cover image The Beautiful

The Beautiful

Renée Ahdieh. Putnam, $18.99 (448p) ISBN 978-1-5247-3817-4

Seventeen-year old dressmaker Celine Rousseau fled Paris with a bloody secret, arriving at the Ursuline convent in 1872 New Orleans to begin anew. But after a woman is found dead with her throat torn out and another corpse turns up, Celine’s willful spirit and attraction to the enigmatic, striking Sébastien Saint Germain make her the serial killer’s focus. Drawn to La Cour des Lions, the New Orleans underworld that Sébastien leads, Celine is fascinated by his glamor and brutality and his circle of uniquely skilled, criminal friends—and unsure whether they’re entirely human. As she plots to outwit the killer, biracial Celine (her father is white and her mother is East Asian) contends with her own secret past and her undeniable attraction to danger and power. Ahdieh’s New Orleans is lushly atmospheric, permeating this series opener with an undercurrent of violence within a seductive underworld around Mardi Gras. Though the dialogue is flat in places, readers will champion Celine’s wit and incredible grit—even surrounded by powerful, supernatural protectors, Celine fights for herself and those she loves. Ending on a spectacular cliffhanger, Ahdieh ensures that fans will clamor for the continuation to this captivating volume. Ages 12–up. [em]Agent: Barbara Poelle, Irene Goodman Literary. (Oct.) [/em]