Hello, everyone! Today I have another mini review of a book that has been on my shelf for a while. I’ve seen lots about the author, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, on Twitter, and I’ve been wanting to read one of her books. The Beautiful Ones was an interesting choice, and it was somewhat outside the purview of my usual reads. After this one, I’ll definitely be reading more books by this author.
From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a sweeping romance with a dash of magic.
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.
This book took me a bit to get into, but once I did, I didn’t want want to put it down. The prose is absolutely beautiful and paints the setting and tone of the story perfectly. The pace was slow, but steady, with a focus on the characters and the relationships between them. There was a plot here also, but it was definitely secondary to the exploration of the characters and the themes related to love. The different romantic relationships in the book each gave a window into different types of love, and the strengths and weaknesses of each were on full display. The drama was intense throughout the story, with betrayals, scheming, and romance galore, and the writing made it easy to get sucked into the melodrama of it all. I’m pretty sure there was a love pentagon? at one point. lol. So, there was lots of fun relationship drama. Two of the main characters, Nina and Hector, both experience quite a bit of growth as the story progresses, but Valerie remains fairly stagnant. However, the depiction of Valerie’s character was unlike any I’ve seen elsewhere. Despite the lack of growth, she was framed in such a way that MY feelings toward her changed drastically even though she didn’t. The author did a masterful job of slowly revealing new depths of the character’s awfulness as the story progressed, which had me changing from being slightly annoyed but also sympathetic in the beginning to outright hating her by the end of the book. Valerie’s character was also a brilliant example of how oppressive systems can end up using those being oppressed to continue perpetuating the system themselves. It illustrated exactly how destructive the “I had to do it so you should have to too” mentality can be. I enjoyed the dash of magic included in the book even though it wasn’t really a large focus of the story, and the ending had me on the edge of my seat. Overall, this was a great read for fans of romance in a (fictional) historical period with a hint of magic. I rate it 4 out of 5 stars.