The Beautiful Ones
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.
Hector Auvrey returns to the city of Loisail after a decade showing his talents and earning his fortune. All to win the heart of the fair Valerie. Her cousin Nina is a naive debutant that may be caught in the crossfires.
I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
This is set in a fantastical version of our world, where telekinesis is real. It's the early 1900's where technological progress is being made, but people are still clinging to traditions, and being part of society is the epitome of everyone's ambitions. The Beautiful Ones have the names, the bloodlines (they sometimes ever have the money).
The narrative is split between Hector and Nina.
Hector is a world-famous telekinetic, who has been carrying a flame for Valerie, ever since she broke his heart ten years ago.
When he meets her cousin and starts to court her, Hector finds a way to stay close to Valerie, not sure if he wants to woe her or get revenge. He doesn't account for a growing friendship with Nina.
Nina is starry-eyed when she meets Hector at a party. She is also a telekinetic, but the gentile society frown upon women using those skills. Finding someone who understands her and treats her with kindness, she falls hard, an unwitting pawn.
I really enjoyed this story. It's Austen with a touch of the paranormal. I loved the charm and the manners, the expectations of society.
Coming from nothing, Hector has worked hard to be included. As a complete opposite, Nina is from a noble family, but has been allowed to grow up on complete freedom. She doesn't care about protocol, which is a refreshing contrast against the controlled and strict Valerie.
This is a slow-building romance, with a little supernatural flair. I loved reading the effect our main characters have on each other, and how they change each others' lives for the better.
How Nina loses her naivety, no longer blinded by romantic ideals; and Hector realises what an idiot he is.
This was so easy to read, the world that the author has created is full of depth, and is equally familiar and new.
There are other players, driven mainly by greed, to make sure things remain entertaining throughout.
This felt completely different to the other book I've read by this author - Gods of Jade and Shadow - but just as enjoyable.