ARC Review: The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Hi, The Beautiful Ones is absolute perfection: it made me feel so many feelings and I love it so much. I don’t read a lot of romance: I picked this book up solely because it’s written by Silvia Moreno-Garcia… and I think I want/need more romance in my life now???
About The Beautiful Ones
Publisher: Tor Books | Release Date: April 27, 2021 | Pages: 304
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Romance, Fantasy | Format: eBook | Source: Netgalley*
They are the Beautiful Ones, Loisail’s most notable socialites, and this spring is Nina’s chance to join their ranks, courtesy of her well-connected cousin and his calculating wife. But the Grand Season has just begun, and already Nina’s debut has gone disastrously awry. She has always struggled to control her telekinesis—neighbors call her the Witch of Oldhouse—and the haphazard manifestations of her powers make her the subject of malicious gossip.
When entertainer Hector Auvray arrives to town, Nina is dazzled. A telekinetic like her, he has traveled the world performing his talents for admiring audiences. He sees Nina not as a witch, but ripe with potential to master her power under his tutelage. With Hector’s help, Nina’s talent blossoms, as does her love for him.
But great romances are for fairytales, and Hector is hiding a truth from Nina—and himself—that threatens to end their courtship before it truly begins. The Beautiful Ones is a charming tale of love and betrayal, and the struggle between conformity and passion, set in a world where scandal is a razor-sharp weapon.
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age gap (unsure of Hector’s age but my guess is mid-late 20s), betrayal, suicidal thoughts referenced
My Review of The Beautiful Ones
This book ruined me and it took me almost two weeks to feel up to writing this review. The Beautiful Ones is a beautiful story of love and betrayal, of innocence and depravity, of conformity and passion, of youth and adulthood, of privilege and entitlement. Fast paced and instantly engaging, this book is told in the third perspective of three main characters who are inextricably linked and made me feel so many varying emotions while reading it.
“She existed and colored the city for him, lit it brighter than the elegant iron lampposts.”
The book may be titled The Beautiful Ones, but the story highlights how insidiously ugly a world of privilege is. The rules and regulations of the Beautiful Ones are always top-of-mind for our characters. Class, privilege, and status are all at the forefront; each character’s place within society and how the adhere to the rules are an undercurrent for all of their actions.
“In Loisail, certain things were not said out loud. Secrets were written in the movement of a fan or the gestures with a glove. Innocent words hid the sharpness of knives.”
This is primarily a romance novel; the fantasy elements are important to the characters and the way society sees them, but the magic is not the main focus or driver of the story. This is a great book for readers who are hesitant to fantasy as it’s light on the worldbuilding as it’s similar to a tangible part of history. I liked that Loisail and the world in general largely feels like our world about 100 years ago; the motorcar and camera are recent inventions and in many ways the technological advances mirrors the telekinetic abilities developed. (It makes me think of “Heroes” and how humanity could just be evolving.)
Believe me when I say that I’ve never been so fully invested in a cast of POV characters with such an array of emotions. The way my feelings changed for each of them as the book continued? That’s the mark of amazing character arcs and development. I could pen countless paragraphs about Nina, Hector, and Valérie but I think this is a book where it’s best to go in as blind as possible so I’m keeping it spoiler-free. (I might have to write a spoiler essay about this one, friends!) But I absolutely love how every action each character makes is informed by a thousand tiny bits of their personality; each character is three-dimensional and as real as you or me.
“I am glad of who I am now. You don’t know that when you begin a journey, and looking back the picture is not always pretty, but I wouldn’t take any of it back.”
One of the things I love so much about this book is it captures the unique and all-encompassing feeling of first love and shows different perspectives on it through time. How it shapes the characters and how that youthful innocence can be lost if we succumb to the pressures of society to conform. There’s sadness in it, but there’s also a lot of hope that passion can be found again once we let go of the echoes.
“Desire was not passion and passion was not love.”
I am not a well-read romance reader, but The Beautiful Ones makes me want to become one. This book captures the high society romance hijinks of regency romance (courting and escorts and debuts) and tore at my heartstrings. I screamed, I scolded, and I cried. Oh, how I cried… I spent the last 15% of the book with terrified tears leaking from my eyes and me wondering what happened to me. Not only do I highly recommend reading The Beautiful Ones, but also all of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s work. Everything she writes is different yet so inherently hers; she is a master of genre and emotion, and is an insta-buy author for me.
Preorder a paperback copy of The Beautiful Ones and submit your receipt before April 27, 2021 to receive an exclusive and specially designed postcard featuring art by Alexis Castellanos! US and Canada only, sorry friends.
No two readers experience a book in the same way; this was mine, but what about you?
💬 Have you read The Beautiful Ones yet? If so, what are your thoughts?
💬 Did I convince you to add this book to your TBR?
💬 What are your favorite romance books / novel of manners? What should I add to my TBR?
Let’s go on another adventure together!