Last year, I rediscovered my love of reading and found so many new-to-me authors whose fictional worlds took me away from the harsh realities we were living in. One of those authors was Silvia Moreno-Garcia. So I was beyond thrilled to get accepted to read and review The Beautiful Ones. The book was originally published in 2017 but is now being reprinted with a stunning cover! It’s hard to describe the book in terms of genre since it blends together elements of historical fiction, romance and (light) fantasy. However, the author describes it as “a novel of manners and a romance” on the book’s Goodreads page. And I guess all that’s left to do now is tell you what I thought of the book!
Many thanks to Quercus Books and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The Beautiful Ones
by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Date of Publication: 27th April 2021
Format: eBook (305 pages)
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: the haphazard manifestations of her powers have long made her the subject of gossip – malicious neighbours even call her the Witch of Oldhouse.
But Nina’s life is about to change, for there is a new arrival in town: Hector Auvray, the renowned entertainer, who has used his own telekinetic talent to perform for admiring audiences around the world. Nina is dazzled by Hector, for he sees her not as a witch, but ripe with magical potential. Under his tutelage, Nina’s talent blossoms – as does her love for the great man.
But great romances are for fairy-tales, and Hector is hiding a secret bitter truth from Nina – and himself – that threatens their courtship.
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.
Okay so in case you skimmed my intro: I’m a big fan of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s work so I am a teensy bit biased. I went into The Beautiful Ones fully expecting to love it – and I did! Silvia Moreno-Garcia continues to amaze me across multiple genres with her lyrical prose, immersive settings and strong female protagonists that you can’t help but love.
The Beautiful Ones blends together historical fiction with romance and fantasy elements – none of which are typically my cup of tea. However, I was captivated by this. On the one hand, the story and its characters were highly entertaining. Full of life, love and drama. And on the other, I found myself being soothed by how beautifully it was written. At one point, I was so calm that I actually fell asleep while reading which I swear is a good thing. (I can’t remember the last time I felt THAT relaxed!)
There was so much to love about The Beautiful Ones but for me, the highlight was Antonina or ‘Nina’ for short. As a character, she’s intelligent, determined and headstrong. She’s presented as a bit of an underdog – a stark contrast to the characters around her who have their strict rules and roles. I was drawn in by her immediately so I felt a wide range of strong emotions as the story went on.
While Silvia Moreno-Garcia has a real talent when it comes to protagonists, she’s also pretty awesome at developing great villains. In this case, Valérie Beaulieu. Valérie hates Nina and everything that she represents i.e. the privilege that comes from being born into wealth. And because Nina rebels against everything that Valerie has had to work hard to obtain, there’s a lot of conflict here. It ranges from mild annoyance all the way through to pure hatred. She’s a callous, cold and cruel woman throughout. I hated her and I know other reviewers have felt the same. But hey, isn’t that the point of a villain?
As for the romance aspect, I thought it was really well done. It was sweet and gentle. Heavy on the courting elements and light romance without too much focus on the sexual side of things. It was the perfect mix for me which I think really contributed to my overall enjoyment of the book.
Overall, I cannot recommend The Beautiful Ones highly enough. It’s a beautiful romance with a lot of tension and drama. The characters are phenomenally developed. There’s just a lot to love here. And while I think it would be a disservice to compare any of Moreno-Garcia’s works with each other because of how different they are, I think that fans will find something to enjoy here.
Read This If You…
- Love Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s other books
- Enjoy books that involve high society/upper class
- Like books with a LOT of drama and a romantic plot
- Want to be (temporarily) transported from this bizarre world we live in
Thank you so much to the publishers for such a fantastic opportunity! And for you, for taking the time out of your busy life to read my review! 😊
Will you be picking up The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
P.S. Did you know I have a Bookshop.org store*? When you purchase books through my affiliate store, both myself and an independent bookstore will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can even choose to support your local indie with your purchase!