Everyone has been talking about this book! Renee’s latest novel is set in the 1870’s, in New Orleans, the city full of secrets, both human and mythical. Setting the scene for a new series, The Beautiful tells of Celine, a young woman fresh off the boat, hoping to find a new start in a new city, where no-one will know what she’s running from. Somewhat ironic, because it seems just about everyone in New Orleans is not what they appear.
A hunter is stalking the citizens of New Orleans, leaving young women with their throats mutilated. The police are baffled but Celine is starting to suspect that this so-called Court of Lions knows something. Part crime thriller, part swooping romance, this was stunningly gorgeous to read but honestly… it took me a while to get into. I don’t like to admit that, because everyone else has spoken so highly of it but I think that lyrical language, while amazing, didn’t suit my style of reading which is typically dipping in and out. Having said that, the ending massively picked up and I read the last 20 or so percent in one evening.
What made it for me was the characters and the setting. New Orleans is a fascinating city and Renee’s style of writing made it seem so magical and mysterious, and the Court of Lions was just as mysterious as the city they inhabited. A group of not-quite-humans have sought refuge in the city and their leader was the charming and handsome Sebastian. Trouble was, he knew it, and pulls Celine into their tangled web, despite everyone’s better judgement.
Although I had some trouble getting into the flow of the writing (which is entirely my fault, not the book’s), it was gripping and thrilling and darkly lyrical, perfectly encapsulating the feel of the magic of the city and all of its enigmatic inhabitants.
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.