The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The Beautiful Ones

In a world of etiquette and polite masks, no one is who they seem to be.Antonina Beaulieu is in the glittering city of Loisail for her first Grand Season, where she will attend balls and mingle among high society. Under the tutelage of the beautiful but cold Valérie Beaulieu, she hopes to find a suitable husband. However, the haphazard manifestations of Nina’s telekinetic...

Title:The Beautiful Ones
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Edition Language:English

The Beautiful Ones Reviews

  • Candace Robinson

    This book was beautiful! It does have a slow pace and very character driven, but I was never bored at all. I kept wanting to turn each page! There is heartbreak and moments where I wanted to slap a certain character. Hector... Hector... Hector... I wanted to shake you so much in the beginning, but I still love you. The atmosphere was breathtaking and the prose was awesome! Also, loved Antonina's love of insects! Review on my blog

  • Lisa

    Review from Tenacious Reader:

    After reading and loving Certain Dark Things, I had no doubt I would read whatever Moreno-Garcia published next. That turned out to be The Beautiful Ones. Just from the synopsis I could tell it would be incredibly different from the vampire underground world created in Certain Dark Things, but I have to confess, I was hoping to still find a bit of that darkness in The Beautiful Ones. Well, I can’t say I found this to be dark l

    Review from Tenacious Reader:

    After reading and loving Certain Dark Things, I had no doubt I would read whatever Moreno-Garcia published next. That turned out to be The Beautiful Ones. Just from the synopsis I could tell it would be incredibly different from the vampire underground world created in Certain Dark Things, but I have to confess, I was hoping to still find a bit of that darkness in The Beautiful Ones. Well, I can’t say I found this to be dark like that, and will advise you that you can not read this book looking for world or tone similarities to Certain Dark Things. Moreno-Garcia did create great characters in both, that is the main similarities end.

    As opposed to most of the books I read, the romance aspect was the strongest plot point in this book. You can also find character growth, and a lesson to embrace who you are, etc. But ultimately, this book was about relationships and romance. I am not stating that as a negative, honestly, sometimes its nice to read a book like that. But I like to know ahead of time so I can save it for when the mood strikes, so keep that in mind if you only read and enjoy romance centered books sporadically.

    The magic in this book consists of telekinetic powers that are rare within the world. Nina, one of our POVs as well as the one I would consider the central character, is cursed with these telekinetic powers. Untrained, she can not control them, and they manifest at times of stress. She has earned a negative reputation in town as a result, and is pretty much considered “damaged goods“, since her ability is considered a liability and undesirable for a woman.

    Hector, another of our POVs, also has telekinetic powers. Lucky for him, as a man, he can use his powers in a way that is not frowned upon by society. He is successful travelling performer, using his powers to create breathtaking spectacles. He may not have quite the same social standing as nobility, but he does earn enough money to rival them and garner a level of respect. He may not be one of them, but he is welcome among them.

    When Hector takes an interest in courting Nina, his motivations are not entirely honest. The book is not a fast paced thriller, but a slow burn that explores relationships and trust, as well as acceptance for who you are. I enjoyed reading about Nina and watch her learn to not be ashamed of the magic that is just a part of her. If you are in the mood for a character and relationship driven book with a bit of romance and heartbreak, then this is worth checking out.

  • Mogsy (MMOGC)

    4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

    I’ve often been asked for advice from friends who are interested in giving audiobooks a try, but are worried that they might have trouble getting into them. In response, I always say that starting with a good book and a good narrator is key, but also important is finding a story well-suited to the format. While it’s true some books simply work best in prose form, there are also plenty of times where I’ve come across audiob

    4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

    I’ve often been asked for advice from friends who are interested in giving audiobooks a try, but are worried that they might have trouble getting into them. In response, I always say that starting with a good book and a good narrator is key, but also important is finding a story well-suited to the format. While it’s true some books simply work best in prose form, there are also plenty of times where I’ve come across audiobooks that made me think, “Wow, I definitely wouldn’t have enjoyed this as much if I had read the print version.”

    The Beautiful Ones is the perfect example of such a book. As soon as comparisons to an Austenesque romance and descriptions of a Belle Époque-inspired fantasy-of-manners started floating about, I made the decision to listen to this one in audio, and I don’t regret that one bit. Featuring a slow-building love story and only a light touch of the fantastical, I might have become dreadfully bored by the long drawn-out expository sections on propriety and high society had I chosen to read this in print (not to mention all the endless romantic drama based on manipulation and miscommunication would have worn me down). However, a good narrator along with some excellent characterization ensured that I was never bored while listening to this audiobook, and the entire experience was pleasant, even relaxing.

