Synopses & Reviews
Newspaper reporter Karl Decker has seen many covert missions. But nothing prepares him for Evangelina Cisneros--the young Cuban revolutionary he is sent to rescue from a Havana jail. She is America's cause célèbre, a woman whose fiery spirit awakens something previously untouched within him.
Evangelina is slated to be moved from Havana to the Spanish government's most terrifying penal colony. No one has survived there--and Evangelina will be its first female prisoner. Now it is up to Decker, under the pretense of interviewing her, to help Evangelina escape. In a country where no one can be trusted, where Cubans meet quiet but violent deaths at the hands of the ruthless Guardia, Karl must gain her confidence. But it is a confidence that will draw them dangerously, passionately together.
Based on a true story, this tumultuous romance, set against the backdrop of revolutionary Cuba in the late 1890s, recounts the tale of a beautiful young woman who is rescued from a Cuban prison by a New York journalist.
Reading Group Guide
1. Based on what you know about William Hearst and yellow journalism, do you think Karl Decker and Eugene Bryson embellished their accounts? Do you think Evangelina is not as innocent as they portrayed her and that there's a possibility that she led an uprising at the Isle of Pines?
2. What are your thoughts on newspapermen "making the news?" Are actions like Hearst's ever justified? It has been speculated that the newspaper moguls of this era were working in conjunction with the government. Do you believe that there is truth to this speculation?
3. Between the unique romance, a major historical event, and a good old-fashioned spy story, White Rose has something for nearly everyone. What elements of this novel drew you in the most?
4. This seems like a novel that can be enjoyed by men and women alike. Any thoughts on this?
5. Which characters intrigued you the most? Why?
6. This novel is essentially a love story, a triangle, hence the juxtaposition of the chapters with Katherine Decker in Washington, D.C. What significance did Katherine's perspective contribute to the story?
7. There are plans to adapt White Rose into a movie, and a rumor that Hearst will play a bigger role in the movie version. If you were the casting director, who would you choose to play the parts of Evangelina, Carlos, Karl, and Katherine?
8. Were you able to figure out the clues in the poem that Evangelina wrote for Karl to help him break her out of prison?
9. Ms. Ephron's style is minimalistic. Did you feel the short, cinematic chapters transported you into late nineteenth century Cuba?
10. Do you think today's tabloid journalism is rooted in yellow journalism?
11. Have you read other novels or nonfiction about this period in Cuban history? If so, did you find consistencies in regard to the events depicted in White Rose?
12. What were your favorite moments in White Rose?
13. Can you think of other historical events and figures--that have not been previously mined--that would make for similarly exciting storytelling?