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The Beautiful Ones Hardcover – 27 July 2021
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Moreno-Garcia fills her fantastic novel of manners with sumptuous language . . . Readers who enjoyed Mary Robinette Kowal's magical Regency series Glamourist Histories will be particularly enthralled by the genuine emotions evoked in the course of the unsustainable love triangle― Publishers Weekly
Overflowing with delicious melodrama . . . a great fit for fans of the 18th-century French classic Les Liaisons Dangereuses ― Library Journal
This novel of manners presents carefully crafted characters with nuanced motivations to rival any Thomas Hardy classic. Moreno-Garcia adeptly captures the ecstatic highs of first love and the bitter disappointments of first heartbreak. Hints of the paranormal and dashes of adventure and feminism are subtly interwoven, making for an unforgettable work― School Library Journal
This is the third novel I read by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and I loved all of them in different ways: each in a different genre by a chameleon writer with incredible writing skills― Kirkus
I seriously loved everything about this from the gorgeous, lush prose to the tiny intimate moments of heartbreak ― Mary Robinette Kowal, Hugo Award-winning author of the Glamourist Histories
'Straddling several genres with elegant intelligence . . . it's a slow-burn, stately novel about the magic of what it means to love, and love truly ― Tor.com
[An] elegant tale of hidden desires and misplaced amour ― Booklist
The Beautiful Ones is a hauntingly lovely book, romantic and crushing by turns, touched with magic on every level
'The whole book is a magnificent tangle of unspoken words and feelings. Nothing is tepid; everything, even the absence of feelings, is charged with danger and heartache ― Strange Horizons
The Beautiful Ones demonstrates Moreno-Garcia's smart and colourful writing, with descriptions both sensory and sumptuous, and characters you will root for, even in their worst moments ― B&N Blog
An engaging fantasy-romance with a hint of magic . . . A very enjoyable read, with characters who felt real to me and about whom I found myself caring a great deal, and gripping to the very end ― Blue Book Balloon
The characters are wonderfully drawn, their desires and decisions believable. The setting is lightly sketched, but the places and the society are beautifully evoked ― Noble Bright
Moreno-Garcia writes such compelling characters that you are drawn in. This does not take chapters to grip, but mere paragraphs. This is a fantastic skill to have and one that I have witnessed in all her books to far― SFBook Reviews
A delicate, character-drive romance with a modern twist ― Choice
An evocative tale with a considerable emotional heft― Track of Words
[Silvia's] writing is elegant, rich in description and filled with characters that come vividly to life ― Muse’s Book Journal
Silvia has written a number of stunning novels and each is unique but this tops them all ― Scorpio Book Dream
The Beautiful Ones is a perfect fantasy-historical-romance novel. Just what is needed for a reader looking to escape into a world of fantasy, decadence, and romance― REWRITE LONDON
This is a clever novel, well written, with all the nuances of 19th century high society on full display. The writing throughout this novel is divine. Poetic at times and infused with the atmosphere of the era . . . a classic storyline with a fresh and unique twist― THERESA SMITH WRITES
She writes splendidly and she creates remarkable characters. The Beautiful Ones is more than a romance, it's a cold study of wealthy societies and their impact on the people who belong to them― THE MIDDLE SHELF
A beautifully unique novel― LIBRARY LOOTER
This book was spectacular. I didn't want to finish reading this book too fast because I wanted to savour it as long as I could― CAFEYRE
The characters and the character development were fantastic. If you're in the mood for a Fantasy of Manners, or a romance novel with a dash of the speculative, then this is the novel you should pick up― JESSTICULATES
Full of sweeping drama, unrequited love, passionate devotion, and more than a few objects lifted into the air by the power of the mind, The Beautiful Ones is an entertaining and romantic read― THE NERD DAILY
Fast paced and instantly engaging, Not only do I highly recommend reading The Beautiful Ones, but also all of Silvia Moreno-Garcia's work. She is a master of genre and emotion― READER VORACIOUS
Lush, vividly described setting and well-rounded characters . . . masterful writing― YOUR TITA KATE
I love how Moreno-Garcia uses descriptive language to build tension and set moods― HEDWIG’S WORLD OF BOOKS
A smart, witty read with classic themes and a beautiful narrative flow― MANDY McHUGH
If you've ever thought that what Dangerous Liaisons really needed was more Force Adepts, this may very well be the book you've been waiting for― JAMES NICOLL REVIEWS