    Set in a world reminiscent of late 19th century Europe with inspiration from the pre-WWI “Golden Age” era of France, The Beautiful Ones introduces us to a tri of central characters. First is Hector Auvray, a telekinetic entertainer who has arrived back in the city of Loisail after spending nearly ten years traveling and performing abroad. Now rich and famous, he has returned to his home country hoping to meet up with his old flame Valérie Beaulieu, to whom he had been engaged when they were both young and penniless, but pressured by her family, she had ended up breaking his heart to marry someone else with wealth and status.

    To Hector’s disappointment though, the emotional reunion he had planned for was spoiled when Valérie fails to show up to the high society ball he attends. Instead, he makes the acquaintance of another young woman at the gathering, the interesting but socially awkward Antonina who is in the city for her first Grand Season. It’s not until after the party that Hector learns, to his surprise, that Nina is the beloved cousin of Gaetan Beaulieu, the man Valérie ended up marrying. In fact, Nina is staying with the Beaulieus right now, tasked to learn the ropes of etiquette from Valérie, who is supposed to be helping the young girl find a suitable husband. But unfortunately for Nina, she also has telekinetic talents similar to Hector’s, which is considered inappropriate for a young lady of her stature. Along with her eccentric personality, they have a pesky way driving off potential suitors.

    Yet Hector sees Nina’s powers as a gift—as well as an opportunity. Under the guise of courting her, Hector offers to teach Nina how to control her powers, when in reality he is hoping their relationship will help him get close to Valérie, convinced that she still loves him the way he still loves her.

    I won’t lie, I wanted to throttle nearly everyone in this book, but in this they have something in common with characters in a soap opera—you just love to hate them. Likewise, I found it impossible to tear myself away from the drama, and I would even hazard to say I enjoyed The Beautiful Ones more than the author’s previous novel Certain Dark Things, despite this one being much slower paced and having none of the action. This is because Silvia Moreno-Garcia knows how to spin a good yarn, and more importantly, she knows what it takes to capture the reader’s attention. Rather than shy away from the usual conventions of the fantasy of manners genre, she instead revels in them, offering up a lavish feast of romantic melodrama, high societal punctilio, and weaponized etiquette. Within this context, the fantasy element almost feels like an afterthought, having little to no impact on the overall story.

    Still, the novel came together very well. By taking such a huge departure from her previous work, Moreno-Garcia might have been risking a lot in writing something like The Beautiful Ones, but ultimately I thought it was a move that paid off. I practically hung onto every word, even though the plot played out exactly as I thought it would, with the requisite frustrations and misunderstandings between the characters. I’ve lost count of how many times I wanted to slap Hector silly or to shake some sense into Nina, and don’t even get me started on how much I absolutely loathed Valérie, but at no point was I not completely 100% invested in the outcome of their story.

    Like I said, the fact that I had the audiobook version may have helped with my enjoyment, and the time simply flew by as I was listening to this. The only thing that might have made the experience better was if they had multiple narrators, one for each of the three POV characters, but then P.J. Ochlan also managed to do a fine job by himself so in the end I really have no complaints. If you’re looking for a fun fantasy of manners novel, The Beautiful Ones definitely fits the bill, and it’s probably one of the best ones I’ve read in a while.

  • Christie«SHBBblogger»

    The Beautiful Ones

    Standalone

    Silvia Moreno-Garcia

    October 24, 2017

    No

    There are some books you pick up and they immediately engross you, capturing your interest without pause. You flip through uncontrollably, pushed by a need to discover what's around the next corner until the very last page.

    This is not one of those.

    This is the kind with long (and boy, do I mean

    ) periods of waiting for something to happen.

    The Beautiful Ones

    Standalone

    Silvia Moreno-Garcia

    October 24, 2017

    No

    There are some books you pick up and they immediately engross you, capturing your interest without pause. You flip through uncontrollably, pushed by a need to discover what's around the next corner until the very last page.

    This is not one of those.

    This is the kind with long (and boy, do I mean

    ) periods of waiting for something to happen. Then you have quick bursts of plot acceleration, that unfortunately in my case did not appease my nagging boredom. Don't misunderstand me, this book had a lot going for it, despite my frustrations. And that's why I pushed on, hoping for a breakthrough in how I was feeling. The story was unique with well-developed and genuine characters. Each one layered in realistic human emotion and flaws. The problem was, their flaws outnumbered their strengths and I ended up disliking every last one of them.

