The Beautiful Ones

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 04 Nov 2017

Member Reviews

I'd consider this one 3.5 stars that I'll round up to 4 because I loved the main characters and the writing so much.

The description of this book gives absolutely nothing away...probably because there really is nothing to give away. Honestly, I don't mean that in a bad way. The Beautiful Ones is an extremely character-driven book with a sprinkling of magical fantasy woven throughout, and really, it doesn't drive the plot at all. Looking at the cover and reading the summary, I thought maybe it would be a bit like "The Originals," because it talks so much about family magic and relationships (minus the vampirism, obviously), and I expected that there would be a lot more talk about Hector performing and maybe Nina would even be drawn into it a little but I was wrong on all counts. The book is all about the drama, drama, drama of finding a suitable husband for young Antonina Beaulieu.

Without giving away much, I will say that I felt the book moved a little slow, but the excellent writing made up for it. The author made me feel exactly as I was supposed to toward each character. I absolutely hated crazy, psycho cousin Valerie. I enjoyed and cheered for the young and whimsical Nina. And then there was handsome, conflicted Hector. Plus all of the secondary characters. So if you're looking for a story of magic, well-defined characters, societal courting, and of course, romance!
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I saw the cover of The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and was immediately drawn to it.  Then I read the summary and knew I wanted to read this as it mixes historical with fantasy and this has become one of my favorite genres.  The story centers on three characters, Nina, Hector, and Valerie.

Nina is in Loisail for her first grand season and is under the guidance of her cousin’s wife, Valerie.  Unfortunately for Nina, Valerie isn’t very welcoming and add to that the fact that Nina has hard time controlling her telekinetic powers, Nina isn’t exactly happy.  When she meets Hector, a telekinetic performer, two things happen.  First, Nina gains control over her powers and she isn’t as much of a danger.  And second, she falls in love with Hector.

I really wanted to hit Hector a number of times throughout this story.  See, he is being quite deceptive with Nina as he has ulterior motives to being around her.  Hector comes from nothing really but when he met Valerie years ago, he wanted to be something more and be able to provide for her.  Hector ended up leaving Valerie behind so that he could earn his fortune and come back for her, but Valerie ended up marrying a man she didn’t love to save her family.  Now that Hector is back and somewhat famous, he wants her back in his life, but Valerie is not the same person he left behind, and her bitterness pushes him toward Nina with his only goal being to make Valerie jealous and want him back.

Valerie is just angry and bitter, and she takes it out on Nina.  She does whatever she can to make life hell for Nina and when Hector puts Nina right in the middle of their past, she takes the brunt of Valerie’s anger.

This is very much a character driven story and while a bit slow at times, I found I needed to keep reading to find out what was going to happen next for them all.  There were times I was frustrated and angry and each one of them and poor Nina had no clue what she was getting into.  Overall, I enjoyed this book and look forward to checking out more of her books.
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At first I was concerned that this book was going to just wreck my heart and I was not looking forward to that. It made a solid go of faking me out though, and I was so pleased with all of it. The language seemed to fit the setting exceptionally well, and normally I'd have said it was slow paced but it sped up at just the right moments. Definitely recommending it to magical history fans. Historical magic fans?
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The Beautiful Ones begins as a story of deception, and slowly turns into something truly beautiful. The characters were definitely one of the highlights of The Beautiful Ones, second only to the love story. It also has a pretty cover!
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How could I not be drawn to this novel set in a fantasy Belle Epoque? The world Moreno-Garcia has created is darkly glimmering, peopled with aristocrats, some of whom have telekinetic powers, navigating the Grand Season. The trick is to let yourself sink in and be swept along by the author’s gorgeous writing. The fantasy aspect is more a tinge than an immersive experience, as the novel focuses more on the romantic crises of various hearts. I am intrigued enough by the author’s style that I will be exploring her other work.
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I was absolutely astounded by the writing, though I had been expecting something different from the blurb. I was assuming I would be reading a paranormal romance, but instead I was greeted with something that felt like a historical romance set in a different yet familiar world. This story is also very character-driven, which was a pleasant change from my usual readings.

I found myself quickly wanting to know more about the characters. I adored Nina’s naieve and spunky personality, Hector’s blind yet stoic love, and Valérie’s calculating jealousy. Each character contributed well to the story. At one point, the story even went from a love triangle to a love square, which was quite interesting to read.

One of the biggest emotions I encountered was for Hector. He seemed to have one of the largest developments for the characters. There were parts of the story when I couldn’t decide whether or not I hated him, but in a way that kept me wanting to read more. The characters in this story definitely had depth that made them feel like real people.

