Cover image for The beautiful
Title:
The beautiful
ISBN:
9781524738174
Physical Description:
425 pages ; 22 cm.
Series:
Summary:
In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans is a safe haven after she's forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent in the middle of the carnival season, Celine is quickly enraptured by the vibrant city, from its music to its fancy soirées and even its danger. She becomes embroiled in the city's glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group's enigmatic leader, Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in Sébastien's own lair--the second dead girl to turn up in recent weeks--Celine battles her attraction to Sébastien and suspicions about his guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret. After a third murder, New Orleans becomes gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose--one who has now set Celine in his sights. As the murderer stalks her, Celine finally takes matters into her own hands, only to find herself caught in the midst of an age-old feud between the darkest creatures of the night, where the price of forbidden love is her life.
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Summary

Summary

Instant New York Times and Indie Bestseller!

New York Times bestselling author Renée Ahdieh returns with a sumptuous, sultry and romantic new series set in 19th century New Orleans where vampires hide in plain sight.

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans is a safe haven after she's forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent in the middle of the carnival season, Celine is quickly enraptured by the vibrant city, from its music to its fancy soirées and even its danger. She becomes embroiled in the city's glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group's enigmatic leader, Sébastien Saint Germain.

When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in Sébastien's own lair--the second dead girl to turn up in recent weeks--Celine battles her attraction to Sébastien and suspicions about his guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

After a third murder, New Orleans becomes gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose--one who has now set Celine in his sights. As the murderer stalks her, Celine finally takes matters into her own hands, only to find herself caught in the midst of an age-old feud between the darkest creatures of the night, where the price of forbidden love is her life.

At once a sultry romance and a decadent, thrilling mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet.


Author Notes

Renée Ahdieh is a graduate of the University of North Carolina and author of The Wrath and the Dawn. She made The IBooks Bestseller List with her title Flame in the Mist.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up--Marceline "Celine" Rousseau flees 1872 France with a dark secret. She finds refuge in a New Orleans convent with other girls her age hoping to find husbands, something Celine isn't sure she wants, until she meets the charming and mysterious Bastien, member of La Cour des Lions. Celine takes readers with her as she pierces Bastien's supernatural world while a killer who has struck fear into the city appears to be stalking her. Detective Michael Grimaldi investigates the killer and withholds details of his own cryptic past with Bastien. Grimaldi is quick to call out Celine's ruses even while admiring her from afar. The large cast showcases the diversity of New Orleans, including Celine who is half Asian, although her father insisted she keep that a secret, while Bastien is part African-American. Ahdieh pays homage to the time period with detailed descriptions of a rich setting. The paranormal elements of the plot struggle as more time is spent being evasive than fleshing out the world with concrete details, making it difficult to understand what's happening at times. The first in a series, this mystery novel shines when it focuses on Celine and her struggle to fit into society while trying to be true to herself. Although Celine has the main point of view, shadowy characters have short chapters throughout the story, including the killer who has dragged her into his tale of vengeance. VERDICT Purchase for libraries where vampire stories have never gone out of fashion.--Rebecca Greer, Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative, FL


Publisher's Weekly Review

Seventeen-year old dressmaker Celine Rousseau fled Paris with a bloody secret, arriving at the Ursuline convent in 1872 New Orleans to begin anew. But after a woman is found dead with her throat torn out and another corpse turns up, Celine's willful spirit and attraction to the enigmatic, striking Sébastien Saint Germain make her the serial killer's focus. Drawn to La Cour des Lions, the New Orleans underworld that Sébastien leads, Celine is fascinated by his glamor and brutality and his circle of uniquely skilled, criminal friends--and unsure whether they're entirely human. As she plots to outwit the killer, biracial Celine (her father is white and her mother is East Asian) contends with her own secret past and her undeniable attraction to danger and power. Ahdieh's New Orleans is lushly atmospheric, permeating this series opener with an undercurrent of violence within a seductive underworld around Mardi Gras. Though the dialogue is flat in places, readers will champion Celine's wit and incredible grit--even surrounded by powerful, supernatural protectors, Celine fights for herself and those she loves. Ending on a spectacular cliffhanger, Ahdieh ensures that fans will clamor for the continuation to this captivating volume. Ages 12--up. Agent: Barbara Poelle, Irene Goodman Literary. (Oct.)


