[[ READ EPUB ]] ☂ La Belle Créole: The Cuban Countess Who Captivated Havana, Madrid, and Paris ↭ PDF eBook or Kindle ePUB free
My thanks to NetGalley and Chicago Review Press for an eARC copy of this book to read and review.Ok, this may be a minor quibble, but the subtitle of this book is The Cuban Countess Who Captivated Havana, Madrid, and Paris The book appears to be about Mercedes Merlin, a woman with a voice of gold who entranced all who met and heard her It's mostly about the areas where she lived, the things that happened in them and the people around her Mercedes, who is a woman of talent and passion and life, is mostly, frustratingly, silent in her own book It's a great book for bringing that time period and those locations, Havana, Spain and France to life, but not a great book to showcase Mercedes I wanted to be wowed by an amazing woman, I wanted to be just as captivated as the rest of her contemporaries I never once said wow about her and that saddens me, as she seems to have been an incredible dynamo of a woman, but we never really get to experience it There were a few contemporary books that were written that had her or her salons mentioned in them, so I added them to my Mt TBR, so I can see what the people of the day thought of her because I want to knowThis book just never delivered And the ending was depressing AF Yes, the end of anyone's life, especially back in that time period, was sad, but her ending seemed sadder than most Her branch of the family always had issues with money, over spending, etc., but she added to it by trusting a lover to deal with the finances and by trying to keep him afloat and he made things SO much worse for her I would think that after the second time, she would no longer trust him, but she was a very forgiving person I guess I say I guess, because we aren't really shown her warmheartedness We are told a few times, but we never get shown it, so suppositions are all the reader has when trying to understand why Mercedes would keep trusting someone who obviously didn't deserve it Also sad was her sons decided to contest the final will where she was trying to provide something for her daughters, as being a woman back then was a lotdifficult than being a man Women had fewer options for making money, etc Also, not sure why she didn't takesteps to make sure it wasn't able to be contested, as her father had a scandal with his final will, dying moments before he was able to sign in That took over 14 years to resolve So, other than bringing Mercedes Merlin to my attention, this book did little to teach me about her If it had been about that time period and those locations, with her life as the link, it would have been fine Since she was supposed to be the focus but wasn't, it didn't work nearly as well Mercedes wrote a lot of autobiographical works, but the author states that Mercedes liked to embellish, so it is difficult to tease the kernel of truth from the rest Even so, I would have liked to seewords from Mercedes than we had I will admit, I expected a certain something with this book which I didn't get, so I am disappointed It's not bad or badly written, but it doesn't succeed in bringing Mercedes Merlin to life like I had hoped it would If you go into it without that expectation, and just for the historical significance of it, I think you will getenjoyment out of this than I did 2.5 stars, rounded up to 3, as it did at least introduce a remarkable woman to me, even if she wasn't as fully fleshed out as she could have been Well researched and informative about that era and area of the world.
[[ READ EPUB ]] ↙ La Belle Créole: The Cuban Countess Who Captivated Havana, Madrid, and Paris ☝ Known for her beauty and angelic voice, Mercedes Santa Cruz y Montalvo, la Belle Créole, was a Cubanborn star of nineteenthcentury Parisian society She befriended aristocrats and artists alike, including Balzac, Baron de Rothschild, Rossini, and the opera diva La MalibranA daughter of the creole aristocracy, Mercedes led a tumultuous life, leaving her native Havana as a teenager to join her mother in the heart of Madrid’s elite society As Napoleon swept Spain into the Peninsular War, Mercedes’ family remained at the center of the storm, and her marriage to French general ChristopheAntoine Merlin tied her fortunes to France Arriving in Paris in the aftermath of the French defeat, she recreated her life, ultimately hosting the city’s premier musical salon Acknowledged as one of the greatest amateur sopranos of her day, she nurtured artistic careers and daringly paved the way for wellborn singers to publicly perform in lavish philanthropic concerts Beyond her musical renown, Mercedes achieved fame as a writer Her memoirs and travel writings introduced European audiences to nineteenthcentury Cuban society and contributed to the debate over slavery Scholars still quote her descriptions of Havana life and recognize her as Cuba’s earliest female authorMercedes epitomized an unusually modern life, straddling cultures and celebrated on both sides of the Atlantic Her memoirs, travel writings, and very personal correspondence serve as the basis for this firstever Englishlanguage account of the passionate and adventuresome Belle Créole The Berenstain Bears and the Bully Madrid Lord Peter and Paris ☝ Known for her beauty and angelic voice The Testaments (The Handmaids Tale, Mercedes Santa Cruz y Montalvo Orders to Kill la Belle Créole Pandas Cookbook: Recipes for Scientific Computing, Time Series Analysis and Data Visualization using Python 1, Theodore Petrou, eBook - Amazon.com was a Cubanborn star of nineteenthcentury Parisian society She befriended aristocrats and artists alike SとM 3 including Balzac Kimiyo Shiruya Minami No Goku Baron de Rothschild Rrimas Rossini Center Church and the opera diva La MalibranA daughter of the creole aristocracy The Cliff Mercedes led a tumultuous life Si Pagong at si Matsing leaving her native Havana as a teenager to join her mother in the heart of Madrid’s elite society As Napoleon swept Spain into the Peninsular