Book Review: The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba, The Christie Affair & A Letter to Three Witches

The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleeton

Goodreads blurb: 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

My take: 4.5 out of 5. I really enjoy Chanel Cleetons books. She is quickly becoming one of my automatic read authors. I enjoyed her latest so much, The Last Days in Barcelona, that i decided to go back to this one, which was the one I hadn’t read. I really enjoyed it. She has a great way to highlight women as complete and complicated characters, something I really look forward in books. Additionally by usually giving us more than one female perspective, here we have three, it generates a female view but from different angles which works really well. Another thing in this book that is quite clever of Cleeton’s books is the clever way all the characters interconnect. You know the relationships and kismets are coming if you have read her previous books, but its still quite clever how they always come out.

Make a note to read this whilst you are watching Gilded Age (I’m loving that show are you watching?) there was quite a bit of intersect in the NY chapters on the story and I found that quite amusing.

The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont

Goodreads blurb: Every story has its secrets. Every mystery has its motives. “A long time ago, in another country, I nearly killed a woman. It’s a particular feeling, the urge to murder. It takes over your body so completely, it’s like a divine force, grabbing hold of your will, your limbs, your psyche. There’s a joy to it. In retrospect, it’s frightening, but I daresay in the moment it feels sweet. The way justice feels sweet.”

The greatest mystery wasn’t Agatha Christie’s disappearance in those eleven infamous days, it’s what she discovered. London, 1925: In a world of townhomes and tennis matches, socialites and shooting parties, Miss Nan O’Dea became Archie Christie’s mistress, luring him away from his devoted and well-known wife, Agatha Christie. The question is, why? Why destroy another woman’s marriage, why hatch a plot years in the making, and why murder? How was Nan O’Dea so intricately tied to those eleven mysterious days that Agatha Christie went missing?

My take: 4 out of 5. This was super interesting. I love the premise, take a 10 day famous disappearance by an esteemed author and make a really clever take on it. I really enjoyed the very smart and thorough female portrayal in the book. We have two main protagonist, and there are no stereotypes. No one is the hero or victim. Everyone is a fully developed character, that makes mistakes, that has good intentions and that has shitty things happen to them. nothing is black and white and I really enjoy that I think I would have liked a better ending but still this is an absolutely great Historical Fiction Book. Highly recommend.

A Letter to 3 Witches by Elizabeth Bass

Goodreads blurb: Nearly a century ago, Gwen Engel’s great-great-grandfather cast a spell with catastrophic side-effects. As a result, the Grand Council of Witches forbade his descendants from practicing witchcraft. The Council even planted anonymous snitches called Watchers in the community to report any errant spellcasting… Yet magic may still be alive and not so well in Zenobia. Gwen and her cousins, Trudy and Milo, receive a letter from Gwen’s adopted sister, Tannith, informing them that she’s bewitched one of their partners and will run away with him at the end of the week. While Gwen frets about whether to trust her scientist boyfriend, currently out of town on a beetle-studying trip, she’s worried that local grad student Jeremy is secretly a Watcher doing his own research. Cousin Trudy is so stressed that she accidentally enchants her cupcakes, creating havoc among her bakery customers—and in her marriage. Perhaps it’s time the family took back control and figured out how to harness their powers. How else can Gwen decide whether her growing feelings for Jeremy are real—or the result of too many of Trudy’s cupcakes?

This is an ARC review thanks to a gift from the publisher

My Take: 3 out of 5. I enjoyed this book, its funny and quick to read however its fairly middle of the road. . Nothing was bad it just did not get me super involved. What did I like: It had some interesting twists and turns that I didn’t see coming and the antics of the characters were quite funny. On the downside, I just was not as invested in any of the characters, and a lot where very cartoonish. If you have access to it its a fun read if you like a little bit of witchcraft, but i would not put it to the top of my TBR pile

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