    There were not two, but three main characters in this tale.

    Hector, a man whose adult life has been completely consumed by the heartbreak his first love.

    Antonina, a young and naive girl who is entirely too trusting and oblivious to the true nature of the people around her.

    Valérie, a vicious and bitter woman whose stunning outer beauty does not match the festering ugliness of her heart.

    The story is set in the city of Loisail, in what appears to be the late 1800s during the Grand Season. This was the marriage mart of the time where the Beautiful Ones (translation: the snooty, old money crowd) mingled and frowned upon basically everything. We are introduced to Hector, a wealthy man who came from nothing and earned every dime of his fortune using his gift of telekinesis. Known worldwide for his amazing tricks, he's proven himself to be a success. Except in matters of the heart. When his love and trust was cruelly betrayed years ago, it kindled a fire inside of him that never cooled. After a chance meeting with Nina, he sees an opportunity to make use of this sweet and unsophisticated girl. A deception that was doomed from the start to blow up in his face, which it did, and magnificently.

    Nina had a lot of quirky qualities that I enjoyed. She was socially awkward, full of joy and energy, showed an utter disregard for etiquette and social niceties, and had a love of beetles that was quite cute. I tried to like her, and at times, she really was charming. But the fact that I knew she was being duped so cruelly from page one didn't do my impression of her any favors. She conveyed herself as a blushing, giggling girl that couldn't see past her infatuation or her eternal optimism.

    Valérie was a despicable human being. In the beginning, you can

    sympathize with her in a way. Knowing how she gave up her youthful hopes of romance, and her own happiness for that of her family, you can't help but feel pity. But her selfish nature isn't helped by her husband's coddling and amiable moods. If anything, it feeds into her bitterness and rage.

    As the book wore on, she grew progressively more selfish, vindictive, and every bit of empathy she had gained from me evaporated in the wind. She started to teeter on the edge of sanity, and at this point all I wanted was for her to be squashed like one of the pretty insects that Nina so lovingly collected. She was VILE.

    The Beautiful Ones was what I would classify as a historical romance with hints of fantasy (due to the telekinesis element). This was a very small fraction of the book, and I must admit I was hoping that it would be heavier on the fantasy. I enjoyed seeing Nina and Hector's abilities come out, but it was not integral to the overall plot. The characters were well written, but were lost inside the slow moving pace, and not entirely likable for me personally. It took me quite a while to warm up to Hector at all, as he so carelessly played with Nina's tender trust for so long. Eventually, he did experience growth, and there was some groveling involved, but did I love him? No, he never made it to that point.

    Silvia Moreno-Garcia's writing was beautifully done, and her style was one that I could see myself enjoying with a future story. I'd recommend this book to readers who enjoy a slow burn historical romance.

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  • Steven

    Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher, St. Martin's, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

    I've heard great things about Silvia Moreno-Garcia, certain great things about her book Certain Dark Things (see what I did there???). I haven't had a chance yet to read it, though I did buy it earlier this year to read, but when I saw this on Netgalley, I had to give it a shot. Telekinesis talked about as if it's relatively normal in this world? Sounds fun to me.

    Well,

    Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher, St. Martin's, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

    I've heard great things about Silvia Moreno-Garcia, certain great things about her book Certain Dark Things (see what I did there???). I haven't had a chance yet to read it, though I did buy it earlier this year to read, but when I saw this on Netgalley, I had to give it a shot. Telekinesis talked about as if it's relatively normal in this world? Sounds fun to me.

    Well, here's the deal... if you're going into this expecting more of an urban fantasy or paranormal romance, you're in for a surprise. The telekinesis aspect, while it plays an important role in the development and relationship between two of the three main characters, is really a tiny part of the story. This book is mostly historical romance, a genre that I typically don't pick up except on rare occasion. So the telekinesis almost felt like it was there to trick me into reading something I normally wouldn't.

    ...and I'm glad it did. I ended up loving the book! Three compelling main characters, all broken in their own ways. Two of them fight to find something more, and one of them is one of the most despicable and cold and heartless characters I've seen on the page -- but she made for a great villain. Nina, though, stole my heart. She reminded me a lot of myself, and that made for an excellent read as I saw her grow and develop.

    There were a few times the pacing felt a little off, and I would have liked a little more of the powers, but those are minor complaints about a really compelling read. I'm glad I took a chance on this. I can't wait now for Certain Dark Things, because if she does for vampires what she did for historical romance with a tinge of the supernatural, then I'm in for a treat.

