Beau Winston is the nicest, most accommodating guy in the world. Usually.
Handsome as the devil and twice as charismatic, Beau lives a charmed life as everyone’s favorite Winston Brother. But since his twin decided to leave town, and his other brother hired a stunning human-porcupine hybrid as a replacement mechanic for their auto shop, Beau Winston’s charmed life has gone to hell in a handbasket.
Shelly Sullivan is not nice and is never accommodating. Ever.
She mumbles to herself, but won’t respond when asked a question. She glares at everyone, especially babies. She won’t shake hands with or touch another person, but has no problems cuddling with a dog. And her damn parrot speaks only in curse words.
Beau wants her gone. He wants her out of his auto shop, out of Tennessee, and out of his life.
The only problem is, learning why this porcupine wears her coat of spikes opens a Pandora’s box of complexity—exquisite, tempting, heartbreaking complexity—and Beau Winston soon discovers being nice and accommodating might mean missing out on what matters most.
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Shel: I suspect that I will start every Penny Reid review like this:
I LOVED THIS BOOK. Court: YES!
Shel: And how did I love this book? Let me count the ways (with apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning and her original poem found here. ) but not in sonnet form because I'm good, but I'm not that good. I can, however, list 14 reasons that I completely adored this romance. Court: I love that you linked that.
Shel: 1. I love how Shelly rubs Beau the wrong way and he cannot deal but he has to and it's so cute how they exchange glares and looks. You can just tell that when they finally figure things out it's going to be so good because the dislike at the beginning is so strong.
Court: Getting to know these characters right along with them was hilarious. They do have some contentious stuff happening, and it is funny. As we get to know Beau we realize how out of the ordinary this is for him and I love it. "Under his skin" indeed.
Shel: 2. I love that the heroine's name is Shelly. That NEVER HAPPENS. If only she had an extra e in her name. Court: I pretended it did.
Shel: 3. I love that Beau is so much deeper than the cute, charming Winston brother. He reads poetry and art history books! He researches! He cares so deeply for his friends and family ...and honestly, for almost everyone. Court: He really goes out of his way to be what other people need him to be, sometimes to his own detriment. But...I do wish that I knew someone like him because he is the truest of true friend.
Shel: 4. I love that Shelly seeks help, works hard on what her therapist asks her to work on, and is so honest about everything. Her honesty is a thing of beauty--even if it doesn't always make her friends. Court: OMG, some of the things she says to the customers! O_O --- but her outlook and how hard she tries makes her someone I adored and admired early on.
Shel: 5. The refrigerator conversation. It's the perfect analogy for Beau and Shelly's relationship. LOVED IT. Court: I think it helped me work on my refrigerator. I love when characters teach me things about life and myself.
Shel: 6. Shelly and her ginormous heart. It's not evident at first because it's hidden behind a wall of ice and glares but Shelly is such a wonderfully complex character. She's more than a mechanic, an adopter of animals, an artist, a lover of teacups, glare-er extraordinaire, fixer upper of shacks, etc etc. She's so much more than a one dimensional heroine and I absolutely love that Penny Reid made Shelly so self-aware. Court: I get that it took her a while to get there, but I too love when she finally *gets* that she also has a lot to offer people and can really live life fully. I love, love, love it.
Shel: 7. Beau and his ideas on intimacy. What a pleasant surprise. And speaking of intimacy. It was hot in here. *fans self* Court: Yeah, whoa Penny Reid. Warn a girl would ya. ;)
Shel: 8. Back to Beau and how much he cares. I like that Penny Reid makes him the pleaser. That Beau's the one to always put the other characters in the book at ease and he's the one that puts himself last so that those around him have what they need is such an atypical trait in many male romance heroes, that it stood out to me. Court: YES! As many brothers as the boys have it is a wonder any one of them is so good, but they are...all so good. And Beau is the sweetest. Always thinking about all of his siblings, but really his twin. A thing of beauty.
Shel: 9. I absolutely loooooved how much the Winston brothers love to needle Cletus. After reading his novel a few months ago (and knowing a lot of what Beau refers to when it comes to Jenn), I really enjoyed seeing his siblings delight in making him squirm a little. Court: He's quite the stirrer, and just his name makes me smile. He's a funny guy and I unfortunately am the one in my family who gets worked up over stuff so I definitely saw myself in him.
Shel: 10. Duane and Beau are the absolute sweetest. I'm married to a twin and I see how protective they are of each other and Duane and Beau are the same. I loved their dynamic. Court: Twins are so fascinating! I love it! Truest definition of ride or die there is, imo.
Shel: 11. Shelly is a badass driver. *fist bump* YESSS. Court: I think that did solidify her badassery, though how well she works on a car cannot be discounted.
Shel: 12. Seeing the Winston family and friends from another viewpoint. I'm always interested in what characters think about each other, especially when two novels have similar timelines. Court: I'm pretty excited to find out that they do have similar timelines because that is interesting. I need more books in this family in my life. They're KA level long, and that has me so excited I can't stand it!
Shel: 13. The line where a characters says something along the lines of loving someone not despite things but because of them...I don't want to quote it exactly because I don't want to spoil but gahhhh...I love that sentiment. We're all made up of good and bad and light and dark and it's not like you can separate those things out from your personality. Court: NOPE! Even when you're mad, you remember why you love someone and you let it go and forgive them to keep on living life because being without them would be so much worse. That is a beautiful lesson, and I'm glad this book delivers on it.
Shel: 14. The epilogue. I almost got teary eyed. So incredibly sweet. Court: HER BIRD, Shel! We can't forget about his shenanigans...so funny...and I loved how well Penny Reid wrote and handled certain things in this book...don't want to spoil too much but just know that it is beautiful and so well researched and well written. It was enlightening and enthralling and I am so bummed I am just now discovering this world.