Series: Knitting in the City #4
on August 24th 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Smart Romance
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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, reclusive mountain man, 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.
Beauty and the Mustache
by Penny Reid
“Roses are red, violets are blue, rhyming is hard. Wine.” – Sandra
Beauty and The Mustache is the book I was looking forward to most and it certainly didn’t disappoint but here’s the thing – if you read books out of order in a series oftentimes you miss out on a lot of details or insider jokes. So when Penny said that you need to have read the previous books in the series to enjoy Marriage of Inconvenience I started catching up via audiobooks. Now I find myself wanting to re-read the books I read previously to see what I’ve missed. Anyway, I digress.
Ashley is on her way home to Tennessee, a home she couldn’t wait to leave eight years ago after graduation. Her mom missed their daily phone calls, something that is so out of character that it worries Ash. Arriving at home she is being welcomed by her six brothers and a stranger, and boy, is that encounter awkward and hilarious. Between paying heed to the bathroom schedule her brothers have set up (as to not run into an awkward scene where one of them gives special attention to their salami) and caring for her terminally ill mother she also needs to get a grip on that pesky attraction she feels for Drew.
“Drew melted my butter. He melted it standing, sitting, crouching, leaning, reading, smiling, hugging, laughing, frowning, writing, changing a light bulb, milking a cow – basically, if it was a verb and he was doing it, my butter was going to be melted.”
Ashley is a strong female lead. Feisty, warm, caring, witty and romantic. And tough because if you grow up with six rambunctious brothers a thick skin is essential for your survival. The pranks they played on her were terrible. It was lovely to see how Ashley got to know them anew, to experience how they doted on her now. Ashley is distrustful of men – a former beauty pageant contender she doesn’t know many men who won’t judge her by looks and her southern accent. And then there is Drew. It was a little heartbreaking that she didn’t see what was right in front of her because of her hangups.
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.
If you’ve read some of the Winston Brothers books by Penny Reid you know how adorable, peculiar, quirky and special they are. To imagine the hell they raised when they were teenagers? It takes a strong mother to turn them into wonderful and good men. I felt for the Winston family when they were faced with the passing of their mother – Bethany was a mother bear with a gentle hand and the wisdom that comes with a life fully lived.
Drew? All the freaking swoons. He is one of those still waters that run deep. He is a poet with unassuming grace, friendly and his soul is as romantic as Ashley’s. I want to gush about his chivalry, his sweetness, his devotion to Ashley but if you think you know Drew when you come to the last chapter of the book wait for the epilogue – his urge to possess, to consume Ashley and be consumed by her…wow. That was a one-up if I’ve seen one. He was a revelation until the end. This epilogue was one of the best I’ve ever read and a glimpse into the beautiful soul of Drew Runous.
Words are clumsy things. Raw, wild, hunger, need, desperation, fascination do not adequately define how I long for her complete capitulation. I want her to weep. I want to quietly tear her apart and lovingly watch her bleed. I crave knowing that I can inspire one tenth of the torment she inspires in me. How can I speak such things out loud?
Do yourself a favor and read the books in order (and in particular – read Knitting in the City before the Winston Brothers). Even if you are tempted to forego reading the earlier books – they will give you so much insight and the experience will be much richer.
Beauty and the Mustache is along with Love Hacked my favorite in this series and I hate rushing through the books instead of savoring them. I’ll definitely re-read both series back-to-back at some point. I adore Penny Reid’s writing, she’s starting to ruin me for all other authors. There is so much beauty in it, especially in this one, not just the poems themselves. The musings, the trains of thought, they are one beautiful piece of art. Thinking about this series coming to an end makes me sad…but to quote a famous quote I found in Beauty and the Mustache:
‘Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.’ – Dr. Seuss
Here are some more of my favorite quotes because this book is full of them.
Her body is slick, yielding softness, sweetness replete. I want to worship, yet need to possess. I suffer because she is forever anticipation, even when I hold her, fill her, taste her, dominate her, consume her. I need her.
With you there are only two distances that matter: Here. Not here. You are not here. – Drew
“When you cried, I learned what helplessness tastes like. Because all I could do was swallow.”