Synopsis

New York Times bestselling author Renée Ahdieh returns with a sumptuous, sultry and romantic new series set in 19th century New Orleans where vampires hide in plain sight.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.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

At once a sultry romance and a thrilling murder mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet: The Beautiful.

 

 

 

Review

 5 “need the sequel now” stars

 

“Don’t fall in love with me,” she warned again, her words breathless. “You’re not good for me. And I’m not good for you.”

This will begin with a bunch of spontaneous thoughts and reactions.
Just bear with me as I have to get it out of my chest before forming proper sentences and a semi organized review.

– Damn that ending!!! I need the second book!

-I never guessed who the killer was. Renée you totally took me by surprise and I so love it!

-that writing Mon Dieu! Just perfect for that era and that story!

-either Renée you know your French, either someone checked everything (maybe your friend Alwyn?) but I didn’t find any mistake! C’est franchement rafraîchissant et tellement rare. That’s honestly so refreshing and unusual!

-Bastien is the perfect devil and roguish gentleman who is not a gentleman and I want him to have his way!

– I am team Céline! Atta girl that’s the way to go and scandalize all these matrons!

Now that I have managed to get my feelings under control let’s try to give you a review worthy of that story!

I think the tagline used in the synopsis is a perfect choice: “At once a sultry romance and a thrilling murder mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet: The Beautiful”

Renée’s writing is once more exquisite. Totally different from the Wrath and the Dawn and perfect to make us live and feel that particular era in history!
From the first sentence you will see New Orleans around 1870, when that buoyant city was cleaved between proper and corseted young ladies abiding by strict etiquette and daring exotic beauties masquerading as nymphs clothed in translucent veils. You will encounter  severe nuns, strict matrons, meek young ladies as well as defiant young women choosing to wear men’s clothes and proclaiming their lust for women.

From balls to appalling murders, from handsome detective to rakish rebel heir, from convent to places of debauchery you will experience New Orleans contrasted faces, understanding why Céline fell in love with that city like none other.

Céline Rousseau hides a dangerous secret and chose to flee France for New Orleans in the hope of a new beginning. She is determined to atone for her sins and behave like a proper young lady, always walking the line and respecting the rules. So far she has played many roles, what society expected from her : “The diligent worker. The obedient daughter. The pious young woman. Someone who floated with the current, rather than making her own waves.”

Yet Céline is too spirited and determined to be a lamb. Despite her best resolutions Celine is no lamb but rather a lion!

When she is faced with a serial killer who seems to fixate on her she will not wait for New Orleans best detective Michael Grimaldi to catch the killer but she will take matter in her own hands.

Céline is a conflicted young woman. She knows what is expected of her and of women at that time but rebels as the idea to just follow a designated husband’s will. She is independent, sharp, quick-witted and courageous. Selfless she won’t hesitate to risk her life if it can spare her loved ones.

“You wanted to know who I really am.” She bit her lower lip. “I’m a girl who’d rather experience life than watch it pass by from my window.”

 

In her path to find the truth she will duel with Sebastien Saint Germain, prince among La Cour des Lions. Feared by everyone, hated by detective Grimaldi he will admire Céline’s courage and her wits.

 

Bastien is “A ruthless fiend who could slay an armed dragoon and attend Mass the next morning.”

He is also very much a mystery and I tried to guess what he was all along, what part he played in this story. There was no denying that Bastien and his Cour des Lions were something else. But what?

And what was their link with the murderer?

 

All along the story their attraction is obvious but their relationship very complicated.

The tension is mounting with every new dead body discovered creating a constant feeling of impending doom. I was constantly wondering what secret everyone was hiding, what were these people’s back stories, who killed these people and if Céline and Bastien had a future together.

I never saw that ending coming and it leaves us on a blank page and many possibilities for the sequel!

 

Clearly Renée Adhieh wrote another hypnotic tale and I need more!

 

All my thanks to Hodder & Stoughton who made my day by granting this copy via Netgalley! It had no influence on this willing and as always, honest review.

 

Have you read Renée’s other books? Or this one for all that matter?

Thanks for reading!

Sophie

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24 Comments

  1. I am a huge vampire fan which you might know from how much I love Twilight! So I think I am going to enjoy the vampires in this one. I also really like books which have to do with France and set there. The characters sound amazing and I have liked Ahdieh’s other books. So I want to read this one soon!!

  2. Wow, this sounds fantastic! I am a bit concerned about how much French is included since I know exactly none. I might me running to Google for translations every other page. LOL

  3. I’m sooo jealous! I’ve been waiting for this on NetGalley and never saw it. Did a search, and it still doesn’t show up. I’ve also entered every Goodreads giveaway possible. And after your review, I want to read it even more, Sophie.

    1. Well Kim I could not believe they agreed to send the book because I am turned down more often than not as an international blogger! I can’t wait for your review!