The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba

I don’t generally read a lot of historical fiction, but I really love Chanel Cleeton’s writing. I also tend to really love anything about Cuba (you might remember that Next Year in Havana was one of my favorite books a couple years back… I had been on a kick of reading books about Cuba after going there for a week). This one is set at the end of the 19th century, during the gilded age of New York City. There’s a journalistic battle between Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst’s newspapers. Meanwhile, Spain has invaded Cuba and is wreaking havoc on the Cuban people. Imprisoning them in camps, treating the women horrifically, taking all property for themselves. This book takes us through three brave womens’ stories, which ultimately intersect. There is Grace Harrington who gave up a life of privilege to pursue her dream of becoming a journalist. There’s Marina Perez who grew up in a wealthier part of Cuba but abandoned her family to marry for love. After her husband goes to war, she’s left to provide for her family and becomes a courier, hoping to help with the war in her own way. And there’s Evangelina Cisneros who has caught the eye of a brutal Spanish general. When he tries to force himself on her, her friends and family come to her aid and she is jailed and accused of inciting an attack on him. Evangelina’s story gets to America where she’s billed “the most beautiful girl in Cuba,” and Grace + Marina help (in their own ways) to free her. I read this in just a couple days and really really enjoyed it. Order on or Amazon!