The Beautiful Ones
by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 27 Apr 2021 | Archive Date 11 May 2021
Macmillan-Tor/Forge, Tor Books
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.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 271 members
Moreno-Garcia crafts a love triangle romance reminiscent of classics like ANNA KARENINA, THE AGE OF INNOCENCE and THE GREAT GATSBY, with her unique mark of sci-fi/fantasy. Her main character Nina has the page-turning charm of MEXICAN GOTHIC'S heroine Noemi, although more of the innocence of her cousin. Thank you Macmillan and NetGalley for the enjoyable e-ARC!
I received an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I can confidently say that I think Silvia Moreno-Garcia is one of the best writers ever. Her style and ability to craft a narrative is unmatched in my opinion. After reading and loving Gods of Jade and Shadow, I have slowly been making my way through the rest of her books. When I saw this one was up on NetGalley, I could not pass up the chance. The Beautiful Ones was originally published in 2017, but it is getting a reissue in paperback this year. I remember struggling to track down the original hardcover of this book and Certain Dark Things because they were out of print, so I am very excited that readers are getting another chance to pick up a copy! If you know of this author because you read and enjoyed Mexican Gothic, you should know that this story is very different. Silvia Moreno-Garcia does not stick with one certain genre or style. Every book I have read by her has been completely unique and different than the last. The Beautiful Ones is no exception to this. It is a novel of manners with a hint of fantasy. The story itself follows Antonina Beaulieu as she travels to Loisail to stay with her cousin Gaétan and his wife Valérie for the Grand Season. She meets the Beautiful Ones, or notable socialites, and is expected to make friends and find a suitor. Nina does not really fit in as a “proper lady” like she is expected to, especially since she struggles to control her telekinesis. However, she is drawn to a telekinetic performer named Hector Auvray who helps her learn more about controlling her abilities. Nina falls head over heels for him in the process, but Hector is hiding a big secret that could hurt Nina and ruin their relationship. There is a lot of drama and romance to the point where it feels like a classic Jane Austen novel in some ways. I loved this because it is something I have not seen done by the author before. I really appreciate how she cannot be defined by one style and excellently pulls off whatever she chooses. One thing I think this author is known for her is impeccable writing. It is so beautiful and atmospheric. I really enjoy how it works to pull you into the narrative more. I have seen others say that the writing is slower, and I would agree to an extent. It feels like a slow build and burn compared to other books. It is not slow as in boring, but it is just the style that is consistent between her books. I know it is not for everyone, but I absolutely adore it! The story itself was so entertaining, but I appreciate how it comments on other important concepts like societal and familial expectations. Through the main characters, we see how people deal with pressure and conformity. This can be really difficult to manage when you are also figuring out what you want for yourself. Making the right decisions for yourself can be hard when you always have to worry about what others will think. Beyond that, I enjoyed the conversation this book had about love, heartbreak, and moving on. I thought the characters and character development were really solid in this book. It was interesting to see how they played off one another and dealt with different expectations. I really liked Hector and Nina, so I was rooting for them the whole time. I like that the author allowed them to grow not only for the sake of their romantic feelings but as individuals as well. I also really liked how Nina and Valérie show the different ways people manage societal exceptions. Nina stays true to herself and does not quite agree with most things that are expected of her. On the other hand, Valérie deeply cares about these things. She has had to make tough choices for herself and her family, but it makes her seem cold and selfish. Both characters work to show what it means to resist or go along with outside pressures. I have said it before and I will continue to say it, Silvia Moreno-Garcia is an auto-buy author for me. She has never let me down, and that is something I do not understand. I am beginning to think she has some kind of magical powers because every time I read one of her books I give it five stars. Her writing is just that good. I really do think The Beautiful Ones is something that a lot of readers will love, and I cannot recommend it enough! *Content warnings: arranged marriage, gun violence* Thank you to the publisher, Tor/Forge, and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book before its release on April 27, 2021.
Hector Auvray is a psychokinetic performer who is madly in love with his teenage crush Valérie. Despite her marriage, Hector will stop at nothing to be near her again including courting her neice Nina. I have to admit the first third of the book is hard to get through. Valérie is not a likeable character but the interplay between all the people is engaging (pun intended) and interesting. This story has a slow "Night Circus" feel to it. It builds and builds until before you know it, you're enjoying yourself. Silvia Moreno-Garcia often straddles genres with her writing. This book is no exception. Here she delicately weaves Historical Fiction, fantasy and YA romance flawlessly. I absolutely loved reading this beautifully written book. Thank you so much Macmillan-Tor/Forge for allowing me to review it. It releases April 27th, if you like YA romance go ahead and add this fantastic book to your tbr. I'll gladly be posting my 5 star review on my Bookstagram 'AprilsBookishLife' and in the 5 star highlight stories, Goodreads, Twitter and after release Amazon. I'll update this review with links as I post the reviews.
Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a master of genre fiction, and nothing exemplifies that more than The Beautiful Ones. This novel captures all the longing and intricate rituals of a historic romance with the fantastic world-building of a fantasy novel. When she was sent to stay with her cousin for her first season, Nina, a young girl with telekinetic powers, does not expect to enter a dance with the famous telekinetic performer, Hector Auvrey, and her own cousin-in-law, Camille. I read the last half of the book in one sitting because putting it down was nearly unthinkable. Fans of Bridgerton and A Midnight Bargain alike will find themselves drawn to this elegant and enthralling novel.
With the manners of Pride and Prejudice, the intrigue and freshness of Bridgerton, and the deeply devoted characters we have come to know and love from Moreno-Garcia, this book simply begs to be read on a cool spring night, warm beverage in hand. The realities of making one's way as a woman in a society fashioned with a strong code of "honor" that does nothing more than uplift the Madonna ideal of a woman's virtue while dismissing her complexities and the grace afforded young men of the same set, is on full display and watching the two heroines make different choices and deal with the consequences of those decisions is fascinating.
This is a fantasy of manners, where the fantasy elements are fairly restrained - the setting is non-existent European-esque, and a couple of the characters have telekinetic abilities (i.e., they are able to move objects with their minds). The main conflict, though, is straightforward relationship drama, in a 19th century style. Hector courts Nina, but only to be closer to her cousin's wife Valerie, who broke their engagement 10 years ago. The exploration of love lost and won, and what love means, is moving and well-done.
I was enchanted by Silvia Moreno-Garcia's writing style in Mexican Gothic, so when I heard that she had written "a novel of manners and a romance," I already knew this would be one of my top reads of the year. Reminiscent of The Great Gatsby and Sense and Sensibility, The Beautiful Ones tells the tale of Nina Beaulieu, spending Loisail's Grand Season under the watchful eye of her cousin's wife, Valérie. Known as the "Witch of Oldhouse" in her small hometown due to her telekinetic abilities, she comes to the city with dreams of a fresh start and of finding the kind of love she's only read about in books. When she meets Hector Auvrey, who has made his living off of his own powers, they agree to a teaching relationship which develops into courtship. However, Nina soon discovers that no one in Loisail is without their secrets, especially those closest to her. Moreno-Garcia takes her time with The Beautiful Ones, using multiple narrators to weave together a story that smashed my heart and put it back together again. I'm not typically one for a slow burn, but the writing was impeccable, inciting all the proper emotions without fail. Moreno-Garcia does not take the easy route-instead forging a narrative which propels the reader through a storyline that refuses to conform to traditional standards. I recommend this book with all my heart to anyone looking for a beautiful, exciting new tale of lost love, magic, scandal, and feminism.
I didn’t really know what to expect going into it but I really did enjoy it in the end. The characters are very well written and the three different perspectives help the plot progress while keeping the book engaging. That said, this book does go at a slower pace and i think it’s more enjoyable if you focus on the characters as you read the book. The book was significantly more romance focused than I had realized but I did end up enjoying it. I think I really like the authors writing style and how she crafts her characters. I’m looking forward to the next book I can read from her (: Review found at https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3725643107?book_show_action=false
Damn, I knew I was right to be excited about this book. It wasn't what I expected at all, but I was utterly enchanted, like, reading-on-the-subway-with-a-stupid-smile-on-my-face enchanted. I actually read half of this book in one day, reading into the night, so enamored I was. Moreno-Garcia has created captivating, vibrant characters in a novel written with grace and elegance. Immediately upon beginning this book, I felt like I was reading a Jane Austen novel (well...I've only ever read a single Jane Austen novel, Pride & Prejudice, but you get the idea). This is fitting, considering the author, on her blog, describes this book as a novel of manners. According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, a novel of manners is "work of fiction that re-creates a social world, conveying with finely detailed observation the customs, values, and mores of a highly developed and complex society. The conventions of the society dominate the story, and characters are differentiated by the degree to which they measure up to the uniform standard, or ideal, of behaviour or fall below it." To that end, the story is told from the perspectives of three very different characters: Hector, Nina, and Valerie. Hector is a telekinetic "talent" who has clawed his way out of poverty by becoming a stage performer. He is also, despite his aloof exterior, a shy romantic who has spent a decade pining for his first love, Valerie, who left him for a wealthier man. Valerie, the antagonist of the novel, is a bitter, jealous