The telekinetic bit was important, but not as important as the overarching story. True, it brings Antonina and Hector together, but I felt they could have came together without it. It added an interesting element, but it didn’t take center stage for the story.

Final Thoughts:
I thought this was a wonderful book. I was dazzled by the characters and the world. As I was reading, I continually had questions, which were all answered. I would recommend this story to those who enjoy historical romances that are character driven and want a bit of a fantasy aspect.
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After enjoying Moreno-Garcia's previous novel Certain Dark Things I was expecting another gritty tale filled with the supernatural. However, The Beautiful Ones couldn't be more different. It has just enough object levitation and theatricality to make you forget what you are really reading is a historical romance! Romance is not normally my bag, but I didn't object to it here. Set in a Belle Epoch-ish time period, the story is slow, but Moreno-Garcia's deft touch with characterization makes the payoff worth the time.  

I would recommend this novel to folks who like historical-y romance or to people who wish that Austen's characters had magical powers.
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The Beautiful Ones is a very enjoyable historical romance. It's not really heavy on the fantasy part, which I was completely fine with. I'm very impressed with the writing. The author took great care in describing things in a way that makes them vivid in your imagination. I will say I thought the book was going to go totally different than it did. I thought certain characters were going to end up together and when they didn't, I was a little disappointed. The origin setting of the romance was so beautiful that I was really routing for Valérie, until her character turned nastier than expected. I was a bit thrown off that Hector seemed to so quickly flip a switch emotionally. I felt for Nina's character so much; she was entirely awkward and strange yet lovable all the while. I thought the match at the end seemed ill-fitting, but I really enjoyed the story all the same.
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This was a beautifully written, character driven novel. Antonina has gone to live with her cousin in order to make her debut. Her interest is caught by Hector, who ends up having ulterior motives in his attention towards her. Add in some family drama and telekinesis and it's a great story! The book is a bit slow - paced, but I didn't mind at all. The descriptions and character history were fantastic. 

Thank you to NetGalley for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I did not want to rate this, it wouldn’t be fair as I did not finish the book. But my post wouldn’t be added without it!  To be honest I thought it was going to be more of a fantasy and instead, it’s a historical romance with a bit of magic. I got bored because it’s not really my style and the characters irritated me from the beginnng.
If you like regency romance, Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer with some magic this book would be perfect for you! So give it a shot, many people loved it! Thank you netgalley for the proof.
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Nina has telekinetic powers and she is 19 years old, ready to be married. It's just that no one wants a wife with such a freakish talent. She falls in love with Hector, a man with similar powers who is famous for his performances, but there is a catch. Hector is obsessively in love with Nina's cousin. Their telekinetic powers are the only magical thing in the story. It was different, but I feel it didn't add anything to the outcome. Also, the setting is made up, 19th century like world, so I felt that this might have been just a historical romance set in London perhaps. 

This story is so much more than a love triangle. Author managed to represent young and naive love so well, and also did justice to older women's contempt toward fairy tale endings that are not realistic. Nina's character development and struggle felt so real and I felt genuine sympathy towards her. It was more difficult to warm up to Valerie, older cousin who is confident, cold and strict. 

Beautiful Ones was a pleasant surprise! I got it through NetGalley and as soon as I picked it up, I was hooked. I was drawn to it because of the magical premise, but I got a love story, which was a good bargain. It good somewhat too dramatic at the end, but I was happy overall.
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For a book that ended up being more romance than fantasy (something I was not expecting), I really enjoyed it. It was surprising that it was more of a 20th century romance read with just hints of fantasy elements, but there were some really strong characters that carried the story. 

Nina and Hector were dynamic characters that I really enjoyed reading about, and I loved their slow-burning romance. Nina is an outcast in the city, in love with nature and wildlife, and she's struggling to understand the ways of society and what it means to be a 'lady.' Throw in the fact that she has telekinetic powers that are frowned upon, she struggles with connecting with people and finding a husband. Hector is a master of telekinetic performances, and he's amassed a fortune showcasing his skills. He's doing this all to win back his teenage sweetheart, Valerie, who is married to another rich man. He's hoping that he can win back her love and they can finally be together. 

Valerie just so happens to be chaperone to Nina, her cousin through marriage. Valerie forces Nina to go to balls to meet people, and Nina meets Hector, someone she's admired for a long time due to his telekinetic prowess. She asks him to teach her more about her powers, and Hector in turn, gets to see more of Valerie and potentially win her back. You see where this is going, right? 

While parts of the plot were obvious from the beginning, it still really worked, and it's credit to the characters. I wished there was more world-building and fantasy elements to the story. From a fantasy perspective, I was disappointed, but I also appreciate a good romance read, so it worked. 

