I am definitely still in a bit of a reading rut. I read just one book in September, nothing in October (to the point where I had a post planned for early November about being in a reading rut, but then I read a book in a day (a snow day) and I thought I was out of it. But that ended up being the only book I read in November, so apparently not out of said reading rut. Oh yeah and I ordered more books, some are gifts, but a couple are for me, oops.
This is another Chanel Cleeton book, can you tell I enjoy her work? This one is roughly part of the same series but set during what we know as the Spanish-American war, or the Cuban War of Independence, where Cubans fought against Spain for their freedom as a colony before the USA stepped in and put their imperial influence on the island basically directly leading to Batista, the Castros and Che and the Revolution in Cuba.
This book moves between three women, Grace Harrington, a young American woman who aspires to be a stunt journalist like the famous (and real) Nellie Bly. She approaches Joseph Pulitzer who says that he will hire her if she first goes undercover working for William Randolph Hearst to spy on him for her. Evangelina Cisneros, the daughter of a high ranking Cuban under house-arrest on La Isla de los Pines with her father, who winds up in one of the worst prisons of the Spanish and later Cuban regimes for defending herself against sexual assault; and Marina Perez, a woman living in one of the concentration camps in Havana where the Spanish authorities pushed all the rural residents to prevent them from joining the resistance, not that that stops Marina. Evangelina is famously beautiful and becomes a reason for American intervention in the war between Cuba and Spain. The women’s lives become entangled and the war and men’s desire for a good story impact all of them.
I really enjoyed this book, it was easier for me to enjoy than When We Left Cuba and Next Year in Havana as most of us are able to see a fight to end colonialism and women being imprisoned for defending themselves against sexual assault from one moral view, unlike how there can be competing views on the Cuban Revolution. Things are generally less morally grey the more time we are removed from them, it’s big hindsight is 20/20 energy.
I would say it’s a 7/10, definitely an enjoyable and easy read. I think that Grace’s storyline is my favourite, it’s the most empowering, Evangelina is in one of those situations where you know you are being used, but you also owe these people and you don’t have any power at all to change your situation. Marina is just living in desperation for most of the book and has the toughest storyline.