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The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh
Young adult

The Beautiful

by Renée Ahdieh

Quick take

Dig into the first of this series. It's a decadent mix of blood, lust, and lore in 19th-century New Orleans. Yum.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Romance


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Series

    First in series

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Murder


Why I love it

Lily Philpott

A new book by Renée Ahdieh is always a cause for celebration, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on her most recent novel, The Beautiful. Her take on late 19th-century New Orleans is sumptuous, and the sights, sounds, and smells of the city leap off the page and drag you into a story packed with romance, magic, and murder.

The Beautiful opens as intrepid young dressmaker—or modiste—Celine Rousseau arrives in New Orleans, trading a dark past in Paris for a sedate life in the Ursuline convent. Only, this peaceful life is immediately turned upside down when she witnesses the grisly murder of a young woman—a crime that appears to implicate the dazzling Court of the Lions and dangerously handsome Sebastien Saint Germain. Celine is a fearless and brilliant young woman, and she soon finds herself embroiled in a vampiric murder inquiry and with the leaders of a criminal underworld.

I'm a sucker for stories that bring the magical parts of a city to life, populating liminal places with vampires and illusionists, so I sank deep into Ahdieh’s descriptions of vibrant, multicultural New Orleans. I’m also a sucker for stories about women with fierce hearts, brilliant minds, and whalebone corsets—so The Beautiful was pretty much a dream come true. This is the book for you if you're looking for an autumnal escape into mystery and romance from a master storyteller.

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In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she's forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city's glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group's leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien's guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights ... and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

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Get an early look from the first pages of The Beautiful.

Member thoughts

All (546)
All (546)
Love (233)
Like (224)
Dislike (89)
568 ratings
  • 41% Love
  • 39% Like
  • 16% Dislike
  • Northport, NY

    I LOVED the development of this love triangle! Throughout the story we got to see the complicated love story of Celine and Bastien. Then after her memories disappear, she’s falling for Micheal! Sweet!

  • Columbia, MO

    Anne Rice meets the Selection. So many supernatural books fall short these days, but this is everything I wanted & more. I can't wait for the next book in the series! Also I need to visit New Orleans.

  • Winona , MN

    Dark and beautiful! I love me a good historical fiction, and the supernatural beings made it even better. The "dark, handsome boy with troubled past" trope is overdone, but it still made me love him!

  • Marlborough, MA

    This book does take its time, it allows the reader to sink into the world and get immersed into that first then allows the reader to peel back the layers of the characters to expose the supernatural

  • New Port Richey, FL

    Sinister danger lying beneath extravagance and beauty has become one of my favorite types of settings. I would love to read this again at French Quarter at WDW. (lol not the real one I go to Disney)

  • Independence , MO

    I thought that this book was interesting and new from what I’m used to reading. I was worried about being another twilight book but it was nothing like that and all in all I enjoyed reading it.

  • Birmingham , AL

    While not as vampire heavy as I was led to believe, i found this book to be a delight in the vein of Anne Rice (which is much preferred to Stephaie Meyer’s undead). Cannot wait for the sequel!

  • Lakewood, OH

    This book was amazing. I loved the fact that vampires were wrote in a vague way because nobody has ever done that and honestly it worked for me. It had great mystery, romance, and characters.

  • Corpus Christi, TX

    I really liked this! The vampires are subtle, but I liked that they weren’t all over the place at once. The only thing I didn’t like was the love triangle that is sure to come in book 2.

  • Lynnwood, WA

    New Orleans is its own character in this book and is what helps to set it apart from others in the genre. It was a quick read with fun characters and I’m excited for the rest of the series!

  • Tamaqua, PA

    This was a fun read! I really appreciated the fact that it took on a darker light to YA vampires than what is usual of this genre. I cant wait for the next book in this series to come out!

  • San Antonio, TX

    I absolutely loved it. It was different trying to read with all the different accents. I usually do this. Idk if it's just me. But if they have a Scottish accent then I read it that way.

  • Shelby Twp, MI

    After being a Twilight fan in high school, I was a bit leery on another series about vampires; however, this decadent read left me savoring every page - I did not want this story to end!

  • Washington, PA

    Give in to the fun of this book. It’s historical romance with paranormal tropes. It is slowly paced, but the atmosphere and diverse, strong-willed characters more than makes up for it.

  • Tuscaloosa, AL

    A perfect gothic mystery. Choosing New Orleans as the setting was amazing. The prose is slow, but it is so worth it as you are taken into this historical city that is being tormented.

  • Dayton, TN

    This book is everything that a vampire story should be. Mystery. Magic. Beauty in the dark. I was absolutely riveted from the first chapter and the sequel can't get here fast enough.

  • Freeport, TX

    An otherworldly tale written in New Orleans in 1872 where friendships arent exactly what they seem. Celine left Paris to start a new life but shes unsure who her true friends are.

  • Denham Springs , LA

    I was not expecting to be grabbed so hrd by this book! I usually stay away from books about LA because its where im from but it was well researched and i loved every second!

  • Asheville, NC

    I literally could not stop thinking about this book and had to finish it. Then I realized there was a second book coming out on my birthday next year and I can’t wait!

  • Kaysville, UT

    This book pleasantly surprised me. I was hooked from the first chapter. I enjoyed the overall story and the ending was a surprise! Can't wait to read more from her.

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