The romance is chaste and emotional, just how I like it. Over time, the characters developing feelings and emotional growth were wonderful to read about, and I devoured the story. Nina as a main character was refreshing and brilliant, as there's not many romance novels I've read that has a heroine quite like her. Hector is a little more of your run-of-the-mill male lead, but I still liked him and how he grew throughout the story.

Overall, this was a solid read because of the characters. I loved Moreno-Garcia's storytelling, and I will definitely be picking up more of her books in the future. 

*I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. Special thanks to the publisher and author for providing me with a copy!*
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I realized that after I requested this that I probably was not going to read it. I regret requesting it cause it did sound interesting when I read the summary.
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The world-building is a tad peculiar in this alt-universe romance with a late-Victorian, fin-de-siecle feel: we've got countries we've never heard of, but our main setting is Loisal, in which everyone has French names. The Beautiful Ones are the beau monde of course, into which Antonina Beaulieu is being launched, largely against her will, as she is a country girl and has trouble fitting into the social scene.

Her situation is not helped by her cousin's wife Violette, ostensibly launching her, who is the most beautiful woman in town, but harbors a secret bitterness as her family forced her to marry for money. She gave up the love of her life, who shows up again, determined to see her--to have her. A telekinetic performer, Hector Aubrey is now very wealthy, and is able to get along in society though his birth is both foreign and low. He is obsessed with Violette, and begins courting Antonina to get close to her.

Antonina is attracted to him, and she exhibits the same talent, though it is frowned on in good society, so things get complicated.

The telekinetic thing was awkwardly fitted in, as it seems the only talent around, and these two the only ones with it. (view spoiler)

That and the unexplained French seem sort of shoehorned in, but I think those elements are more than made up for by the complexity of the characterization. Here the book really shines. Moreno-Garcia takes her time in introducing the characters, fleshing everyone out with a variety of motivations and actions. When one turns dark, we see the progression to the decision point, and it all makes compelling emotional sense.

The story thus starts slowly, but anyone who enjoys tales set in high society, with all the dangers of complicated manners, will be enthralled. I sure was. I enjoyed it from the beginning, but about a third of the way in I couldn't put it down until I hit the last, immensely satisfying page.
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Take the Belle Époque and then mix in some romance, a fair amount of scheming and a touch of telekinesis. The result is The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. This book is a tale of a girl who dreams of romance, a man who longs to find his love of years gone by and a woman who sacrificed her own happiness for her family’s fortune. This novel is told mostly over the period of two grand seasons, where everyone is in the city, going to balls and courting. Only this time, there is the added bonus of ‘talents’: people with telekinetic gifts who are looked down upon by those without. 

I will admit, this book was not entirely what I was expecting based on the blurb I read. I was expecting the telekinesis to be a much larger part of the book than it was and indeed, in some parts I forgot it was actually a feature of the novel. Instead, The Beautiful Ones focused primarily on the relationships between the three main characters, and their own personal development as the story went on. Even though this was not quite what I was expecting, I think the novel was probably better for it. 

When I first started reading this book, I made the mistake of reading it on the bus to work. The introduction of the characters and their actions during the first part of the novel had me smiling and chuckling to myself as I read (cue the weird looks from fellow commuters). Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s treatment of the characters is beautiful, particularly in the first half. Each one is fully layered, with their own plans and designs, that you never know quite who to you want to come out on top. Personally, Nina was my favourite – her naïve vulnerability, rebellious nature and hidden strength were rather endearing, particularly as she found herself caught up in the schemes of Hector and Valerie. Unfortunately, the second half did lose a little of the character complexity as it started to focus more on the romance and plot, but it was still entertaining and heart-warming (if a little frustrating in places) to read. 

Overall, I would recommend this book if you’re in the mood for a more modern Jane Austen with a little bit of telekinesis added in for good measure. While I don’t tend to enjoy romances, the book is a delight to read. The characters are a clear strength, especially when they are at their most deceptive, but the story and prose were equally as enrapturing.
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Enchanting and lyrical, this book slowly crept its way into my radar and captured my attention. I’m always happy to sit down with a historical romance novel, but this one is definitely in a different vein, in that Silvia Moreno-Garcia seems to write versatile tales and I would classify this as a historical romance novel but with a fantastical touch. Both the protagonists share telekinetic abilities, and it is seen as a part of the world, which explains the fantasy aspect, although it is still firmly a historical fiction novel in the setting and premise.