War Delicioso Piquenique Mercedes’ family remained at the center of the storm Juan Gorospe (Territorio de los Hombres, Batch 6, and her marriage to French general ChristopheAntoine Merlin tied her fortunes to France Arriving in Paris in the aftermath of the French defeat Naruto Vol.44 she recreated her life Art, Disobedience, and Ethics ultimately hosting the city’s premier musical salon Acknowledged as one of the greatest amateur sopranos of her day Designing Science Presentations she nurtured artistic careers and daringly paved the way for wellborn singers to publicly perform in lavish philanthropic concerts Beyond her musical renown Mozart Mercedes achieved fame as a writer Her memoirs and travel writings introduced European audiences to nineteenthcentury Cuban society and contributed to the debate over slavery Scholars still quote her descriptions of Havana life and recognize her as Cuba’s earliest female authorMercedes epitomized an unusually modern life The Events at Poroth Farm straddling cultures and celebrated on both sides of the Atlantic Her memoirs When You Love Someone (Darley, travel writings Haroon Al Rasheed and the Great Abbasids and very personal correspondence serve as the basis for this firstever Englishlanguage account of the passionate and adventuresome Belle Créole Mercedes Santa Cruz y Montalvo, often known as La Belle Créole, was a Havana born singer and socialite who hosted one of the most acclaimed and popular salons in Paris and met many of the leading figures of the day A fascinating woman who led a fascinating life, the author has done a great deal of painstaking research and describes the historical background in meticulous detail But she fails to bring Mercedes herself to life and seems less interested in Mercedes’ inner life than her outer one This meant that I never felt invested in the character or the book about her A workaday biography. Mercedes is an fascinating, unforgettable character, skilfully brought to life by Alina GarciaLapuerta in her wonderful new biography All the characters are vividly alive, and seamlessly woven into the turbulent historical background, so that you understand not just their personalities, but also the events that shaped them The book is beautifully written, and impeccably researched flawless and highly recommended. This was a excellent Biography I love reading about her life she sure went through a lot this book was well written and well research This was a excellent book and I recommend it to everyone I won this book on Goodreads Thank you. Pros: A great biography of an amazing woman who has slipped off the wider spectrum of history The retelling of Maria de las Mercedes Santa Cruz y Montalvo (or simply, Mercedes) is balanced, thought provoking and intriguing Her birth into upper crust Cuban society is envious, not because of the wealth (that doesn't hurt) but by being raised by her maternal great grandmother Louisa, or Mamita If we all were raised by people like Mamita, the world would be an incredible place This is in contrast to her paternal grandmother, Maria Josefa who seemed to be Mamita's opposite The love of Mercedes parents, Joquin and Teresa were also a huge influence to Mercedes kind heart Although Mercedes was an accomplished author, philanthropist, singer, beautiful and excelled at hosting salons, she had a perpetual melancholy GarciaLapuerta was able to make Mercedes extraordinary, fallible, and unique It was interesting to read about the Cuban, Spanish and French turbulent history during this era So much happened and happened to upend Mercedes life, livelihood and financial situation Mercedes reminds me of other spectacular women like Empress Eugenie, Consuelo Vandervelt, Marie of Romania and others So happy to include Mercedes into the pantheon of incredible womenpeople should know about Appreciate the photos and the maps Cons: Not much it's hard to present a balanced picture of a life without including lots of names and antidotes GarciaLapuerta did a great job Cover art: 5 out of 5 Fabulous! As a history major I have always been frustrated by the lack of biographies and histories of women who were not part of the Western European Royal and Noble elite When I was given the opportunity to read La Belle Créole, I was intrigued I had never heard of María de las Mercedes Santa Cruz y Montalvo, the Comtesse Merlin, to be honest I didn’t know anything about Cuban culture during the Spanish Colonial period – let alone the women who lived through it Comtesse Merlin, or Mercedes, was born into some of the most powerful families in colonial Cuba Her life was one of glamour and constant upheaval while the world changed around her She persevered as she left her homeland for Spain in 1802 at the age of 13, experienced the fall of the Spanish crown, the rise and fall of Napoleon, and her own success as the hostess of Paris’s leading salon Mercedes was not the only noble to struggle during the uncertain political climate of the Napoleonic and Restoration eras, but she is definitely one of thefascinating ones She didn’t have affairs or cause political intrigue; she was known for her kindness, her love of music, and her love for her family and homeland I’ve mentioned this in the past and I will continue to mention it because I believe it to be very important – if the work is nonfiction, read the author’s note or introduction, and La Belle Créole is no different Alina GarcíaLapuerta begins by defining the term “créole”, a word that made me think of Gambit from the XMen What I didn’t know was that the term créole referred to anyone born on a colony; in Cuba the term was also used for anything that came from the colonies, to differentiate it from Spain She also clears up some naming issues amongst other things Thankfully the author did include a partial family tree, but I wish she had placed it at the beginning with the introduction instead of in the back after the index and bibliography The author clearly has a deep appreciation for Mercedes and preRevolutionary Cuba The research was well