We realize our previous book review was about a book that was also written by Penny Reid, but this is our blog and we can do whatever we want. And we want to review another Penny Reid book!!
Book Synopsis: This is a full-length novel, can be read as a standalone, and is the fourth book in the ‘Knitting in the City’ series.
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.
Ginger: Even though this is book 4 in her Knitting in the City series, I agree that this one can be read as a stand-alone without having read the other books in the series, what do you think?
Spank: It absolutely can, but I say that with the caveat that you all should read the first three and a half books (before during or after this one).
Ginger: Absolutely! All of her books need to be read. I just think you can read this one out of order. It will give you minor spoilers as to whom two of the girls in the knitting club end up with, but not enough to spoil their stories.
Spank: Indeed. Threaded throughout this story are characters from her previous novels but done so in a way that if you haven’t read those books you would not feel as if you were out of the loop.
I know I sound like a complete fan-girl when I speak about Penny Reid as an author but I have to say that what she did with this novel was not easy. She took profound tragedy and grounded it with dysfunctional (sometimes hilarious!) family issues and then topped it with romance. Sounds like a disaster, right?
Wrong. Penny knitted the romance into this story in a quality manner. It was slow and steady and by the time Ashley was emotionally ready for it to happen, it was time for it to happen.
Ginger: I couldn’t have said it better myself. (and I see what you did there with “knitted the romance”… haha) This book was a little different from the other ones. It had humor, but it wasn’t as light-hearted as its predecessors.
Should we talk about Ashley’s 6 brothers?
Spank: Yes. The brothers: Jethro, Billy, Cletus, Roscoe, Duane and Beauford (twins, double the fun!). These boys are all that is right with raucous, bearded men! They provided much comedic relief throughout the story.
Ginger: Now you know I’m not usually a fan of bearded men. My stance on beards is that they are an inappropriate use of facial hair.
Spank: As opposed to, say…. eyebrows?
Ginger: Exactly. The only exception is when someone has a ginger beard (as the twins Duane and Beauford do), since it shows they’re in da club. You know, the 2% ginger club.
But… beards are scratchy. They are food catchers. They are… ugh.
Spank: Oh Ginger, Ginger, Ginger. This blog does not have an R rating so I will just look to our readers and whisper, “Am I right?????”
Ginger: Yes, I heard Angelina Jolie say she enjoyed Brad Pitt’s ratty beard he had to grow for that one movie. I don’t know… Mr. G can’t even grow a beard, so I have no experience with it in terms of your secretive whispering.
Spank: Mr. G can’t grow a beard? If I’m being entirely honest I could probably grow a beard — yet another Sicilian Girl Problem. But, I digress…
Ginger: I haven’t always been anti-beard. Years ago I liked the closely trimmed beard George Michael had back when I was in love with him. That was way before we knew he was gay and I realized I would never stand a chance with him.
Spank: That’s not a beard, that’s a shadow!
Ginger: It counts as a beard! I even dressed up as George Michael for Halloween one year.
Spank: This I have to see.
Ginger: The resemblance is uncanny, am I right?
Spank: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! *takes a breath* HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! It’s George Michael’s doppelgänger! I mean… WHAM! BAM! That’s … not a man!
Spank: Actually, this is a perfect segue to Drew Runous because, as someone with a deep affinity for facial hair (outside of eyebrows), I was salivating while reading Ashley’s assessment of Drew:
“He was … an unshaven, lion wrestling, mountain man recluse, toss you over his shoulder and plunder your goodies kind of handsome. He was both scary and swoony. I wanted to braid his beard.“
There is something to be said for a good beard burn…. Just sayin’.
Ginger: OMG, that comment about wanting to braid his beard cracked me up. So yes, it was a little hard for me to fall for Drew initially with his braidable-beard status. But I got there. I just imagined him with a more trim George Michael shadow beard.
Spank: As long as no one is imagining Drew as YOU with a trim George Michael shadow beard we should be fine.
Ginger: NO ONE should imagine me with a George Michael shadow beard.
There is a part of me that wants to say this is my favorite book in the series but then I feel like a parent admitting they have a favorite child, which is wrong to admit (right?), so I will say that while I love ALL of the stories Penny Reid has written, and the characters she has brought to life, this one resonated with me the most. Why? Because life is messy and through these characters we saw the human condition to self-protect while also needing to commune. And how in tragedy, perspective profoundly changes. I don’t want to say I hate happy endings but life is comprised of pain as well. It is what you do with the good and the bad that creates the measure of your life. And in this story there is such authenticity in the development of the relationship between Drew and Ashley. It was beautiful to witness their slow dance that was equal parts cerebral and physical, and the glimmer of joy they shared amidst looming tragedy ultimately finding love in a hopeless place (apologies to our readers for the earworm
Ginger: Wow, Spank. You just sounded all professional. You could write for Cliffs Notes.
Spank: I just wanted to try on the role of “straight man” but no worries good readers, I know I do much better trying on straight jackets.
Ginger: I really loved the brothers. I can relate to being the object of really bad pranks by an older brother, so they really resonated with me, especially with Ashley’s hesitancy to see them as adults now. I loved the chemistry between her and her brothers and found myself wanting to be Ashley, with the Winston boys as my brothers. I loved the protectiveness some of them exhibited toward her in relation to Drew. I loved the boys so much, I flipped out with glee when author Penny Reid decided to do a spin-off series where each brother gets his own book!! (starting with brother Duane in Summer 2015) Awww yeah… she’s starting with one of the gingers!
Spank: Yes! I am starting to think the author’s master plan is to keep this the “We Reid Penny” blog and I’m really okay with that. So, G — you ready to rate Beauty and the Mustache?
Ginger: I am, Spank. I give it 5 clean thumbs up!!
I’m loving the “We Reid Penny”!! How about you, what is your rating of Beauty and the Mustache?
Spank: I am giving it 5 clean thumbs up only because that’s the limit.
Ginger: And that concludes our review of Beauty and the Mustache. Go, right now and get it. Read it as a standalone, or read the previous books in the series. Either way, READ IT!!
Neanderthal Seeks Human: A Smart Romance (Knitting in the City) (Volume 1)
Neanderthal Marries Human: A Smarter Romance (Knitting in the City #1.5)
Friends Without Benefits: An Unrequited Romance (Knitting in the City) (Volume 2)
Love Hacked: A Reluctant Romance (Knitting in the City) (Volume 3)
Beauty and the Mustache: A Philosophical Romance (Knitting in the City Book 4)
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