Cover Image: The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba

The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba

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Member Reviews

I absolutely loved this book! I was so engrossed by the characters right off the bat. Chanel Cleeton's writing is out of this world, if you've been in a reading slump this is a great place to start, it absolutely blew me away!
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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
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It took me awhile to get to this book, but I finally did and enjoyed it! Thank you NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for the arc of this book in exchange for an honest review. I've always wanted to read a book by Chanel Cleeton, but I don't think that this one was my favorite. It was a story about three women throughout part of Cuba's history from the French occupation to the French American war. It's obvious that a lot of research and work went into writing this book and for that I applaud the author! It was very fascinating and I loved learning about a part of history that I previously knew very little about. My only complaint is that it took me a long time to read it as it seems like it got a little slow in the middle, but that could be a unique situation to me. I recommend it to fans of Cleeton and/or historical fiction!
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Chanel Cleeton has done it again. I love books  based on true stories. I loved how facts of the Cuban war of independence from Spain were interweaved throughout. I loved the characters, The way the resistance was portrayed along with the personal stories of these three woman . A must read .
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Wow I absolutely loved this book I will read anything Chanel Cleeton writes! 
The Year is 1896 and there is a bitter rival in New York between two publishers, William Randolph Hearst who owns the New York Journal and Joseph Pulitzer owner of New York World. They both want to print the most outrageous stories and sell more papers than each other. Grace Harrington is determined to make a new for herself and become the next Nellie Bly and become a stunt girl reporter. When word starts to spread about Evangelina Cisneros whose eighteen, and being held in prison in Cuba for her role in an attack of a Spanish Colonel, Hearst determines this is his big story. Soon Evangelinas story is front page and readers including the Cuban revolutionaries and she’s called the most beautiful girl in Cuba. 
Conditions in Cuba are getting worse by the day for Mariana she just wants to keep her daughter safe. Mariana is the estranged daughter of the sugar baron the well known Perez family and her family had sided with Spain. Marianas husband Mateo is fighting for Cuba’s freedom and Mariana is secretly a courier for the rebels and she’s risking her life. Soon the three woman’s lives connect, especially when Grace finds herself in Cuba can they survive? Wow I loved this book I was glued to the pages and I loved the different roles of each character and how strong they were. Four stars!
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This book made me feel like I was in Cuba in the late 1800's and in NYC.  The feud between Pulitzer and Hearst was also so interesting.  I appreciated all the the characters did to fight for Cuba or give support/aide when they could!  I enjoy all books by Cleeton and this one was another fantastic book!
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The final book in this three book series, by Chanel Cleeton- this work of historical fiction book is a beautiful telling of the battle for Cuban independence and the strength and resilience of the Cuban people. An absolute tribute to the history and families and their sacrifice! 4.5 STARS
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I love Cleeton books, and this one was no exception. The mix of suspense, love, character development, and history of Cuba leave me always, always eager to read her books. This one took a bit longer for me to get into, but once I did I couldn't put it down. Hands down one of my favorite historical fiction writers.
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Chanel Cleeton delivers again with a third Perez family novel. One of the best parts about Cleeton's books is that each is linked through the Perez family, yet can be enjoyed as a stand alone novel. When read solo, this novel is excellent, but having read the previous Cleeton books following the Perez family (Next Year in Havanna, When We Left Cuba, The Last Train to Key West) it only amplifies the story.

Cleeton compliments her excellent writing with tidbits of Cuban history. Her Cuban background and research has helped her create realistic and believable fiction. Like many of her previous novels, The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba adds in real historical events and creates a beautifully woven tale around it with heartache, hope, and family at its core.
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Not my favorite by this author. A lot of slower parts and took me a while to get through. I would highly recommend other works by this author over this one.
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Three women become involved in a movement to end a war and free a nation and are connected to one another through their individual actions. Prisoners are freed and others are taken, but what buoys all three is the firm belief they’re doing the right thing. Author Chanel Cleeton brings back her meticulous detailing in the somewhat dragging novel The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba.

At the end of the 19th century, Grace Harrington wants to become a journalist. She wants to follow the example of famous reporter Nellie Bly who has written stories specifically about women and highlighted their circumstances. Despite her family’s shock that she’s not content to meander about society, Grace sets her sights on joining the New York World under famed newspaperman Joseph Pulitzer. 