  • Wendi Lee

    *4.5 stars*

    *I received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

    Wow! This book was not at all what I expected. There was a lot more romance than magic (both Hector and Nina are telekinetics). It reminded me of reading a Edith Wharton book with a bit of magic mixed in, complete with naive protagonists, scheming cousin-in-laws (the vicious Valerie) and bumbling suitors. The writing is beautiful, and although the pacing was sometimes slow, I was 100% invested in these characters.

    Vale

    *4.5 stars*

    *I received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

    Wow! This book was not at all what I expected. There was a lot more romance than magic (both Hector and Nina are telekinetics). It reminded me of reading a Edith Wharton book with a bit of magic mixed in, complete with naive protagonists, scheming cousin-in-laws (the vicious Valerie) and bumbling suitors. The writing is beautiful, and although the pacing was sometimes slow, I was 100% invested in these characters.

    Valerie is the perfect villainous. She has had a sour life, denied a marriage to the man she loved, pouting as her husband (a perfectly nice man, by the way) throws jewels her way. She has made almost no choices in her own life (which is a sad commentary on the rigid gender roles in the 19th-ish century - I write 'ish' because it really isn't clear when this novel takes place), and she's determined that young Nina suffer through the same fate.

    I will stop here, as I want to keep this review spoiler-free. But it was an impressive, accomplished novel, and I highly recommend it.

  • Carrie

    Antonina "Nina" Beaulieu has arrived in the city of Loisail for her first Grand Season with the hopes of finding the love of her life to marry. She's been sent to live with Valérie Beaulieu who will oversee Nina as she attends balls and mingles among the high society. Nina coming from wealth should have no problem finding a husband with one exception, she has telekinetic powers that she hasn't been able to control leaving her the subject of gossip.

    When Nina meets Hector Auvray who happens to be

    Antonina "Nina" Beaulieu has arrived in the city of Loisail for her first Grand Season with the hopes of finding the love of her life to marry. She's been sent to live with Valérie Beaulieu who will oversee Nina as she attends balls and mingles among the high society. Nina coming from wealth should have no problem finding a husband with one exception, she has telekinetic powers that she hasn't been able to control leaving her the subject of gossip.

    When Nina meets Hector Auvray who happens to be a telekinetic performer she is immediately drawn to him with the two sharing their ability. Hector doesn't shun Nina but instead sees her powers as a gift and begins to help her hone her skills and learn to control them. As the two spend more and more time together Nina thinks she may have found the love she had been looking for but Hector hasn't let Nina the whole truth about himself.

    The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is mainly a historical romance story that has the added element of the two main characters in the story being telekinetic. I think those looking for more of the fantasy side involving telekinetic powers will be a bit disappointed in this one as it's a very very small detail that doesn't really get expanded on very much at all with the romance being the vast majority of the story. And a warning for those looking for romance the story I hope not to be too spoilery with this but it is a bit of a triangle that at one point becomes a love square so just be warned if those elements are something that you totally dislike before picking up this book.

    For myself I thought the story was one that was just on the OK side since it is a rather slow moving book and I'm more of a fan of the faster pace reads. I probably would have enjoyed it a bit more myself had the author done more with the telekinesis too but I'm not sure that would have really moved it along any faster though. The story stretched over quite a bit of time and it just didn't seem to actually have much depth to the plot other than eventually making Nina and Hector a pair so while I didn't dislike it I wasn't a huge fan either.

    I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

    For more reviews please visit

  • Gary

    Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s The Beautiful Ones offers readers a kaleidoscope of nostalgic trimmings – a splash of Austen, a dash or two of the Bronte Sisters, with an early modernist garnish. Set in a fantasy (alt history?) version of post-industrial France but dealing mainly with an aristocratic class resembling the landed gentry of the British, the novel’s plot centers around a nouveau riche entertainer, Hector Auvray, who returns home after many years abroad to rekindle an old flame, by way of the

    Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s The Beautiful Ones offers readers a kaleidoscope of nostalgic trimmings – a splash of Austen, a dash or two of the Bronte Sisters, with an early modernist garnish. Set in a fantasy (alt history?) version of post-industrial France but dealing mainly with an aristocratic class resembling the landed gentry of the British, the novel’s plot centers around a nouveau riche entertainer, Hector Auvray, who returns home after many years abroad to rekindle an old flame, by way of the beautiful Valerie Beaulieu, who years before had broken off their secret engagement so she could marry into a wealthy family. In the present, Hector pretends to court Valerie’s cousin by marriage, Nina Beaulieu, but only as an excuse to be close to Valerie.

