The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba

Berkley. May 2021. 384p. ISBN 9780593098875. $27. F
Grace Harrington, a white American woman, wants to excel in the newspaper world, which in 1896 belongs almost exclusively to men. Grace is lucky to be offered a job at one of William Randolph Hearst’s papers, where she begins reporting a story about an 18-year-old Cuban woman named Evangelina Cisneros that will change her life. Evangelina is being held as a political prisoner in Havana because of her fight against the Spanish colonialists. Grace and her Hearst colleagues seek to win Evangelina’s freedom by positioning her, in their articles, as “the most beautiful girl in Cuba” and a symbol of the United States’ obligation to go to war with Spain. Grace gets help in her investigation from Marina Perez, a Cuban courier willing to endanger her life for the sake of a free Havana. Marina, Evangelina, and Grace form a formidable team of courageous, strong women fighting for freedom and their rights.
VERDICT Historical fiction fans will love this novel and its perfectly detailed descriptions of a long-gone era. This is another slam-dunk from Cleeton (Next Year in Havana).
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