Another historical romp from novelist/screenwriter Ephron (A Cup of Tea, 1997, etc.), who this time takes us south of the border and over the waves to Cuba on the eve of the Spanish-American War. By the end of the 19th century, the Spanish Empire had pretty much folded up its tent for good, at least in the Americas. Cuba was the only colony of any significance left, and even there the move for independence (under JosÇ Mart°) was growing stronger every day; soon a military government was established, and rebels were hunted down assiduously and either deported or killed outright. Among the rebellious was Augustin Cisneros, a plantation foreman who had become a staunch patriot. Arrested for activities on behalf of the independence movement, Cisneros was sentenced to death by firing squad. His teenaged daughter Evangelina was able to intervene on his behalf, however, and the sentence was commuted to imprisonment on the Isle of Pines, one of the infamous concentration camps set up by the Spaniards to contain the rebellion. Evangelina is allowed to accompany her father to the Isle of Pines, and there the camp commandant falls in love with her. To resist his advances, Evangelina stabs him and is arrested as a rebel in her own right. When she’s sent to the African penal colony of Ceuta, Evangelina’s case became a cause cÇläbre, inflaming world opinion against Spain. Enter Karl Decker. A reporter for Hearst’s New York Journal, Decker is sent to Cuba to rescue Evangelina from prison. Using his press credentials to gain access, he pretends to interview Evangelina while laying the plan for her escape. Along the way, the two fall in love, and once Evangelina is out of harm’s way in New York, Decker has to find a way to pull off his own escape—from his wife Katherine. But some prisons are more easily sprung than others. A vivid embellishment of a true account, Ephron’s story is quick and lively enough to outrun the tedium that’s the bane of historical romances.