woman, shaped by her upbringing as the daughter of a family that has lost its former glory. Essentially guilted into marriage to a wealthy man who could uplift her family, Valerie is utterly resentful of Nina, who has a world of choices ahead of her. Nina, Valerie's cousin by marriage, is a budding entomologist who seems to have little regard for the social mores of the world she lives in. She is honest and straightforward, naive and somewhat impulsive, and she is, like Hector, a telekinetic who resents being told her powers are not "ladylike." The story begins with Hector and Nina, in what I'm tempted to call a "meet cute." Soon after, Hector realizes that Nina is related to the woman he is still pining over, and he begins courting Nina as an excuse to see Valerie. However, eventually, in a beautifully written-slow burn romance, Hector begins to fall for Nina instead. With excellent craft and technique, Moreno-Garcia traces significant character development for all three of her main characters. Hector comes to see the error of his ways as he slowly opens up and allows himself to care for someone again. Nina sheds some of her gullibility and youth, yet retains the open-eyed wonder of an ingenue. Valerie grows more bitter and cruel by the chapter, yet the reader is not totally unsympathetic towards her fall from grace as she elucidates her disappointment with the turn her life has taken (she reminds me quite a bit of Cersei Lannister, actually...make of that what you will). As I said, this novel was not what I expected. I thought I was going to read something heavy on the fantasy, and I was definitely left wanting in that arena. I would have liked more emphasis on world-building; it's not super clear whether this is meant to be a straight-up second world fantasy or some kind of alternate European country. In that same vein, I wish the existence of powers in this society had been expounded upon more, because for me it was fascinating to see telekinetics existing openly in a society that very closely resembled a mixture of early 20th century England and France. However, I do think that none of that was really the "point" of the novel; it's a story about love and relationships, with a touch of the fantasy element to add some color. I was reminded, in a way, of the film Another Earth, in which the fantastical (or sci-fi, in that case) elements were really only window-dressing to the overarching story of love, regret, and redemption. Despite its underdevelopment, the touch of the fantastical definitely added to the story. Nina is made even more of an outsider because of it, having grown up under the epithet of "the Witch of Oldehouse." It has certainly shaped her character, perhaps even spurring her various acts of rebellion. In Hector I think she meets a kindred soul, a fellow telekinetic who has made something of himself because of his talent and not despite it. It is significant that Hector, I think, is the only person who never admonishes Nina for using her talent in public and being "unladylike." For all his flaws (and there are many, which is what makes him such a fascinating and likable character!), he respects Nina's autonomy and he loves her for who she is: an excitable, enthusiastic, and forthright young woman. Minor characters were similarly endearing. Etienne, Hector's only friend, somehow manages to read him like a book, commenting wryly on Hector's various subtle changes of emotion throughout. Nina's sister, Marlena, is only around in a few scenes, but her love for her sister in those moments is clear and shining. Luc, Etienne's younger brother and would-be suitor for Nina at one point, is capricious and impetuous, but also childish in his innocence. Gaetan, Valerie's husband and Nina's beloved cousin, is seen as weak-willed and pathetic in his wife Valerie's eyes, but is shown to be a kind, indulgent, and forgiving man. Garcia-Moreno brings all of these characters to life in a narrative style that straddles third-person limited and third-person omniscient. If it hasn't been clear amidst all this ebullient praise, I absolutely loved this book. I can see it as the kind of book to be read in schools one day as a classic, and I will definitely be recommending it for my library. More importantly, it has also inspired me as a writer. The vibrant characters, the deftly elegant writing style, the simple yet engaging plot - it has made me want to write my own novel of manners someday, in homage to this lovely book. 4.5 stars!
What a treat to read my first book by the author, breakout star with MEXICAN GOTHIC, Amazon’s #1 Best Seller in gothic fiction. It’s a new genre for me, a welcome relief from WWII novels ad infinitum. Stunning writing, a mesmerizing love triangle, heartbreak, magic, and more make THE BEAUTIFUL ONES unputdownable. And what about that cover? 5 of 5 Stars Pub Date 11 May 2021 #TheBeautifulOnes #NetGalley Thanks to the author, Macmillan-Tor/Forge, and NetGalley for the ARC. Opinions are mine.
Aristocracy, passion, betrayal, and rear telekinetic powers- The Beautiful Ones is a mix of regency romance and science-fiction. Antonina “Nina” Beaulieu has set her eyes on Hector Auvray, someone who is below her station but shares the same telekinetic powers as herself. Hector has a past with a member of Nina’s family. Hector had once been engaged to her cousin's wife, Valérie, and no one is aware of their former connection. Secrets and ulterior motives create societal scandal in a time where gossip can destroy a young woman’s life.
