La Belle Créole: The Cuban Countess Who Captivated Havana, Madrid, and Paris (Redux)


From Cuban Art News:

La Belle Créole: The Cuban Countess Who Captivated Havana, Madrid, and ParisBy Alina García-Lapuerta (Chicago Review Press). Mercedes Santa Cruz y Montalvo (1789–1852) was a Cuban-born aristocrat, noted for her beauty and talents. As a teenager, she left her native Havana for Madrid. Upon marriage to a French general, Christophe-Antoine Merlin, la contesse Merlin—la Belle Creole—became the toast of Parisian society, befriending aristocrats and artists alike. She hosted a musical salon and was acclaimed as one of the greatest amateur sopranos of her day. She also achieved fame as a writer, and is acknowledged as Cuba’s earliest female author. Her memoirs and travel writings introduced European audiences to 19th-century Cuban society and contributed to the debate over slavery. Along with personal correspondence, her writings form the basis of this first English-language account of her adventurous life. La Belle Créole is the result of seven years research by the author, whose life is as varied and international as that of her subject: Alina García-Lapuerta  was born in Cuba, educated in the U.S., and now lives in London with her Spanish-American husband and children. Here’s an interview with the author:

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