The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

beautThe first book I read by Silvia Moreno-Garcia was Certain Dark Things, which I loved.  It was dark and full of vampire myth, a gritty urban fantasy that I couldn’t put down and a world and cast of characters that I would gladly return to.  The Beautiful Ones is a completely different read – which, basically should be obvious to anybody really given the blurb and the cover – I knew it was going to be unlike my first read by this author so that wasn’t a surprise at all, however, if you’re picking this one up thinking it’s going to maybe have a dangerous edge then I can tell you now that isn’t the case.

If I was going to try and give you a very quick idea of what this one is like I would compare it to one of the classics, the first one that springs to mind being Pride and Prejudice – because there certainly is an element of la-di-da society and etiquette is paramount.  But, if I was going to be really honest I’d more liken this to Wuthering Heights – except in the style of Jane Austen and with paranormal elements thrown in for good measure.  I did enjoy this but I really think that you have to pick it up with the right expectations.  Basically, this is a period romance, carried out in polite society where the paranormal elements are really only an aside to the story rather than a key element.  I enjoyed it, I thought the characters were very well drawn and it seems to highlight for me that in Moreno-Garcia we have an author who isn’t prepared to be defined by one style and is more than happy to give her writing abilities a good workout.

I won’t really elaborate too much on the plot. Nina Beaulieu is about to enter her first Season with the help of her beautiful but rather cold sister in law Valerie.  Nina is a little unrefined in some respects – or she’s the Country mouse to Valerie’s polished City mouse. She’s also a little bit unusual in that she has telekinetic powers and has in the past had a few mishaps due to her lack of control that have fed the gossip mill.  I liked Nina, she wasn’t afraid to be different, in fact she didn’t see anything wrong in her abilities and found all the gossip and whisperings, not to mention the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ a little bit stifling.  She didn’t try to hide her abilities, in fact she wholeheartedly tried to discover more about how to improve her ability, and she’s very blunt – well, in terms of the society that she moves in at least.

Nina actively seeks out the company of Hector Auvray.  Hector is a performer, risen from very poor beginnings his abilities have led to immeasurable wealth and fame and although he isn’t one of the upper class he is grudgingly permitted to socialise with them.  It doesn’t hurt that he’s fairly easy on the eye.  Pretty soon Hector begins to court Nina and she in turn begins to fall a little bit in love never realising that Hector has ulterior motives.

Valerie, Nina’s sister in law, put me in mind, in some respects, to Lady Blakeney from the Scarlet Pimpernell – she’s very polished, beautiful and a socialite that everyone mimics but, scratch the surface and she has a hidden past.  Unlike Lady Blakeney, Valerie’s beautiful facade hides a rather bitter and twisted soul.  Scheming and machinations are second nature to her and she has no qualms about using Nina to further her own ambitions.

This isn’t a fast paced novel, there isn’t a good deal of mystery involved, it definitely falls into the land of romance and on top of that we end up with a love triangle!  And yet, in spite of that I found myself enjoying this more than I expected.  I was always keen to pick it back up and it has this lovely sense of build up.  You can see that everything’s going to go horribly wrong and you just want people to take a minute to calm down and think things through – but, I guess that wouldn’t help the story along now would it.

Ultimately I had a good time with this book.  It’s probably unfair to compare it to my previous read by this author but nobody every said life was fair and, no, this one doesn’t top Certain Dark things for me personally.  However, it’s entertaining, fun and the writing is solid.  If you like paranormal, period romances (not, I hasten to add a bodice ripper) with well developed characters then I would definitely recommend this.  It’s a bit of a no brainer for me as I’ve always liked the classics and this one just has that edge of difference that intrigued me enough to want to give it a shot.

I received a copy of this through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

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15 Responses to “The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia”

  1. Tammy

    Great review, Lynn! I do still need to read this, hopefully soon. It’s good to know ahead of time to throw my expectations out the window before I start.

    • @lynnsbooks

      It was a good read – I admit that I was hoping it would maybe have a dark edge to it – but it didn’t – much more in line with one of the classics. Good though.
      Lynn 😀

  2. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    Thanks for sharing this! Despite the “caveats”, I want to read this even more than ever, now that I’ve read your review, because I like the idea of an author who does not feel chain-bound to a single genre. And since you point out that the characters are well drawn and the writing solid, I can even tackle a love triangle, for once… 😀 😀

    • @lynnsbooks

      The characters are well done I thought, definitely a period/classic style feel and a book that I found entertaining and easy to read.
      Lynn 😀

  3. Carmen

    I like that you said this one has a “classics feel”. Add to it that you thought the writing was solid and the story well developed…I think this one is a winner. 😉

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yeah, it’s the second book I’ve read just recently that had a ‘classics’ feel to it and I enjoyed both.
      Lynn 😀

  4. Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    Yeah, I definitely enjoyed Certain Dark Things more, but this one was still fun, and part of my preference could be just I the styles are so different and CDT is more my typical thing

    • @lynnsbooks

      Agreed, CDT was reallly good but on top of that it’s more my usual type of read, but, this was a good and enjoyable read and I loved that it had a period type feel.
      Lynn 😀

  5. sjhigbee

    I thoroughly enjoyed your review, Lynn – very fair and balanced. I will also be reviewing this one in due course and also enjoyed it. I haven’t read Certain Dark Things, but I really appreciated the depth of characterisation and the fact that the romance wasn’t straightforward – she actually managed to make me care about a love triangle. I certainly now want to track down Certain Dark Things!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Now you mention it, she did handle the love triangle very well indeed. Good point. I really enjoyed it, I guess having read CDT, even though I knew what this was going to be about, I couldn’t help hoping there’d be a dark streak in there somewhere. As it is though, I still thought it was very good and well written.
      Lynn 😀

      • sjhigbee

        Yes – it’s one I’ve been thinking about quite a lot since I finished it. And a lot of my sympathy ended up being with poor Valerie – the girl married off to a kindly man she didn’t love, all for the sake of the family…

  6. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    “I did enjoy this but I really think that you have to pick it up with the right expectations.” – thanks for this advice right here. I didn’t read into detail because I’m hoping to read this one really soon, but I’ll try to go in as a blank slate and just take whatever comes in stride 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yeah, it’s certainly not a criticism because this was good – but I think at the back of my mind I still expected some ‘darkness’ and it’s really not that type of story. Good fun and entertaining with a period/book of manners feel.
      Lynn 😀

  7. Barb (boxermommyreads)

    I have this one to read. Thanks for the warning and great review. The problem being is Certain Dark Things was the first book I read in 2017 and it’s still my favorite. I loved it and I know I’m gonna have a hard time letting my expectations go for this one. #bookproblems!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I think we were all a bit blown away by CDT – it’s always difficult to follow up such a successful book, but I did really enjoy this – just pick it up with the knowledge that it’s a completely different style of story but still very well written and easy to read.
      Lynn 😀

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