Evoking the yearning angsty love of a Bronte novel, ‘The Beautiful Ones’ by Silvia Moreno-Garcia had me enthralled from the first page with its lyrical descriptions, sharply defined characters, and a sprinkle of magic for spice. The story winds around and upon itself as each chapter shifts focus to another point of view, from naive Nina to heartsick Hector to venomous Valérie, and I felt all the angst and the yearning and the betrayal, as well as the satisfaction of the resolution and ultimate revenge. This novel is gorgeous, indulgent, and indeed a beautiful one.
This book had me interested from the first page. A beautiful romantic story about new love, old love, moving on, and revenge. It is very much a character-driven and so the pacing feels a little slow. Silvia Moreno-Garcia can write fiction like no other. Having read a SMG fantasy book, a thriller book, a horror book, and now a romance, I can confidently say that SMG is one of my favourite authors. SMG creates a beautiful world in which some people have "The Talent", a telekinetic ability that serves as a backdrop to the romance. More romance than fantasy, fans of historical romances are sure to love The Beautiful Ones as it encompasses the usual known and well-loved tropes of that genre.
**Review to be posted on my blog on 4/12/21** I Liked: *This is the first novel I’ve read from this author, though I have Mexican Gothic on my TBR list and I fell in love with this story as it just pulled me in and didn’t let go. I don’t know what I really expected from it, but I found the writing so engaging, and beautiful. *I became a reader through romance novels so this was everything I want in a romance. I really was swept away and could not put the book down. There is passion, jealousy, betrayal, romance and love. I felt like my heart was being squeezed by the end of the story but in a good way. *I liked how this was an alternate historical fiction story, even though the places resembled high society in England some time in the early 1900’s perhaps, whatever time period where motorcars were being introduced. The characters attended balls, a season of parties, socializing and summer in the countryside. A fun twist is that Nina and Hector both could do telekinesis. In this world of The Beautiful Ones, it’s an extraordinary skill but looked down upon in high society. It makes Nina stand out in unpleasant ways, whereas Hector thrives with the skill being a performer. The two feel less alone when together. *Nina isn’t beautiful like her cousin’s wife Valerie, but she comes from a well known family. Unfortunately she’s too different, she talks when she’s not supposed to and it’s usually about inappropriate things like bugs, plus she can do telekinesis. She’s never made friends easily because she is different but I like how it didn’t stop her from being who she is and enjoying life. And thank goodness for her supportive family who loves her just as she is. *I love how Nina and Hector’s love grow. Their love is not quite a slow burn because Hector has been burning for Valerie, Nina’s cousin-in-law. I liked how the story explored burning passion and love versus something that forms into friendship and grows steadily into love. Random Notes: *Valerie ~ she is hateful but her character was done so well. So well that I hated her. Here was this woman who had the love she always wanted but he was poor. As a woman she had to marry well and she did, breaking the heart of her first love in the process. When he comes back to her, she revels in his obsession with her, they are both obsessed with one another, but whereas Hector believes it’s love, for Valerie, it’s possession. Nina is the innocent miss but Valerie is the hard, calculated woman and I was fascinated with her downward spiral. Final Thoughts: The Beautiful Ones swept me off my romantic feet. I was hoping Nina would get some satisfaction over Hector and Valerie’s games and she does come out triumphant. This story is emotional, tragic, hopeful and everything I want in a romance. I am a new fan of this author and look forward to reading more books from her.
"He might promise her the moon and the stars, and not care for a moment that he couldn't pluck them from heaven." I came across The Beautiful Ones after reading and loving Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. The author herself noted to readers to expect a book “very far from Mexican Gothic.” This book takes place in a different era, the early 20th century, and is about socialites in the fictional Mexican city of Loisail, but it still has the same air of the otherworldliness that Mexican Gothic had. The Beautiful Ones is filled with gauzy dresses, tall ballrooms, and delicate jewelry; oh and telekinesis. The three main characters are Nina, Hector, and Valerie and all of them have their faults. Nina is young and ill suited to the city life and the grand balls that accompany it. Her telekinetic abilities made her an outsider back home, and in the city gossip is even harder to contain. Hector has perfected his telekinetic powers and works as a performer while he carries a flame for his old love Valerie, while courting Nina. Valerie is Nina’s cousin and a strong woman in her own right; but was forced to marry for money and status. The book follows these three characters as they move about in a strict society that dictates both what they can say and what they can do. The story is primarily a love story intertwined with Nina’s coming of age. The Beautiful Ones is character driven, while filled with decadent scenery that transported me right to the streets of Loisail. Moreno-Garcia does not disappoint in creating a love story with a unique twist in a gorgeous world that I wish I could visit. Thank you to Macmillan-Tor/Forge and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.