    The magical wrinkle in all of this is that a small number of people in this society have telekinetic powers, Hector and Nina among them. High society considers telekinesis a vulgar subject, but Hector’s male privilege permits him to hone his natural talents into skills that make him a successful stage performer, who is then generally accepted by the upper class because of his wealth and fame. Nina is not so lucky. Her family regards her telekinetic abilities as a shameful nuisance, so her skills remain unrefined, her powers asserting themselves only at the most inconvenient times. As a result, she is a bit of an outcast at a time (19 years old) when she is supposed to be “entering” society, but she manages to stay in good enough graces thanks to the indulgence of her rich cousin, Valerie’s husband Gaetan.

    The Beautiful Ones is very successful as a straightforward genre exercise. While the story doesn’t shy away from Bronte-esque melodrama, it does so through the lens of Austen-esque psychological realism. This is especially welcome when the novel is dealing with the fantastical element of the story, which is presented in a grounded and ordinary way. The novel is perfectly plotted, and the shifting points-of-view offer the reader a rounded perspective of the main actors as the drama unfolds.

    There is a kind of purity to Moreno-Garcia’s approach that works against the novel, an unwillingness to contaminate the proceedings with anything resembling a direct political or social commentary. The novel’s alternaFrance has motorcars and other novelties of the early industrialized world, so it is beyond me why, in some respects (such as the fact that the heroes have the luxury of not worrying about their finances while the villains are motivated by their lack of access to capital), the author seems unwilling to deconstruct “polite” society in the vein of the early modernists.

    Despite some thematic ambiguities, The Beautiful Ones is exceptional in form, careful in its study of character and buoyed by Moreno-Garcia’s expressive prose and tightly managed storytelling. I don’t think it’s possible to read the book without rooting for its lovers to unite, or without being charmed by the elegant world the author has created.

  • Carolyn

    Set in an imagined world inspired by La Belle Epoque, this is a beautiful slow burning story of a love scorned and a love found. Not so much a fantasy, this story of beauty and manners could be set in early 20th century Europe with the aristocrats creating a beautiful world of balls and wealth and scorning those who have made money but are not from the landed families. There is a slight magical element to the story with the two main characters possessing telekinetic ability, which is acceptable

    Set in an imagined world inspired by La Belle Epoque, this is a beautiful slow burning story of a love scorned and a love found. Not so much a fantasy, this story of beauty and manners could be set in early 20th century Europe with the aristocrats creating a beautiful world of balls and wealth and scorning those who have made money but are not from the landed families. There is a slight magical element to the story with the two main characters possessing telekinetic ability, which is acceptable to the society as an entertainment by showmen, but not acceptable when displayed by a woman.

    The story opens with Nina, a young, naïve girl from the country embarking on her first Grand Season. She has been sent to stay with her cousin Valerie who is to teach her manners and elegance and help her capture a desirable husband from a wealthy aristocratic family. Nina is very much her own person and has trouble adapting to the strictures and expectations put on her by Valerie. As a young girl Nina was allowed to grow up running free in the countryside collecting her beloved beetles and butterflies. Her telekinetic ability is an embarrassment to her family, especially since she has little control over when she is upset or angry. Nina is delighted to meet Hector Auvray, a famed and wealthy telekineticist, at a ball and then later when he comes to call on Valerie, she asks for help in learning to control her own ability. Not knowing that Hector shares a past history with Valerie, Nina is delighted when Hector becomes a frequent visitor.

    This novel struck me as a cross between a Jane Austen period drama and a Marcel Proust novel where the author has created a world where manners and elegance are all important and the prose is lovingly descriptive in detailing not only the appearance of the men and women but the parks and countryside. The characters are well drawn with Nina and Hector both evolving through the novel. Nina loses none of her charm as she navigates this grown up world of elegance, remaining true to herself, except for one period where she succumbs to the pressure of her family and friends and allows a handsome young man to turn her head. Hector is somewhat obsessed with the idea of Valerie as she was when they were young that he fails to see her true nature for a frustratingly long time. Valerie is so well depicted as the evil, scheming witch who tries to manipulate young, naïve Nina and does not deserve her lovely husband Gaetan who adores all his family and smothers her with love and riches. I would recommend this for those who enjoy historical romances (albeit in an imagined world) with a smattering of fantasy.

  • TheBookSmugglers

    This was lovely and reader, I hugged this book at the end (I might also have read the ending a few times)

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