Review: Beauty and the Mustache - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

There are three things you need to know about Ashley Winston: 1) She has six brothers and they all have beards, 2) She is a reader, and 3) She knows how to knit.

Former beauty queen, Ashley Winston’s preferred coping strategy is escapism. She escaped her Tennessee small town, loathsome father, and six brothers eight years ago. Now she escapes life daily via her Amazon kindle one-click addiction. However, when a family tragedy forces her to return home, Ashley can’t escape the notice of Drew Runous— local Game Warden, bear wrestler, philosopher, and everyone’s favorite guy. Drew’s irksome philosophizing in particular makes Ashley want to run for the skyscrapers, especially since he can’t seem to keep his exasperating opinions— or his soulful poetry, steadfast support, and delightful hands— to himself. Pretty soon the girl who wanted nothing more than the escape of the big city finds she’s lost her heart in small town Tennessee.


Winston Brothers

Book 1

Can be read as a standalone

Book Type:

Romantic Comedy

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Beauty And The Mustache
By Penny Reid

Review: Beauty and the Mustache

What an unexpected, wonderful book. I didn’t know what I’d experience, but I was immediately in love with the author’s style and our main character’s voice. It’s an absolute distinctive gem and as soon as I finished, I wanted to devour it all over again. It’s funny, quirky, heartfelt, sexy, inspiring, deep and so smart.  Each character, whether it be our protagonists or the bevy of supporting characters, was solidly developed and captivating. I want books for every person featured. And the romance… it unfurled in a way that seduced my heart and brain alike with a poetry-slinging mountain man that stole my heart completely. I’m not kidding when I say that this man, this Viking-like ranger, with his brooding, quiet sensibility and words that cut through to the soul, was exactly the kind of man I’ll publicly swoon for. I was torn between writing every single quote in the book to hiding everything for you to experience. Each word uttered just felt full of intent and consequence. And Ashley, she was smart, funny, girly and tomboy all in one. Her thoughts and reactions were real and relatable, but the things she spouted made me laugh out loud. I just loved it all. This is a story about past and present colliding, about love and loss, about family and future.

With six “hillbilly” brothers left behind in her Tennessee small town, Ashley “Ash” Winston exchanged her chaotic, never-a-dull moment life for a new one in Chicago. Surrounded by amazing friends, her knitting group and a career as a pediatric intensive care nurse, she was content despite her bad luck with men. But when her mother failed to call her for several days, missing their daily appointed phone conversations, she rushed back into a past she’d buried for the past eight years, storming into a room full of boys after being woken up at an ungodly hour the night she arrived. Little did she imagine she’d run into a 6-foot-plus solid gorgeous mountain man with a beard.

“He was fiction-handsome. Like, romance novel handsome… He was the bodice ripper, Scottish highlander or Viking conqueror, historical romance kind; an unshaven, lion wrestling, mountain man recluse, toss you over his shoulder and plunder your goodies kind of handsome. He was both scary and swoon. I wanted to braid his beard. I also wanted to run away.”

Drew Runous is a bit of an enigma. He’s clearly attached himself to her family. And from what Ash discovers, to her mother too… her mother, who she finds has checked herself into the hospital. Ash must do whatever is necessary to care for her, but even when trying to focus on her mom, she can’t help but be distracted and flustered every time Drew is around.

“I’ve learned my lesson, I know better than to trust men. I’ll just ignore him.”

There are a lot of questions that surround Drew, but the more Ash gets to know him, the wider the glimpses into who he really is become. She’s transfixed by everything about this man… his good looks, his kindness and even his mystery. He also runs hot and cold and she just isn’t sure what to make of it all.

“I thought he was off-the-charts sexy, with his cooking and reading and brooding and shiftlessness and breathing. Which mean he was a user and an asshole. And how completely troublesome would it be for us to be attracted to each other? It would be epically problematic. The potential for disastrous heartbreak momentous.”

Their coming together is a beautiful thing to witness. They are both such unique, memorable, intelligent people with personality bursting out of every pore. They are multifaceted, deep-thinking individuals and I so loved that. And goodness… every time Drew talks to Ash, in his special, unique, Nietzsche-quoting, poetic ways, I melted into girly goo.

“You are loveliness personified, you are grace and fascination. I think of you and I stop breathing, I worry that any movement will steal the image of you from my mind’s eye. But the memory is a pale, hollow specter to luminous reality.”

During her time in Tennessee, Ash discovers what she’s missed with her mom, with her brothers, with that life she left behind. She finds so many lessons to learn, but along the way, it’s her heart she may lose to a beautiful bearded Viking. But with her time in Tennessee coming to a close, was the possibility of a future even viable? Did he even have any real feelings for her? There were too many questions that challenged their time together.

“I think your words aren’t safe for me to hear. They’re weapons, I thought. As sure as a martial artist’s fists are weapons… Minds can be changed, hearts can be lost and broken, souls can be surrendered given the right words.”

I loved this book for Ash. I loved this book for Drew. I loved this book for each and every Winston brother. For each of her friends. For the story. For the poetry. For the tears and the laughs. It’s a story incredibly written and brought to life by Penny Reid’s distinctive style.  If you’re looking for the kind of romance that gets your pulse racing, your breaths skipping and your heart swooning, pick this book up. You’ll be giggling and smiling along the way too. I can’t recommend this book enough!

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One Comment:

  1. leetobar said:

    That is such an amazing, interesting review. You nailed it!!


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