Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Historical fiction + Romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Chanel Cleeton
Release Date: May 4th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads
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 one scoop 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.
Thank you to Berkley and Netgalley for an eARC in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own!
I have continually enjoyed reading Cleeton’s historical fiction books. They take me into a time of history that I know little about and add a dash of romance that I appreciate. This was another solid combination of both.
There’s three points-of-view in this story (as in her previous). Sometimes I wish the novel as a whole was longer so that I could get more of each woman’s story. The backgrounds and nuances of each character are remarkedly different and it’s easy to get caught up in what’s happening.
This time period of Cuba trying to break away from Spain was really great to learn more about. I hope to research some more because I feel like this only skimmed some of the surface. I had no idea about the dominating world of journalism at the time and the truly terrible conditions Cubans were facing from Spain. One of my favorite parts of the historical fiction genre is the inspiration to further gain knowledge on the time period and people brought to life.
Not to mention, I always love the subtle romances that work their way into my heart. They aren’t generally a heavy part of the plot, but it gives some hope and angst to the book. It’s the best little touch that I think always fits well.
My only major complaint was the pacing. I would get into one story line then jump too quickly to a different one. Or things would be too slow for too long which had me begging for some more action segments. Besides this, a really beautiful novel. I look forward to continue reading Cleeton’s books!
Overall audience notes:
- Historical fiction
- Language: some
- Romance: kisses, closed door scenes
- Violence: battles, wars, physical altercations, gun violence, kidnappings, ship explosions
- Trigger/Content Warnings: being jailed without cause, reconcentration camps, losing loved ones, having to give up a child for a time (her child does come home eventually!), attempted sexual assault/rape, lewd remarks to women