Whatever genre you call it, the story is compelling. I read it with the same rabid avidity with which I eat a bag of chips ― SMART BITCHES, TRASHY BOOKS
Moreno-Garcia writes such compelling characters that you are drawn in. Have you ever wanted to read something like Bridgerton, but with characters who can move objects with their minds?― SF BOOK REVIEWS
- Publisher : Jo Fletcher Books; 1st edition (27 July 2021)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1529416108
- ISBN-13 : 978-1529416107
- Dimensions : 15.8 x 3.2 x 23.6 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 54,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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It’s at a party that she meets the famous Hector Auvray, an entertainer with powers like hers. She recognizes him from a photograph and immediately forms an attachment, Hector, however, is only there to see Valerie, who abandoned an engagement formed between them ten years ago to marry Nina’s cousin. He uses his new connection with Nina in order to get closer to Valerie. Meanwhile, there’s Valerie working behind the scenes to manipulate those around her to her satisfaction. With time, some harsh truths emerge, causing pain and sadness for those involved.
I wasn’t initially taken with the story, perhaps while I was orienting myself in the universe created. There’s an historic European feel to the place with a slight magical element creating the fantasy part. But the magic doesn’t seem to be the focus here. It’s more about being an outsider and being forced or trying to fit in.
I did eventually get quite involved in the story and enjoyed it thoroughly. What stood out by the end was how the story seemed to be more about Valerie and the woman she became after being forced to marry in order to save her family. One can sympathize with her on that part, but she is shown to have turned into a cruel and hateful monster of a person, well beyond any wrongs done towards her.
Nina is both naive and knowing at the same time. By virtue of her special ability, she matured into a smart young woman and understands the world quite well in a very academic way. But she is quite naive about some of the finer social points, particularly as they relate to men. Her knowledge has been gleaned from the romance novels she has read, which don’t seem to provide much useful guidance for her situation.
Meanwhile, Hector has idolized Valerie for such a long time that he fails to acknowledge she is flawed and this leads him to grow old and bitter before his time. His interactions with Nina do bring some pleasure to his life although he doesn’t appreciate it for what it is.
As I mentioned above, this was a really good read and I recommend it to anyone with an interest in character-driven stories. I give this a solid four stars.
Thank you to Netgalley and Jo Fletcher books for sharing an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
I loved the characters and I really especially Nina and Hector. The arc between these two was beautiful and kept me glued to the pages.
I loved the detail the Moreno-Garcia went into and felt like I was there with Nina and Hector. I cant wait to go and read more of her books!
Top reviews from other countries
I'll admit that it took me a while to get into this one, and I think that's because this isn't quite the book I was expecting it to be. With the mention of our heroine's telekinetic powers and her being taught to hone them by a man who also has this skill, I thought more of the novel was going to be taken up by lessons and that Nina was going to end up assisting Hector with his performances. Instead this Fantasy of Manners has more to do with the manners than the fantasy, like a Georgette Heyer or Jane Austen novel with a splash of telekinesis thrown in, which isn't a bad thing at all, it just wasn't what I expected when I read the blurb.
I was also a little unsure of the setting. I couldn't work out if this was France with a dash of magic thrown in, or if this was an alternate France in an alternate world a little different from ours. It didn't throw me too much, and in all honesty this isn't the kind of book that needed a lore dump, but I would have liked to know a little more about the world and more about how society functioned outside of these wealthy families.
Ultimately this was more of a character-driven novel than anything else, and while I always choose character over plot I would have liked a wider plot outside of these characters that I could sink my teeth into. Having said that, the characters and the character development were fantastic. Perhaps it says something about me that my favourite character in this book was the villainous Valérie, who was so deliciously messed up. I'm not the biggest fan of villain stories because I don't like it when authors try to excuse villainy with a tragic past, but what I loved about Valérie is that while Moreno-Garcia tells us why she is the way she is, she never uses it to excuse her actions which, by the end of the book, are downright evil.