From the start, Nina is a delightful heroine who immediately captured my heart with her pure heart and the lack of artifice. A bit of a wallflower, she is stifled by the proper behavior and conventions she should follow, as dictated by her aunt Valerie, seeing as she grew up freely in a more rural setting. It would be difficult not to like her, and I loved her charming nature, from her beetle collection to the vivid curiosity she has for everything.

She could not wash this so easily, and the memory remained in the dawn; it stained her heart, like the sap of trees, which clings to clothes, to skin, to everything.

Hector, the hero, is a passionate and intense man, and a bit of a hopeless romantic. He struggles with the dissonance between his idealism and the reality he lives in and could be a bit frustrating to read at times but slowly grew on me, especially as his emotions begin to grow in a certain~ direction. Certain moments in the narrative made me swoon and I loved how his character contrasts with both Nina and with Valerie.

I was enamored of an illusion for years on end, living on memories half-remembered and half fabricated.

Valerie is a well-thought out antagonist and there is something fascinating about her cold and ambitious nature. I spent the entirety of the book disliking her, to be quite honest, but I appreciated how well-written she was and she felt just as dynamic and forceful as I would expect her to be throughout the novel. She is human and the moments of vulnerability that Moreno-Garcia writes were compelling in the face of her more overtly despicable personality traits.

The romance itself is slow burn, where at times I felt utterly frustrated at the progression but in the end was so worth it because it was so satisfying. It’s hard to describe it without spoiling the plot, but there was so much heartbreak and angst weaved throughout the book, as the premise sets you up to experience. I advise not reading this book without a comforting coping mechanism or a busy day, I was desperate to finish the story so that I wouldn’t feel a gnawing worry for the characters, especially Nina.

He pressed his face against her neck, his hands racing down her body, and he felt himself caught on the edge of something, as he had not been in a painfully long time.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s writing is gorgeous and the attention and care to detail elevated the reading experience, where every emotion felt rich and beautiful. While The Beautiful Ones was my first book that I’ve encountered by Moreno-Garcia, it will surely not be my last.

Thank you to St. Martins Press for the review copy.
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From glittering ballrooms to decaying family estates, Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s THE BEAUTIFUL ONES showcases the grandeur of society inspired by the Belle Époque…and the grit that’s carefully concealed beneath it.

When young Antonina Beaulieu comes out in society, she’s thrust from the socially relaxed country town where she grew up and into the blinding lights of Loisail. Guided by her aunt, the coldly perfect Valérie Beaulieu, Antonina struggles to conform to the social niceties required to make a good impression; her clumsiness, brazen attitude, and completely disregard for etiquette quickly mark her as a borderline unmarriageable miss. Add in her unsettling tendency to move things telekentically when she’s upset, and Nina has her fair share of hurdles to overcome before she can make a match of it. Until the mysterious, accomplished telekenetic performer Hector Auvray knocks on the door of her Aunt’s home…

Nina is quickly captivated by Hector`s attention, his plain-speaking, and his good looks. But Hector is pursuing Nina for all the wrong reasons, and it`s not long before that comes to light. Moreno-Garcia captures perfectly Nina`s feelings of betrayal, anger, and shame in the wake of her heartbreak, and I really appreciated the time she gave Nina to mourn the loss of Hector`s courtship and accept the reality of her circumstances. THE BEAUTIFUL ONES is a romance, so it`s not exactly surprising how the triangle between Nina, Hector, and Valérie ultimately plays out, but I really appreciated the care that Moreno-Garcia took in getting there. 

THE BEAUTIFUL ONES stands apart from other fantasy of manners and romance novels thanks to Moreno-Garcia’s writing style, a lyrical yet precise way with words that’s typically reserved for “literary fiction.” A genre chameleon, Moreno-Garcia proves that she has the talent to pull off any kind of story with a style that’s uniquely her own. Some fans of CERTAIN DARK THINGS may not find what they’re looking for (namely, thrills and chills) in THE BEAUTIFUL ONES, but personally I loved reading Moreno-Garcia’s description of an entirely different world.

More than anything though, I found myself captivated by the characters and their multidimensional personalities. Nina, with her fresh optimism, kindness, and unbearable naivete; Hector, with his genuine heartbreak and fondness for Nina coupled with his scheming, manipulative behaviour; and Valérie, with her wild heart trapped by the conventions of the upper-class lifestyle she desperately clings to. Not all of the characters in THE BEAUTIFUL ONES are likable, but they’re all convincing and well-drawn. Valérie, in particular, impressed me — she’s selfish, cruel, and conniving, but her motivations are understandable and convincing. Moreno-Garcia makes it clear that Valérie wasn’t born this way: she’s been hardened by the sacrifices she’s made to conform to the expectations of a patriarchal society and the strict boundaries of class.

