eighteen-year-old Evangelina Cisnero, a wealthy Cuban finds herself imprisoned. Separated from her family, there is little hope of escape. That is until Hearts hears of her story and enlists men to free her. She becomes the gem of the United States and through the paper and a book all handled by Journal; she becomes the voice of Cuba. Evangelina doesn’t want any of this, but she loves Cuba and desperately wants it to have its freedom. Marina Perez left her life of privilege to marry a Cuban farmer. They had built a good life with their daughter until the Spanish took their land. Her husband joins the revolutionaries and Marina finds herself in an interment camp. She cleans laundry and passes messages for the cause. Perez represents the people of Cuba from their loss to their endless passion to free Cuba. ¡Viva Cuba Libre! Cleeton weaves history, human perseverance and rich characters to form a story that held me captive. Anyone who enjoys historical fiction will find themselves captivated by the story of these women and the world they live in. I closed the book and immediately wanted to learn more about Evangelina and other historical characters we meet. This review was originally posted at Caffeinated Reviewer

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    I enjoyed Chanel Cleeton's newest historical novel. The Most Beautiful Girl In Cuba is set in the 1890's and the time period is significant. It is the Gilded Age in New York City where "society" lives extravagantly while the poor suffer. "Yellow Journalism" is present with over the top news stories, particularly by Hearst's New York Journal. Cuba is controlled by Spain while many Cubans live in poverty fighting for independence. I was mostly unaware of details of the United States' involvement i I enjoyed Chanel Cleeton's newest historical novel. The Most Beautiful Girl In Cuba is set in the 1890's and the time period is significant. It is the Gilded Age in New York City where "society" lives extravagantly while the poor suffer. "Yellow Journalism" is present with over the top news stories, particularly by Hearst's New York Journal. Cuba is controlled by Spain while many Cubans live in poverty fighting for independence. I was mostly unaware of details of the United States' involvement in Cuba and didn't really know what the significance of "The Maine" was or which war it referenced. One Cuban woman, Evangelina, is real as is her involvement with the Journal. She serves as a significant plot device in this novel.

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