Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba
by Cleeton, Chanel

"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 onescoop 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"-

Originally from Florida, Chanel Cleeton grew up on stories of her family's exodus from Cuba following the events of the Cuban Revolution. Her passion for politics and history continued during her years spent studying in England, where she earned a bachelor's degree in International Relations from Richmond, The American International University in London, and a master's degree in Global Politics from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Chanel also received her Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law.

Cleeton's latest historical novel in her dazzling Cuba series, following The Last Train to Key West (2020), features another member of the Pérez family, Marina, and her struggles during the Spanish American War as she is disowned by her well-to-do family and separated from her beloved rebel husband. The Beautiful Girl of the title is based on the real-life Evangelina Cisneros, whose daring escape from a Havana prison was orchestrated by newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst as part of his campaign to convince the U.S. to declare war on Spain. Hearst reporter Grace Harrington, a spunky Nelly Bly type, also pushes against the sexist constrictions of the time. These three women tell their stories in alternating sections set during 1896-98. Although raised in privilege, they lose status because of their integrity and refusal to bow to the expectations of their class. Ultimately, they find themselves struggling for survival while fighting for their country's independence and, in Grace's case, for her own. With a splash of romance and a healthy helping of history, this novel will be a hit for all collections. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

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