Monday, April 17, 2017

Audiobook Review: Beauty and the Mustache by Penny Reid

Series:     Knittng in the City #4
Pub. Date:Dec. 1, 2014
Narrator:Joy Nash
Length:11 hrs 52 min

It's not often that you find a book that can make you laugh and cry at the same time, but Penny Reid has succeeded.  I'm reading this series out of order as I wanted to jump into Ashley's story after reading the Winston Brothers series... and it was fantastic! It gave me a new view of the Winston boys and their family dynamic, and made me ugly cry for the loss of their mother.

Ashley Winston is the sole sister of the Winston brood, and she ran from Green Valley, Tennessee as soon as she was able to get away from her six mountain men brothers and make her own way in the world. She has a good life in the big city of Chicago - working as a pediatric nurse and spending time with her supportive group of friends who meet once a week for knitting, wine and gossip. But her mom's terminal illness brings Ashley back home to Tennessee after eight years away... and things are definitely different around the Winston household. I loved Ashley and all her southern self-conciousness. I identified with her and the frustration she felt... particularly regarding her accent. One of the first things I did when I left Tennessee was diminish my southern accent because I got tired of that "uneducated hick" stereotype. At this point in my life, I regret losing the accent even when I still get the hick treatment from some big city lawyer who thinks they know more than me. So I understood where Ashley was coming from. She had me laughing one minute when dealing with her brothers and their manly issues... and crying the next when she was seeing her mom through hospice. 

Drew Runous is a different kind of mountain man... a big burly bearded viking with a poet's soul and a PhD. He has an affinity for philosophy and non-fiction books, and he's fairly anti-social and reserved. He is Jethro's boss as ranger of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and has been accepted into the Winston fold as close as any brother (only he doesn't know there is a female Winston). Ashley and Drew had a hiliarious meet-cute that really set the tone for their relationship. Drew is more than jaded when it comes to women, and he doesn't know how to handle his feelings toward Ashley. One minute he is spouting Nietzsche at her and comparing women to cows, and the next he is bending over backwards to take care of her.

This definitely was not a book about insta-love. Drew and Ash were hilariously at odds most of the time, and sweetly attracted at others. I loved all of their interactions and bantering, and was sorry to see the book end. I have to say that the poet-and-philosophy type is not normally a hero that would work for me... but I loved Drew! Penny really made his character intriguing, and I would have loved to have more of his POV.

Joy Nash is a fabulous narrator. She cracked me up in Truth or Beard, and I think she was just as funny with Beauty and the Mustache. She really delivers that southern girl personality and sass well, and had me cracking up with Penny's one-liners. I found her male affectation to be believable and she varied the voices enough for each character to make them easily distinguishable.

Knitting in the City