When Grace goes to ask Pulitzer for a job, however, he has different ideas. Instead of hiring her outright he asks Grace to join his rival, William Randolph Hearst. At one time, Pulitzer was the one setting standards and making journalistic breakthroughs. Now Hearst has set up shop with his New York Journal and is stealing reporters and editors from Pulitzer. For once, Pulitzer wants to be stealing things, namely information, and he wants Grace to be his thief.

Grace accepts the task and gets a job at the Journal. The world of journalism according to Hearst looks completely different than how Pulitzer runs it, and soon enough Grace gets caught up in the biggest story of the times: the impending war between Spain and Cuba. Cuba wants its freedom from its parent country; Spain has imprisoned and killed thousands of Cubans to control them. Time, and the reporters at the biggest papers in New York City, will only tell what happens next.

In Cuba, Evangelina Cisneros resists the advances of a high-ranking Spanish military officer and is thrown into Casa de Recogidas, one of the worst prisons on the island. It doesn’t matter that Evangelina’s family has diplomatic ties too. The fact that she dreams of a free Cuba and doesn’t give in to the officer is enough to name her guilty of crimes against Spain.

Not far away, Marina Perez begins working as a courier for the Cuban resistance against the Spanish. The love of her life, Mateo, has joined the resistance as a soldier leaving her, her mother-in-law, and her daughter to fend for themselves. Marina is desperate to keep her daughter safe but just as desperate to join the cause so her little girl can grow up free. 

Back in New York, Hearst sends reporters to Cuba to get the scoop, and Grace files story after story with the information she gets in the newsroom. Then Hearst announces his craziest plan yet: he’s authorized some of his reporters to break Evangelina out of prison. He calls her “the most beautiful girl in Cuba” and uses his front page to drum up support for Cuba and its independence.

All three women find themselves connected to the cause for a young country trying to assert itself. As they tackle the problems and questions of their times and circumstances, they’ll discover who they can trust and who they can’t. At the same time, tension mounts as the United States tries to decide whether to join the war.

Author Chanel Cleeton brings to life Cuba and New York City in the late 1800s. Cleeton’s research and attention to detail make the locations of her story feel like lived-in spaces. Grace’s frustration with the limitations society places on her ring true even now more than a hundred years later, and Evangelina and Marina’s loyalty and patriotism are inspiring.

The book falters in bringing the three characters together in an organic way, however. While Evangelina and Grace share somewhat of a connection because the Journal is responsible for the plot to rescue Evangelina, Marina’s story seems almost detached from the other two. For most of the book, in fact, it feels as though Marina’s plot is running parallel to the others with almost no points of intersection.

Cleeton does bring the women together later in the story, but the meetings feel convenient and the mechanics of the writing are visible. While her efforts to showcase the lives of regular Cubans are admirable, the result is a book trying too hard to do too many things all at the same time.

Readers who enjoy historical fiction, however, will certainly learn a lot about Cuba’s struggle for independence and the role of the United States in that effort.
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Chanel Clayton is a go-to author for me. Whenever she comes out with a new book it immediately goes on my TBR. 

The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba takes place in the late 1800's and has dual narrators. One is a budding journalist trying to break through in a man's world in New York City. The other is an unjustly imprisoned girl from Cuba that gets the world's attention for the battle of Independence of Cuba from Spain. 

Both storylines were interesting and I like how they eventually intersected. While it's not my favorite novel of hers, if you've enjoyed her other books, you'll find this one is worth your time. 

4/5⭐️
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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Thanks to Netgalley and Berkeley for the ARC of this book. 

