The Beautiful Ones
by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
eARC, 304 pages
Published April 27th 2021 by Tor Books
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.
I received an eARC from publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
I started The Beautiful Ones with some apprehension as there were several elements that didn’t work for me in Gods of Jade and Shadows but after several sentences, I immediately realized that it’s going to be a new favorite and allowed myself to be immersed in the story.
The writing and the atmosphere in this book were spot on. The setting reminded me with reading Jane Austen books, with how Losail is a Big City and Nina is a “wild child” from the countryside; with the opulence of the Grand Season and the dresses; and with etiquettes the society carry with them and the gossips. However, the darker tones and the hint of paranormal abilities both Nina and Hector have also gives the setting a darker charm and a more weighted atmosphere.
“The city could yield the chance of romance. Here, dramatic duels and great affairs took place.”
The pacing was slower than what I imagined, but I never felt bored. Being immersed with the world building and while seeing the plot unfold was an experience I did not want to rush. And speaking of the plot, it was a beautifully written, slow burn second chance romance I didn’t know I need. The romance is not easy, none of them are, but it’s really worth the time and read. This book is basically the tale of courtship, passion, and second chance romance with a healthy dose of angst and soft domestic moments :’)
The book has three main player: Nina, Hector and Valerie. Nina as a character really stood out of the pages, with her free-spirited nature and interest in beetles. At the beginning there were times that I want to knock some sense into her for falling with Hector way too quickly but at the same time, I can understand where she’s coming from. Her growth throughout the story was a sight to see though; she’s still sweet and gentle and yet is more cautious and believing in herself more. Valerie is the most stood out character for me- I can’t help but hate and pity her. She’s an unnecessarily cruel woman but we also see how society’s expectations trapped her in her current situation and filling her with this bitterness and hatred. At the same time, some women can make the choice of helping other women so they’re not stuck with the same situation and the fact that Valerie chose the other route kills all my pity and make her a villain that is worth to be hated. Hector is the least stood out main character in the book. I felt for his passion and devotion but his apathy to other situation made me feel apathetic for him too. The moment he started to care for Nina for real is where I started to care for him because the way their romance unfurled is just beautiful 🥺💗
“Do you remember what it was to be young?” She asked. “Every trouble would be solved by sundown, and every dawn you’d have a new chance to remake the world.”
I also love Hector’s friendship with Etienne, how he might not be always present but always be the one who can read Hector and offered him advices. I wish we got to know the other side characters, such as Magdalena and Gaetan but I do appreciate the focus of the story being on the three main characters that we are able to explore their characters and emotions in such a depth.
The Beautiful Ones was a fantastic surprise and one of my favorite reads this year. It has beautiful writing, atmospheric settings, and all the tropes I love from a historical romance. All the elements also work well together and it’s just a perfect story to be fell in love with.