done and the author did well to question certain accounts from Mercedes and her contemporaries Her descriptions of the palaces and grand estates in colonial Cuba painted a vivid picture of a time of wealth and family prestige Alina GarcíaLapuerta did touch on slavery as it affected Mercedes but didn’t delve further, although there were occasions where I believe she wanted to go intodetail but chose not to I wish the author had shown some of that restraint when talking about Mercedes’ time as a successful salon hostess After the initial descriptions of notable guests and events she continued on and on to where it became repetitive Overall La Belle Créole is a beautiful story about an extraordinary woman who lived during an extraordinary time A must read for anyone interested in women’s history or women of the time who were not Marie Antoinette or Josephine Bonaparte I look forward to readingfrom Alina GarcíaLapuerta, perhaps maybe a history of colonial Cuba… **NetGalley provided me with an advanced reader copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.** Before La Belle Creole, I had never heard of Mercedes, the Countess of Merlin However, I can see why because La Belle Creole is the first biography of Mercedes to be in English After reading this novel, I was surprised why she hadn’t been a popular subject to English and American historians Mercedes is a fascinating character She was the daughter of a Cuban elite, and became a fashionable hostess of salons in Paris, entertaining celebrities such as Balzac, Rossini, and royalty in her day She also became a successful writer, the most famous being her memoirs about Cuba Mercedes was an influential woman who helped romanticize the vision of Cuba Mercedes was born in Cuba She had a spirited childhood It is because, when she was born her parents placed her in the care of her mother’s relative so they could go to Europe What I found interesting about this was that she doesn’t see her father until she is eight years old, and her mother until she goes to Spain One funny story was that when her father placed her in a convent to be educated, and maybe be a nun, is that later on, she managed to escape and go back home to her beloved relative Eventually, she goes to Spain and later on marries a French military officer in Napoleon’s army The book is broken into three parts, Cuba, Spain, and France Each of these countries is where Mercedes lived, but what she considers her true home is Cuba Cuba is where her heart lies It is because of her memories of Cuba that enables her to become a successful author The author of La Belle Creole paints a gorgeous portrait of Cuba, Spain, and France in the 19th century The reader feels like they are walking alongside Mercedes’s journey as she grows from a spirited, somewhat disobedient child to a successful woman who is prone to emotions I also found Mercedes’s and her husband’s connections to the Bonapartes’ interesting, and it is because of them that she is forced to go to France Overall, GarciaLapuerta’s biography shows a woman who makes the best out of her situations She is portrayed as a warmhearted and generous woman This biography proves that Mercedes is an intriguing Cuban historical figure I recommend this novel to anyone who is interested in the Napoleonic Wars, Cuban history, travel, and anyone interested in the arts in the Romanticized period This novel is a great introduction to Mercedes, the Countess of Merlin, and her era.(Note: Read an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.) I love learning about intriguing women throughout history The story of María de las Mercedes Santa Cruz y Montalvo or just Mercedes, is no exception Born in Cuba to a wellconnected family in the 19th century, Mercedes was perfectly placed to drive her own destiny Raised in her greatgrandmother's household and then sent to her mother's household in Spain in the midst of political tumult, Mercedes continued to thrive and grow She eventually married becoming the Comtesse Merlin and hosted the premiere soirees of her time I loved Mercedes stories of her childhood and the way that they were captured Her daring escapes from her relative's imprisonment as well as the convent were exciting as well as humorous, even if they were romanticized by Mercedes later in life Mercedes time in Cuba was the most interesting to me, the landscape, houses, family issues and Mercedes antics made her childhood seem like an adventure Her parents lives were equally as entertaining and it's easy to see where her personality, persuasive ways and flare for the dramatic came from In her adulthood Mercedes went from Spain to France and hosted extravagant salons featuring premiere artists and musicians of the day This section painted a beautiful portrait of France at the time and the luxuriousness of Mercedes' salons Luckily, Mercedes wrote about her life in her published memoirs I had only wished that I could have readof the actual excerpts that Mercedes had written Alina GarciaLapuerta has pulled the most interesting times out of Mercedes varied past and brought to life a captivating woman who was ahead of her time.This book was received for free in return for an honest review. A daughter of the creole aristocracy in the 19th century Mercedes was transplanted to Paris via Madrid as a young woman and is the central character in this story of an extraordinary women acknowledged as one of the greatest sopranos of her time Her salon in Paris nurtured the artistic careers of singers and musicians alike But most of all Mercedes introduce the world to nineteenthcentury Cuban society through her writing Mercedes is a very real woman, unbowed by the events that shaped her life, strong, determined but compassionate and selfaware At a time of political uncertainty and turbulence during Napoleon's Peninsula wars Mercedes remains unbowed by life's misfortunes A story both beautifully written and authentic in its research A treat for those who love historical biography especially about little known Cuba of the 19th century.