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Summary

Named one of 2021’s Most Anticipated Historical Novels and Best Beach Reads by Entertainment WeeklyOprah MagazineTravel + LeisureBuzzFeedParadePopSugarBustleSheReads ∙ Brit + Co and more!

"An exciting and inspiring read that shows us how womanhood, courage and revolution are three words that often mean the same thing." (NPR)

At the end of the 19th century, three revolutionary women fight for freedom in New York Times best-selling 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, 18-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.

©2021 Chanel Cleeton (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"In this powerful, page-turner, Chanel Cleeton has interwoven the stories of three unforgettable historical women against the fiery backdrop of the Spanish-American war and the Cuban fight for freedom from the Spanish. Using the brave acts of real-life historical women as inspiration, The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba shines the light on the fierce women who played a critical role in this important juncture in time - women who are determined not to be forgotten." (Marie Benedict, New York Times best-selling author of The Mystery of Mrs. Christie)

“Cleeton always delivers! This time, with The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba, a well-researched tale set against the backdrop of a newspaper war. With moguls determined to drag the United States into the conflict between Cuba and Spain, this novel's women - the reporter, the revolutionary, and the beauty - are all brought vividly to life in a lovingly rendered novel about the triumphs and tragedies of war.” (Stephanie Dray, New York Times best-selling author of The Women of Chateau Layfayette

“Grace Harrington is my new favourite heroine. I was absolutely fascinated by the world of stunt girl reporters and newspaper wars that she throws herself into, just as I was equal parts enthralled and heartbroken by the story of Evangelina Cisneros, the most beautiful - and courageous - girl in Cuba. And how wonderful to meet another member of the Perez family - the plucky Marina, whose story intertwines with the other women's. Nobody writes about Cuban women - their lives, their loves and their bravery - like Chanel Cleeton does. A truly beautiful book.” (Natasha Lester, New York Times best-selling author of The Paris Secret

“An enchanting historical novel.... Cleeton skillfully brings off the three strong women’s heartbreaking stories with intriguing twists and turns and a delightful finale. With impeccable research and perfect pacing, Cleeton makes the most of her subject.” (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba

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  • MsMKW
  • 25-09-21

LOVED IT

I was worried about this book because I LOVED “Next Year in Havana” so much, I wasn’t sure if this one would be able to stand up to it. It definitely did. Hearing the historical events of the Spanish- American War from 3 women’s perspectives really helps the reader impact of the war on everyone. Not just the war, but yellow journalism, the competition of news outlets, and the influence media has always had on the nation. Along with women’s desire for equality, social class and status inequities, all beautifully told.

Amazing

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  • Susan M. Harrington
  • 22-09-21

Good story, narration not so good

I have listened to two other Chanel Cleeton novels about Cuban history. Like the others, the story and characters were engaging and the book imparted historical information. For the first time I found the reading of one of the characters, Marina, so overly dramatic I considered not reading past the introduction of this character. I am glad I finished the novel because I learned some history about Cuba and newspaper reporting at the time of the war of Independence from Spain, but I would have enjoyed the book much more and given it a better rating had it not been for this production.

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  • Fromage
  • 11-09-21

Fabulous story

The characters were so real. I loved that it was based on historical events. I learned as I enjoyed listening.

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  • readerEMS
  • 20-08-21

Another Wonderfully Narrated Story

This was a beautifully written wonderful story I loved it. Chanel Clayton has become one of my favorite authors since I read Next Year in Havana.

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  • Candy Girl
  • 18-08-21

Worth Reading Twice

This book is filled with everything life offers. It offers historical information, multiple romances, pain and suffering of the Cubans, a lot of characters. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the amazing narrators. Add this to your must read book list and you won’t be sorry.

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  • Lynn Hall
  • 04-08-21

A good easy read.

I really enjoyed the history of Cuba in this book and the impact 3 women made on the journey to a free Cuba. The culmination of the women’s lives was very predictable and I thought the author could have gone a different way to achieve the same conclusion. It was 3⭐️⭐️⭐️ for me…enjoyable but not memorable.

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  • CalicoCat
  • 10-07-21

Really good and keeps moving, fast

It was difficult to put this one down. I enjoyed the story very much and felt " right there". One feels the heavy history of Cuba.

The narration was excellent. More authors should suggest a team of readers instead of a single reader.

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  • Mike Witte
  • 22-06-21

Only average for me

Interesting story, but took awhile to get into the book for me. Glad to have learned a little about this time period but can’t say I was riveted by this book.

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  • A. Olivera
  • 11-06-21

Great story!!

So beautifully written! It was hard to turn it off as I needed to know more! So much so, that I finished it in 3 days! It definitely has lit a fire in me to do my own research on this time and how it affected my own family! Off to download Next Year in Havana!

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  • Wiserolder
  • 08-06-21

Predictable

This book wasn't what I expected from this writer. When she had one of her main characters from the 1800's say "gob smacked" I had to stop listening. I wasted too many hours w/this book and had another hour to go. I just couldn't continue..