Linda Zagon of Linda’s Book Obsession Reviews “The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba” by Chanel Cleeton, Berkley, May 4, 2021
Chanel Cleeton, the author of “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World in Cuba” has written a captivating, and intriguing novel. The genre for this novel is Historical Fiction. This is a book based on many true events and facts. I appreciate that the author has spent hours researching. The timeline for this novel is set in the late nineteenth century. The author describes her characters as complex, complicated, quirky, ambitious, and brave. Some of the women are extremely brave.
Cuba has a complex history, and the Spanish control, fighting and imprisoning Cuban rebel fighters, and their families is a dark side in Cuba’s history.Spanish oppression has crushed the spirit of many and energized others to fight for their freedom. Some people believed if American would enter the war, it would help free Cuba. The Spanish government would imprison many women and children in Cuba in deplorable conditions. One of those women was Evangelina Cisneros.
In America, there is a Journalistic War of sorts.Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst both have newspapers and are in serious competition. The issues of Cuba are news worthy, and both want stories, and get them in different ways. Grace Harrington is ambitious and a young want- to- be journalist, and approaches Joseph Pulitzer for a job. He feels she isn’t ready, so she goes to William Randolph Hearst.
While Evangelina is still in prison, another captive prisoner, Marina Perez is able to sneak in notes letting Evagelina know there might be an opportunity for her to escape. Hearst calls Evangelina “the most beautiful girl in Cuba”. She is rescued, and once in America, helps to call the attention of what is going on in Cuba. Grace Harrington helps tell her story. Will Cuba ever be free?
I would highly recommend this memorable and thought-provoking book to others.