A PICTURE SAYS A THOUSAND WORDS…
The ton is buzzing about The Beautiful One, a striking figure in a scandalous book of nude sketches. Only two men know the true identity of The Beautiful One, and they are scouring the countryside, determined to find her.
BUT NOT THE MOST IMPORTANT ONES
The unlikely centre of the scandal, Anna Black is forced to flee home as disaster looms. Her tomboy’s heart and impertinent tongue serve her well when she meets the most brooding viscount ever to darken a drawing room. Will Halifax, Viscount Grandville, has his reasons for pushing people away, and when his tempestuous teenaged ward arrives on his doorstep, he presses Anna to take on her care. As Anna begins to melt the Viscount’s frozen heart, she knows the more she loves, the more she has to lose. For although Will cares nothing for what makes Society titter, he has yet to see The Beautiful One.
My main impressions of The Beautiful One are that this new-to-me author impressed me with her easy writing style, that the never-ending Americanisms nearly gave me a migraine (this IS supposed to be England!), that I would definitely read more of her books, and that she did something really special with her female characters.
Firstly, I’ll target that last point. With a bit of a Plain Jane heroine (who is actually the great beauty in the naughty pictures), most authors would have gone down a different route. They would have painted Anna’s gorgeous, sweet and feminine young charge as a cruel and stupid girl. This author did not. They would have done the same with the hero’s beautiful stepmother. This author did not.
One of my most hated things about historical romance is how many authors paint every female character other than the heroine (and the heroines of future books) as stupid and vain and only caring about clothes, whereas the attractive men are all charming geniuses. Emily Greenwood turned this on its head:
…she’d decided that if they needed her to put on flounced gowns and giggle at them to hold their attention, she wanted none of them.
…She’d been a hypocrite, she thought now… because Grandville had a great deal of male beauty, and it was attracting her as surely as the beauty of the pretty ladies in her village had attracted the young gentlemen.
I think an excellent job was done portraying the sixteen year old girl, and I liked that she was not condemned for her naïveté.
But I did have a problem with an aristocratic lady being named Ginger!
The timeframe of this book is too short, I think. In the space of a couple of weeks our couple meets, falls in love, becomes engaged. In this short space of time the hero gets over the death of his first wife. Family dramas involving his brother and stepmother are resolved. Everyone’s opinions of things are totally changed.
I didn’t mind the way the issues were dealt with, but once I started noticing how short the timeframe of the story was, I couldn’t stop noticing it.
And then we come to the Americanisms. Sometimes there was one per sentence. A joke about a “period” – you finish a sentence with a full stop! Snuck and gotten and snuck and gotten and dove for dived and snuck and gotten and calling the first floor the second floor… it was very distracting to read.
However, I did enjoy a lot about this book. And I will definitely look out for the next book in this series.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.