The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba is Chanel Cleeton's fourth book in the series about the Perez women. While they are all considered a series and some of the character make appearances or have ties to characters in other books, they can all stand alone. Meaning - you don't have to read the three previous books (Next Year in Havana, When We Left Cuba, or Last Train to Key West) to understand the story.
Like many other Cuban-American women of my generation, Cleeton's books have resonated so deeply because for us, Cuba is a thing of our imaginations. I personally have never been there. My mom just visited for the first time a few years ago. We feel a connection to this land, to this culture, to this place - but our experience is one built on memory - the collective memory of those who were exiled and longed for their home but had no chance of returning. There is so much of Cuba that I don't know, and with each of Cleeton's books, I learn a little more. So while the story moves along, I also find myself learning new bits of information that I didn't know.
The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba takes place in the late nineteenth century during the Cuban War for Independence and is inspired by real events. It follows three revolutionary women who all end up connected.
At the turn of the century in New York, newspaper tycoons William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer run rival newspapers. Grace Harrington becomes a stunt girl reporter for Hearst's paper and quickly comes to realize that getting the scoop can make or break your career. By proving her mettle, she scores the story of a lifetime coming out of Cuba.
Evangelina Cisneros is unjustly imprisoned at the start of the war. When the papers in New York catch wind of her story, they dub her "The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba" and use her story to sell papers.
Marina Perez, a revolutionary working as a courier, helps Grace and Hearst's staff get messages to Evangelina in an attempt to free her.
It's a story of how three women sacrifice so much of themselves in the fight for freedom.
Cuban or not, if you enjoy historical fiction, I think you'll enjoy this one.
Get the book.
South Florida Bloggers
2019 Best Parenting Blog