The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – REVIEW
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 a complimentary copy of this book from Jo Fletcher.
Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
“Now she was there, real and solid, and he wanted to die without her and wanted to live for her.”
When I heard that one of my favourite books was being re-released with a new cover I knew I had to be involved with the blog tour and shout about why I love this novel so much. The Beautiful Ones is an exquisitely written novel of manners with a prose as luxurious as its Belle Epoque-inspired setting. This is a historical romance with a dash of fantasy thanks to the telekinetic powers of two of its main characters.
“He was chained to her, to this brilliant ideal of a perfect love.”
Nina is nineteen years old and being introduced to society for the first time with the help of her cousin Gaétan and his wife Valérie. Nina is headstrong, passionate, and naive, and when she meets the brooding performer Hector she quickly falls in love. Unbeknownst to Nina, Hector was once engaged to her cousin-in-law Valérie and is still hopelessly in love with her. The novel explores the different types of love and their attractions and dangers, from the all-consuming devotion of first love to the more measured love that grows from friendship. Hector and Nina’s romance is beautifully developed and they reminded me of Celia and Marco from The Night Circus.
“But even when she gave nothing, he was happy because she was everything.”
One of the main themes of the novel is artifice versus reality. We all create illusions about people and places, but Hector has spent a decade deluding himself with a Valérie who never existed. Valérie is an awful person but she’s an incredibly interesting character. Trapped by the gender expectations of the period and forced to use her beauty as currency, Valérie is in a gilded cage, “nourished by hate” and lashing out at everyone around her.
“In her misery, she was able to find the beauty of spite and cling to it.”
I honestly can’t recommend this book enough. Silvia Moreno-Garcia has written a number of stunning novels and each is unique but this tops them all. Please buy or borrow a copy of this book and immerse yourself in a tale of entangled loves, bitterness, magic, and hope.