It's also a testament to Moreno-Garcia's skill as an author that I initially disliked Hector and the way he used Nina, only to later root for him once we'd learned more about him. He's a character that grew on me, much like Nina grew on him.
If you're in the mood for a Fantasy of Manners/Romance novel, then this is the novel you should pick up. It's a story written with such affection and while it isn't my favourite of Moreno-Garcia's, I still think it's worth checking out.
Nina and Hector are fascinatingly real characters - as is Valerie - and I disliked the latter almost more than I liked the two protagonists. Valerie is a poisonously jealous, possessive woman who seems never to have grown up and clearly has no idea how to be happy, and any compassion I initially felt for her was burned away by how vicious she became during the course of the tale.
Nina, by contrast, is sweet, charming, and a young woman who grows to know her own mind and be certain of herself. She also grows into a very talented telekineticist. Hector, unlike almost everyone else, doesn't treat Nina's telekinesis talent as a nuisance or something to be hidden away, but then he has made a considerable fortune at putting on shows demonstrating his talent after leaving his home town a talented yet penniless boy who had fallen in love with Valerie a decade earlier. He sets out to earn sufficient money to woo her but in the meantime, because their relationship has been secret, she is obliged to marry Nina's older cousin, Gaetan, who is of a wealthy family.
The four characters' romantic lives are somewhat entangled, but in the end, Hector and Nina are able to marry, and Valerie is separated from her husband, who'd been outraged when he learned that she had sought to have Hector killed in a duel by the young man with whom Nina had been about to become engaged
Firstly, Nina and Hector have more in common than he first perceives. Hector earns his fortune on the stage manipulating objects with his mind, and Nina also has a strong gift. However, while it might be fine for a man to lift cards, mirrors, and even sharks with his mind it is improper for a lady to do anything similar. And Nina's tendency to cause minor disasters with her powers has earned her the nickname 'The Witch of Oldhouse'.
Nina's powers are part of what initially connects the two. Nina knows Hector by reputation, and as Hector starts to teach her how to control her powers Nina genuinely begins to fascinate him even as he pines for Valérie. However, their powers are far from the focus of the story, and there's never a traditional science fiction action plot wrapped into this novel. While I'm used to seeing science fiction which includes romantic plots, The Beautiful Ones is more of a romance with a touch of science fiction. I found the decision to flip the usual balance of science fiction and romance fascinating; an exciting reminder of the continued possibilities that exist within all genres.
Told from the constantly alternating perspectives of Hector, Nina, and Valérie, The Beautiful Ones allows the reader to get under the skin of each character. Even at their most unsympathetic all three characters come to life. By the end of the novel, the reader is presented with a sharp, smart look at a group of flawed, interesting, often lovable people who have been transformed by the journey they have taken together. Nina's chapter, at the end of Part One, provides probably one of the most well-paced images of a woman rebuilding her life that I've ever read. Although Valérie is, by the end of the novel, quite a monster I felt intensely connected to her because the reader is allowed so much insight into her internal conflict and complexity. Valérie's story highlights the damaging nature of the strictures placed on women, and also the personal damage that everyone is capable of inflicting on themselves with little outside help. I even came around to Hector as he began to understand his mistakes, and try to slowly start his life again.
Silvia Moreno-Garcia has created a smart meditation on love with Hector, Nina, and Valérie each coming to realise they know very little of what love means. Hector's relationships with Valérie and Nina both reveal two very different forms of affection, as do Nina's romances with Hector and another suitor. Through these different relationships, the novel both sets up a definition of true love, and reveals the pitfalls and pleasures of other types of romance. Part Two is a deliciously slow arc of about rebuilding trust, and learning what love looks like. I doubt it can be bettered.
The Beautiful Ones is an emotionally intelligent novel that orbits around a tender, slow romance. It's also fun, fast, dramatic, and I couldn't put it down for two whole days. One not to miss whether you like romance, science fiction or both.