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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Waiting on Wednesday : The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was created by Breaking the Spine.  Every Wednesday we get to highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  My book this week is : The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.  I loved Certain Dark Things so can’t wait to pick up more by this author.

Thebeautiful“Truly one of the most beautiful books I’ve read in a long time. This sweeping tale of love lost and found is told with old-world elegance and grace with just the right touch of magic.” —M.J. Rose, New York Times bestselling author

Antonina Beaulieu is in the glittering city of Loisail for her first Grand Season, where she will attend balls and mingle among high society in hopes of landing a suitable husband. But Antonina is telekinetic, and strange events in her past have made her the subject of malicious gossip and hardly a sought-after bride. Now, under the tutelage of her cousin’s wife, she is finally ready to shed the past and learn the proper ways of society.

Antonina, who prefers her family’s country home to the glamorous ballrooms of the wealthy, finds it increasingly difficult to conform to society’s ideals for women, especially when she falls under the spell of the dazzling telekinetic performer Hector Auvray. As their romance blossoms, and he teaches her how to hone and control her telekinetic gift, she can’t help but feel a marriage proposal is imminent.

Little does Antonina know that Hector and those closest to her are hiding a devastating secret that will crush her world and force her to confront who she really is and what she’s willing to sacrifice.

Due out in October