This is the stunningly beautiful story of three women and how they got through the French’s occupation of Cuba up through the French American war. 
Evangelina Cisneros is first in a concentration camps and then moved to a prison. She’s dubbed the most beautiful girl in Cuba by the American media.
Grace Harrington is a very determined young woman who wants to work in the American newspaper industry.
Marina Perez is a young woman living in Cuba who left her family behind for the love of her life. 
Chanel brings you right in to the heart of the story. The sheer amount of research done for this book is mind blowing. Evangeline is a real person and her account in this book is all based from a book that was written about her life in the late 1800s. Historical fiction is definitely one of my favorite genres.
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The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleeton was historical fiction centered on a woman I knew nothing about, but loved learning her story. The story focuses on Evangelina Cisneros who is imprisoned at the age of 18. She is passionate about Cuban independence from Spain, and she has many, many others who support her fight. Her story is picked up by a young female journalist in the US. She is trying to make a name for herself, and she sees Evagelina's story as that chance. However, she also realizes how committed she is to giving voice to this woman. Marina Perez is the third women whose story is told, and she joins the cause of freeing Evagelina and advancing her cause. Y'all, this was a fascinating story centering women to recount important historical happenings. I loved learning about people and events I didn't know through such amazing women! Thanks to NetGalley for the look at this recent release!
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I have to admit.. I was drawn to this book for its amazing cover. I mean, who wouldn't? But The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba was so much more that just a pretty cover. This is a tale of women's rights, bravery, and courage. Chanel Cleeton is a major talent and is definitely one to watch. Highly recommended. Specifically for historical fiction fans.
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I really struggled with this one. I wish it had been told from one perspective instead of three. It took me over two months to finally stick with the book enough to finish it.
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You might know Chanel Cleeton from her novel Next Year In Havana, which was a Reese Witherspoon Book Group Pick, but her newest book The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba is my personal favorite from her. This is historical fiction set at the height of the Pulitzer & Hearst newspaper war in the 1890s. The story follows three women, The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba Evangelina Cisneros, a was the poster girl for the Cuban revolution, a journalist who is inspired by Nellie Bly, and a cuban revolutionary fighting in Havana.
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The last few years I have found myself drawn to historical fiction, I blame (or credit) Chanel Cleeton. When I read Next Year in Havana a few years ago, I was struck by how much I learned while being thoroughly entertained by the different, connected storylines. I’ve been reading more historical fiction and historical romance than I have contemporary romances ever since. The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba was another instant favorite for me! I was intrigued by all three of the main characters, all revolutionary in their own right– Marina Perez, a wife and mother doing her part in the fight against the Spanish, Grace Harrington, a novice journalist following the lead of trailblazing Nellie Bly, and Evangelina Cisneros, a real-life Cuban woman imprisoned in Havana. The mixture of fictional characters and imagined events (based on research) and real people and events make for a compelling story. The plight of the Cuban people during this Cuban Revolution, the politics of the time in Washington, DC and New York, and the newspaper wars between Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst are fascinating. The birth of yellow journalism, and the questionable practice of reporters/publishers creating/influencing the news and how the public reacts to events. The glimpses into the conditions under which so many working people, especially women and children, toiled just trying to survive are both maddening and heartbreaking. I consider myself a well-educated person, but with every book of Ms. Cleeton’s I read, I learn so much more about history, especially Cuba’s history–the abuses suffered at the hands of the Spanish, the reconcentration camps in Havana, the inhumane conditions in the prison for women–yet I don’t feel like I’m in a history class, but rather, I’m learning it through the experiences of the characters, both real and fictional, in her books. Once I picked up this book, I found it very difficult to put down. I kept googling these (real) characters to get more background, and to find out how their lives turned out, I was so intrigued and caught up in the story! Ms. Cleeton used to write romance novels, which is how I came to know her work; this isn’t a romance, but there is a romantic element to the story. In fact, there are multiple. Ms. Cleeton has a way of grabbing the reader’s attention, and not letting go—not even after the book ends. As usual, I cannot recommend this book enough! If you haven’t read the previous books, Next Year in Havana, When We Left Cuba, and The Last Train to Key West (all standalones), you owe it to yourself to do so—I promise you will thank me!
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Cleeton does an amazing job at transporting you to the exact time her books are taking place. This story took me right to the 1890’s when Cuba was under the Spanish regime. 

This story follows three strong female protagonists. The women are strong, powerful and bada$$. 

I was consistently on the edge of my seat following the revolution. This story had espionage, spies, love, romance, politics, war, jail breaks, and heartbreak. 

Again, absolutely loved this one! Another #historicalfiction to add to you #tbr !
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If you travel to Key West, Florida, there’s a buoy where tourists line up to take their pictures. It proclaims the site is the southernmost point in the continental U.S., and that it’s 90 miles to Cuba. With this geographic closeness, it’s no wonder that the United States has always been concerned about affairs in Cuba. 

Author Chanel Cleeton, a Florida native who grew up on stories about her family’s exodus from Cuba following the latest Cuban Revolution, has made a career telling stories about characters who personify the Cuban/American relationship. In 2018, her novel Next Year in Havana became a Reese Witherspoon book club pick, elevating the author’s profile. Her new book, The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba, takes readers to the oldest time period Cleeton has explored—the 1890s. This Cuban Revolution is against Spain, and as America is drawn into the fight, three women seek their own freedom. 

Click on the link below to read the rest of the review.
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