Beard In Mind (Winston Brothers #4) - Penny Reid
My Review - 5 Stars
Do not underestimate Penny Reid. Nothing appears in her novels by accident. NOTHING. If a detail stands out to you, no matter how insignificant it may seem, it’s there for a reason. Maybe you won’t learn why during the course of that novel or even the next. But rest assured, she will circle back to it at some point. Nowhere was this more clear than in Beard In Mind.
When I started the Winston Brothers series last fall, one such detail stood out to me but it didn’t seem like a big deal. I recently reread Truth Or Beard for a Reid Along and that same detail was in my face, along with a few other things but I shrugged because surely if it was important, it would have been addressed in the first three books. Oh me of a little faith! By the second chapter of Beard In Mind, I got a glimpse of where Penny was going to take the story and I nearly gasped out loud. Then I hoped I was wrong. Like really, really wrong. But I wasn’t.
This plot twist was a doozy but it opens up so many new possible directions for this series. We get a glimpse of this by the end of BIM and it did my heart good, no matter how unexpected it was. We call Penny an evil mastermind for a reason but she always has our best interests in mind.
What you see is not all that you get when it comes to Beau Winston. His character was a revelation for me. Sure, he’s charming but he also goes out of his way to help others. He doesn’t even seem to recognize how much he does for everyone or if he does, he underplays the extent of his generosity. He recognizes his role in his family and the town as someone who makes other people laugh and feel good. There are times he wants to push back against this, to be more honest about his own struggles. I could easily fall for a man like Beau.
Beau made me think about the roles we play and how limiting they can be. How much work it can take to be vulnerable when people expect something else from us. As far as being a player, yes, Beau has a way with the ladies but he’s actually been celibate the last several years and his reasons for this made me respect him all the more. It was incredibly refreshing to see a character like this. Beau was simply a good man.
I haven’t been sure what to make of Shelly since we first met her in Neanderthal Seeks Human (Knitting In The City #1.) I sensed there had to be a story behind her prickliness, a reason she found it best to stay away from the people who love her. This is that story. Shelly has OCD and it is crippling. Reid does a wonderful job showing the complexity of mental illness and what it takes to find healing. Through Shelly, we also see the stigma of mental illness and the way people misunderstand- and even joke about- OCD. Shelly grabbed at all my heartstrings. She was such a strong, determined character. So fully herself, no matter what she was dealing with on the inside. I admired her wit and ability to put someone in their place. I was amazed by her talent as a mechanic and as an artist. I felt the ache of her desire to be close to people while battling her fears that bad things would happen to them.
Beau and Shelly don’t get off on the right foot and that’s putting it mildly. And yet they are still drawn to one another. This is a not-quite-enemies turned to lovers kind of book and I loved it. They had great chemistry together but they were also just plain good for one another. Watching Beau learn about Shelly’s OCD and piece together what their life might look like was incredibly endearing. Watching Shelly try to make things work with Beau and face her fears was inspiring.
We get Beau’s perspective through most of the book, with a few chapters from Shelly’s POV. In this case, it made sense for us to not hear as much from Shelly as she focuses on treating her OCD. The scenes with her therapist are incredibly important and well done. It’s also important for us to see how Shelly’s OCD interferes with her life, right down to her conversations.
Throughout the novel, we get to see our beloved Winston family. I love these characters so much! It was great to get little updates on everyone, as well as get glimpses of what might be in store for Roscoe and Billy. (I am dying for Billy's story!) Duane and Jessica finally leave on their trip around the world. Duane and Beau adjusting to the reality of no longer working together and living in the same town was heartbreaking but led to some great moments for my favorite twins.
The characters, the humor, the interesting and zany facts- this had all the hallmarks of why I love Penny Reid novels. I laughed out loud, I was incredibly moved, and I was just plain happy by the time I finished. The epilogue goes down as easily my favorite of all of Reid’s epilogues. She wove in the perfect concept and I had oh so many feels about it. I can’t wait for whatever Reid has in store for us next!
All's fair in love and auto maintenance.
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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Disclosure: I received an ARC from Social Butterfly in exchange for an honest review. Affiliate links included in this post.