cover image The Beautiful Ones

The Beautiful Ones

Silvia Moreno-Garcia. St. Martin’s/Dunne, $26.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-09906-8

Moreno-Garcia (Certain Dark Things) fills her fantastic novel of manners with sumptuous language and plausible romantic complications in a setting that appears to be based on 19th-century France and is lightly garnished with minor magic, including the telekinetic abilities of unconventional debutante Antonina “Nina” Beaulieu and performer Hector Auvray. Both of them dwell uncomfortably adjacent to the titular beautiful people, society personages with old money and impeccable pedigrees. Hector is intrigued by country mouse Nina’s unfashionable traits of directness, interest in entomology, and romantic naïveté, as well as her scientific approach to studying psychic abilities—but he is even more interested in her cousin by marriage, Valérie Beaulieu, with whom he was involved years before and whom he still passionately idealizes. Brittle, attractive Valérie enjoys Hector’s renewed presence as he pretends to court Nina; her memories of her youthful romance with him contrast with her indifferent, dutiful relationship with her husband. Readers who enjoyed Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamourist Histories magical Regency series will be particularly enthralled by the genuine emotions evoked in the course of the unsustainable love triangle. Agent: Eddie Schneider, JABberwocky Literary. (Oct.)