It’s 1896 and New York City’s Park Row is a battlefield between two rival publishers: William Randolph Hearst (New York Journal) and Joseph Pulitzer (New York World). It is a time of “yellow journalism” when the press often greatly exaggerates and even creates the news. Socialite Grace Harrington wants to be the next Nellie Bly and finds herself as a “stunt girl” reporter for Hearst. When word of beautiful, eighteen-year-old Evangelina Cisneros’s imprisonment in Cuba for her role in an attack of a Spanish colonel reaches the desk of Hearst, he finds his latest top story. In a series of articles, Evangelina’s plight is splashed on the front pages generating widespread support for the Cuban revolutionaries. In addition to selling more papers, it serves Hearst’s agenda for getting the United States involved in Cuba’s fight for independence.
While conditions worsen in Cuba, Marina, the third lead character, is struggling to keep her daughter safe. She is the estranged daughter of the Perez family, sugar barons who have sided with Spain. Her husband Mateo is fighting for Cuban freedom. Marina is risking her life as a courier for the rebels. As efforts are made by Hearst to free Evangelina, the lives of the three brave women come together. Soon Grace finds herself in Cuba, far from the ballrooms of the Astors and the Vanderbilts.
The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba is the fourth historical novel by Chanel Cleeton which delves into Cuba’s turbulent past. Each includes a character from the fictional Perez family yet you don’t have to read the other three books before reading this latest one. The story of real-life Evangelina Cisneros is intertwined with the two excellent fictional characters of Grace and Marina which makes for a wonderful story of heroism and love of country.
Rated 4.25 out of 5 stars.
Publication Date: May 4, 2021.
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