Kirkus Review

Forbidden love is tested by suspicion and murder in this latest addition to YA vampire lore.Celine Rousseau, a French and Asian (mother's exact origins unknown) seamstress, sails from Europe to America in hopes of leaving her shadowy past behind. En route, she bonds with Pippa, a white English migre, and both girls find refuge in an Ursuline convent. Celine's talent as a couturier leads to a commission from Odette, a beautiful member of the opulent-yet-mysterious Cour des Lions, where students of the occult practice their craft unmolested. Before long, Celine is swept up in a world of mystical forces centering around Sbastien Saint Germain, an enigmatic aristocrat to whom she is irresistibly attracted. When a fellow convent member is found murdered, Celine suspects all her acquaintances, including Sbastien. The novel, wading into the waters of forbidden romance between teenage girl and hunky immortal vampire previously navigated by Buffy Summers and Bella Swan, feels less magical than it should despite the lush Victorian-era New Orleans setting. At times the mounting attraction between Bastien and Celine is told rather than shown, which makes the central relationship feel forced rather than organic and passion filled. Ahdieh (Smoke in the Sun, 2018, etc.) brings New Orleans vibrantly to life, particularly when exploring the complicated racial and gender restrictions of high society through main and supporting characters of mixed-race origin.Sure to please fans of the author and of the vampire-romance genre. (Fantasy. 12-adult) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

When Celine arrives in New Orleans fresh from Paris, she's looking for a new start. It's 1872, and options for a woman alone are limited, but Celine, who has dark secrets in her past, is determined to find a way. Celine finds herself falling in love with New Orleans, which, in the middle of carnival season, has a wild, seductive beauty. But the city has its dangers: Celine meets Bastien, a man she is attracted to but resists, who is at the forefront of a mysterious group active in the city's underworld. And a vicious serial killer begins stalking the city one who drains the blood of his victims . . . one who may not be entirely human. Eventually Celine catches his eye, but he doesn't know what's in her past. Ahdieh (Flame in the Mist, 2017) kick-starts the vampire story with a series opener that, while it owes more to Interview with the Vampire than it does to Twilight, is all its own. An action-packed third act and a final reveal will have readers grasping for the sequel. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Vampires never stay dead for long, and best-selling Ahdieh's approach part homage to the classics, part fresh-eyed revitalization will intrigue all but the most committed skeptics.--Maggie Reagan Copyright 2010 Booklist


