Review: The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleeton

⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 stars | I have to admit, I haven't really been in the mood for historical fiction lately. Unless it's written by Chanel Cleeton and in that case I am 100% going to read it. Her latest, The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba, is another hit in my humble opinion and as with many of her previous books, she deftly switches between multiple points of view, all with equally compelling and courageous heroines. But what's interesting about this novel in particular is that it's inspired by the real-life events and true story of legendary Cuban woman, Evangelina Cisneros (who you better believe I googled after reading this!). 

Three different women take the stage in this book, which takes place during the 1890s. First there's Grace Harrington from New York City, who is caught up in the feud between newspaper tycoons, William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, before ultimately landing a job with the former. She's eager to prove her mettle in an industry filled with men and soon the stories emerging from Cuba provide her with life-changing opportunities. The other two women, Evangelina Cisneros and Marina Perez, are stationed in Havana and both are enduring terrible circumstances. Eighteen-year-old Evangelina is unjustly imprisoned in a notorious women's jail but when Hearst learns of this, he puts her story in the newspaper and calls her "The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba" so she can become the catalyst for Americans to help Cuba gain their independence from Spain. And lastly, Marina and her family are suffering and separated but she wants to do her part to help the cause and becomes a courier secretly working for the Cuban revolutionaries, specifically to break Evangelina free. 

As I mentioned earlier, I found each of the individual women's stories to be equally riveting and I read with anticipation to see how their paths would eventually converge. I admired how resourceful and determined each were to not just sit back and accept their circumstances. They all wanted to fight the good fight and each did so in different ways. I will say that I really enjoyed Grace's point-of-view in particular though because it was so interesting to read about the Gilded Age in NYC and what is was like to have these two feuding newspapers (I didn't know any details about this prior!). There's also some romance in this book but the focus was definitely on what Grace, Evangelina, and Marina were each going through and what was happening in history during that time (just a FYI in case you were looking for more historical romance). 

Do I recommend? I do! I've enjoyed all of Chanel Cleeton's historical fiction novels dealing with Cuban history. 


pub 5/4/21 by Berkley
Adult - Historical Fiction
Received e-ARC from pub for review


with love,