Chanel Cleeton
The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba

The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba

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From the publisher: "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."

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Our Last Days in Barcelona

Our Last Days in Barcelona

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Cleeton’s latest installment in the Perez sisters series features love, lies, and spies against an irresistible Barcelona backdrop. Resuming where When We Left Cuba leaves off, the story begins in 1964 with eldest sister Isabel traveling from Cuba to Spain on a rescue mission. Her glamorous—and estranged—younger sister Beatriz may be in trouble. But once she arrives in Barcelona, her search expands to involve not just Beatriz but long-buried secrets of her family’s past, which she hunts down with the help of Beatriz’s handsome friend. In satisfying alternate chapters, Cleeton shifts the story to 1936, when the girls’ disappointed mother, Alicia, leaves Cuba to seek solace with her parents in Spain after she makes an unwelcome discovery about her marriage. The storylines brilliantly converge—with a tied-with-a-bow ending. In her don’t-miss author’s note Cleeton says she initially resisted writing Isabel’s story, but the spirited eldest Perez sister is now her favorite. For fans of Cleeton’s Next Year in Havana and Lara Prescott’s The Secrets We Kept.

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Next Year in Havana

Next Year in Havana

After her beloved grandmother dies, a Cuban-American woman travels from Miami back to Havana and unearths a treasure trove of family secrets. If you love stories that go back and forth in time, this is for you. In 1958, 19-year-old Elisa falls in love for the first time—with a dangerous revolutionary. In 2017, Elisa's granddaughter Marisol travels to newly-open Cuba, ostensibly to write an article on tourism, but really to learn more about her grandmother and the complicated country she loved. I didn't know much about Cuba, then or now, before reading this, and really enjoyed the experience.

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When We Left Cuba

When We Left Cuba

The standalone sequel to Next Year in Havana delivers a tale of politics, history, and love. Beatriz Perez was forced to flee her beloved homeland of Cuba for the refuge of Palm Beach, and will do whatever it takes to help her family and the country she still sees as her own, including begging the CIA to put her to use as a spy—something virtually unheard of in the 1960s. But her offer is too good for her government to refuse, and she soon finds herself uncomfortably close to Castro and other dangerous men, seeking precious information the U.S. can use to bring down his regime. Things get complicated when she falls for a handsome and politically ambitious U.S. senator, a man who will change her life—though perhaps not in the way either of them hoped. A page-turning story of love and revenge, though not necessarily in that order.

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The Last Train to Key West

The Last Train to Key West

In this standalone novel from the author of Next Year in Havana, three women’s lives become entangled over the course of Labor Day weekend, 1935, when the storm of the century slams into Key West. The story is told from three perspectives, that of three different women who seem to share little in common, but whose lives are about to intersect in ways no one could foresee. Helen is a Key West native, poor and pregnant, fleeing her abusive husband. Mirta is Cuban, newly married to a man she barely knows, and just beginning her honeymoon. And Elizabeth, who’s come south on a dangerous search for a long-lost loved one. A captivating novel about a little-known historical event.

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