Excerpts

Excerpts

1st février, 1872 aboard the CGT Aramis Not What It Seemed The Aramis was supposed to arrive at first light, like it did in Celine's dreams.   She would wake beneath a sunlit sky, the brine of the ocean winding through her nose, the city looming bright on the horizon.   Filled with promise. And absolution.   Instead the brass bell on the bow of the Aramis tolled in the twilight hour, the time of day her friend Pippa called "the gloaming." It was--in Celine's mind--a very British thing to say.   She'd begun collecting these phrases not long after she'd met Pippa four weeks ago, when the Aramis had docked for two days in Liverpool. Her favorite so far was "not bloody likely." Celine didn't know why they mattered to her at the time. Perhaps it was because she thought Very British Things would serve her better in America than the Very French Things she was apt to say.   The moment Celine heard the bell clang, she made her way portside, Pippa's light footsteps trailing in her wake. Inky tendrils of darkness fanned out across the sky, a ghostly mist shrouding the Crescent City. The air thickened as the two girls listened to the Aramis sluice through the waters of the Mississippi, drawing closer to New Orleans. Farther from the lives they'd left behind.   Pippa sniffed and rubbed her nose. In that instant, she looked younger than her sixteen years. "For all the stories, it's not as pretty as I thought it would be."   "It's exactly what I thought it would be," Celine said in a reassuring tone.   "Don't lie." Pippa glanced at her sidelong. "It won't make me feel better."   A smile curled up Celine's face. "Maybe I'm lying for me as much as I'm lying for you."   "In any case, lying is a sin."   "So is being obnoxious."   "That's not in the Bible."   "But it should be."   Pippa coughed, trying to mask her amusement. "You're terrible. The sisters at the Ursuline convent won't know what to do with you."   "They'll do the same thing they do with every unmarried girl who disembarks in New Orleans, carrying with her all her worldly possessions: they'll find me a husband." Celine refrained from frowning. This had been her choice. The best of the worst.   "If you strike them as ungodly, they'll match you with the ugliest fool in Christendom. Definitely someone with a bulbous nose and a paunch."   "Better an ugly man than a boring one. And a paunch means he eats well, so . . ." Celine canted her head to one side.   "Really, Celine." Pippa laughed, her Yorkshire accent weaving through the words like fine Chantilly lace. "You're the most incorrigible French girl I've ever met."   Celine smiled at her friend. "I'd wager you haven't met many French girls."   "At least not ones who speak English as well as you do. As if you were born to it."   "My father thought it was important for me to learn." Celine lifted one shoulder, as though this were the whole of it, instead of barely half. At the mention of her father--a staid Frenchman who'd studied linguistics at Oxford--a shadow threatened to descend. A sadness with a weight Celine could not yet bear. She fixed a wry grin on her face.   Pippa crossed her arms as though she were hugging herself. Worry gathered beneath the fringe of blond on her forehead as the two girls continued studying the city in the distance. Every young woman on board had heard the whispered accounts. At sea, the myths they'd shared over cups of gritty, bitter coffee had taken on lives of their own. They'd blended with the stories of the Old World to form richer, darker tales. New Orleans was haunted. Cursed by pirates. Prowled by scalawags. A last refuge for those who believed in magic and mysticism. Why, there was even talk of women possessing as much power and influence as that of any man.   Celine had laughed at this. As she'd dared to hope. Perhaps New Orleans was not what it seemed, at first glance. Fittingly, neither was she.   And if anything could be said about the young travelers aboard the Aramis , it was that the possibility of magic like this--a world like this--had become a vital thing. Especially for those who wished to shed the specter of their pasts. To become something better and brighter.   And especially for those who wanted to escape.   Pippa and Celine watched as they drew closer to the unknown. To their futures.   "I'm frightened," Pippa said softly.   Celine did not respond. Night had seeped through the water, like a dark stain across organza. A scraggly sailor balanced along a wooden beam with all the grace of an aerialist while lighting a lamp on the ship's prow. As if in response, tongues of fire leapt to life across the water, rendering the city in even more ghoulishly green tones.   The bell of the Aramis pealed once more, telling those along the port how far the ship had left to travel. Other passengers made their way from below deck, coming to stand alongside Celine and Pippa, muttering in Portuguese and Spanish, English and French, German and Dutch. Young women who'd taken leaps of faith and left their homelands for new opportunities. Their words melted into a soft cacophony of sound that would--under normal circumstances--soothe Celine.   Not anymore.   Ever since that fateful night amid the silks in the atelier, Celine had longed for comfortable silence. It had been weeks since she'd felt safe in the presence of others. Safe with the riot of her own thoughts. The closest she'd ever come to wading through calmer waters had been in the presence of Pippa.   When the ship drew near enough to dock, Pippa took sudden hold of Celine's wrist, as though to steel herself. Celine gasped. Flinched at the unexpected touch. Like a spray of blood had shot across her face, the salt of it staining her lips.   "Celine?" Pippa asked, her blue eyes wide. "What's wrong?"   Breathing through her nose to steady her pulse, Celine wrapped both hands around Pippa's cold fingers. "I'm frightened, too." Excerpted from The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.