🍂 Happy Halloween, everyone!!! 🍂
I hope you guys have a fantastic night if you happen to celebrate this cool almost-holiday 😄
And what better way to close the Halloween season than with one last spooky review? This time, with vampires!
Or were there vampires? Hmm… Let’s see!
This is a spoiler-free review and all opinions are my own.
In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris.
Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain.
When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien’s guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.
🧛 I was pleasantly surprised by the unexpected diversity in this: how respectfully addressed it was and the role it played in the story. Both protagonists were biracial, as were most of the side characters, not to mention a few LGBT characters – openly, in 1872!
🧛 I loved Pippa! And Odette! Gosh, how I loved them. Both were just such amazing friends and Odette was absolutely hilarious. I also really enjoyed the rest of La Cour des Lions.
🧛 Kudos to the author for providing such an airtight mystery! I really didn’t see that one coming – no matter how many times I tried to guess the murder’s identity, I still came out completely flabberghasted in the end. Well done!
🧛 Unfortunately, I couldn’t connect with Celine. I don’t know what it was about her. Even right now, I still can’t describe her personality or understand why everyone was so enamoured with her. She was too much in her head, which made her repetitive and halted the narrative in weird places.
🧛 I also didn’t buy the romance. I didn’t see what these two saw in each other besides physical attraction and their meager interactions were certainly not enough to give birth to such strong feelings. Not to say I didn’t find myself swooning from time to time, though, because, let’s be honest, Bastien is absolutely dreamy.
🧛 The pace was incredibly slow and nothing much happened in the first half or so. However, it did pick up speed in the last third, throwing everything it had at the reader. I became super engaged very quickly and realised how interesting the story actually was! I’m just sad I didn’t feel like that all the way through.
🧛 New Orleans is a magnificient, magical place and I’d loved to have gotten to know it better. Yet most of the time Celine was too busy with her own thoughts to pay attention to her surroundings!
🧛 Finally, we didn’t get any actual vampires until the very last few chapters, which was quite disappointing. And even then, it was all over way too quickly! I was hoping they’d have a bigger part in the story.
roll in the Hallowmeter….
I have to say, despite everything, I actually found myself enjoying The Beautiful quite a bit after getting through that slow first half.
I didn’t care much for the romance or the protagonist, which was a shame, but the love interest and side characters more than made up for it. There was also a lot of really great details that added absolute magic to the story.
Such a marvelous setting as New Orleans could have been explored further, however. Not to mention the lack of vampires throughout the book upset me greatly.
Nevertheless, the author managed to craft a surprisingly cohesive plot with a great mystery element and tons of suspense to keep the reader interested. This is my first book of hers, and I do want to read more – this had a lot of potential, it just wasn’t completely fulfilled.
I wish the pace had flown better, because it would have completely transformed this story.
Overall, an intriguing book that might appeal to romance fans, especially for those looking for a more old-timey feel. Not so much to vampire fans… Hopefully, the sequel (The Damned) will have a ton of those, and more!