While I enjoyed the sprinkling of magic in THE BEAUTIFUL ONES, I admit that I craved more detail about the telekinetic powers that Nina and Hector both possess. We hear a lot about Hector`s unrivaled skill with his abilities, and although he does perform a few times on page, I confess that I wanted to know the true extent of his abilities. I’m sure he’s capable of much more than what he displays in his acts. That said, I was quite pleased with the way Nina`s developing control over her own gift plays into the climax of the story. Pretty badass!

THE BEAUTIFUL ONES is at once charming and thought-provoking, full of style, wit, and social commentary. With her trademark skill and style, Silvia Moreno-Garcia proves that she has staying power in any genre she chooses.
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I received an ARC of The Beautiful Ones from Netgalley. I requested it because I had heard a lot of praise for Moreno-Garcia's previous writing.

The book has two minor characters that are hard of hearing.
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The blurb is quite misleading. Telekinesis does not play a large role in the story at all, the main focus is definitely on the romance. I wish that more focus had been put on the telekinesis training, as I feel like we could have found out more about Nina's growth through such scenes.

I also wasn't satisfied with the explanation of the title. Why exactly are The Beautiful Ones called the Beautiful Ones. What is the meaning behind the name?

The romance plot did turn out to be quite interesting, even if it wasn't exactly what I expected from the book. I ended up understanding Valérie's position quite well, and felt that she was in a way the main character of the story. Valérie is a perfect example of an antiheroine - and it was fascinating to read how she felt about her situation. I was rooting for Nina to choose neither of the two love interests presented to her in the story. I won't say what the ending was, but it wasn't exactly what I wanted, but it was better than the ending I thought she'd up having.

It was wonderful to see Nina stand up to sexism. I do feel like more sympathy could have been conveyed to Valérie at some point of the book, as it paints her very much as the evil villian, even though she had very little choice at that time. Nina had the privilege to choose her own husband and her family supported that, Valérie didn't. I would have liked to see more discussion about this, as I felt that the ending was unjust to Valérie and did not highlight the fact that she faced that punishment and that she had had little other choice because of her gender.

Victorian flower language was a welcomed, small, decorative surprise. I love seeing how flowers are used to convey messages, however subtle they might be, and regardless of whether the recipient realises that there are messages hidden within the gift.

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I found both the blurb and title misleading, which lead to me expecting something very different from this book. The Beautiful Ones is a pleasant read, however I didn't find it that great. It's neither good nor bad.
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Stevie‘s review of The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno Garcia
Historical Romantic Fantasy published by Thomas Dunne Books 24 Oct 17

I’m a great fan of stories set in fantasy worlds that are similar enough to our own to be recognisable, but are far more than just a place and a historical era with some magic thrown in. When the concept works, it’s a grand feat of world-building, in which we are able to believe that both author and characters are fully familiar with all the events taking place and the background against which the story has been built. One such world is that of Hector, Nina and Valerie, in which old estates struggle to compete with new wealth, and new technologies similar to those of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are contrasted by the telekinetic powers of a few talented individuals.

Hector is one of those with such gifts. Born to humble beginnings, he has made his fame and fortune as an entertainer and has now returned to the city where once he fell in love with a young aristocratic woman, who promised to wait for him but then married a boy from a wealthy family in order to safeguard her own family’s estates for the future.

Valerie does not regret giving Hector up in favour of the lifestyle and riches she craved growing up, even though she is far from satisfied with her husband. Charged with introducing her troublesome niece into Society, she is dismayed when the girl makes a point of introducing herself to Hector and inviting him to the house where she is staying.

Nina has telekinetic powers to match Hector’s, but has never been trained in their control or use, since such gifts are frowned upon by polite society, even as its members enjoy going to shows such as those starring the famous Hector. A young lady who doesn’t hide any powers she might have risks missing out on making a good match, but Nina is awed by Hector and soon falls in love with him. Hector, meanwhile, plots to renew his affair with Valerie through encouraging Nina’s friendship. And in the background, the rakish younger brother of one of Hector’s well-off friends plots to steal Nina for himself, provided she keeps her telekinesis secret after their marriage.

This was a wonderfully rich book, although it took me a while to be properly swept up by it. The characters and settings were alien enough to make Hector and Nina’s powers believable, while also familiar enough for the plots around manners and societal norms to be easily followed. Hector is something of an arse at times, and Nina can be rather immature, so a long-term happy ending may not be easy for them to achieve. I’m very keen to read more by this new-to-me author.

Grade: B
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