Title: Beard in Mind
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Winston Brothers #4
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: August 1st 2017
Rating: 4/5 stars ★★★★
“You’ve seen me at my worst and you love me anyway. Give me the same chance. Show me who you are, and trust me to stay even if there are dark parts. But also, trust me to stay because of them.”
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.
4 of 5 stars to Beard in Mind by Penny Reid
I have read a lot of Penny Reid’s novels, all of them quite enjoyable, but short of becoming a favorite until Beard in Mind.
This book has Reid’s strong signature of humor and quirk but more mature in approach. Often, Reid’s books read like a Sophie Kinsella, a lot dramatic with funny quips to balance the craziness but I don’t mind because it’s fiction and it didn’t have to be believable. This time however, I took Beard in Mind seriously and the experience was more gratifying.
The biggest factor to this is the depiction of OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I have seen documentaries about people with this condition. One particular instance I remember was the person minutely coming back to his house to check if he had turned off the lights. It didn’t seen harmful but because he kept obsessing about the lights, he couldn’t do anything else productive. Reading about Shelley’s (the heroine) experiences made me understand the nature of the disorder more especially the reason why they keep obsessing. I appreciate that Reid incorporated this subject to her book and made sure not to half-ass it. I get to see Shelley in therapy, Shelley in her obsessive state and Shelley struggling with simple day to day activities because of OCD. Reid made it clear that it’s part of who she is and it may never go away.
Topic of OCD aside, I love how strong Shelley is. She’s often misunderstood because of her disorder but she has learned to accept that most people are inclined not to like her. She’s lead a lonely life but she’s surviving. She’s honest, direct to the point and has no dramatic bone in her body. She’s extremely talented and uses that for good and noble intentions. She’s at a turning point in her life determinedly overcoming her condition one step at a time.
Beau, the hero, is a Southern gentleman through and through. He’s inherently kind-hearted, exactly the kind of man who wouldn’t judge or give up on Shelley for her disorder alone. He’s attentive of everybody’s needs (maybe except his own), would give the shirt off his back if needed. He’s selfless and add to that, charming and funny, so it’s impossible not to love him.
Funny how I remember reading about Beau and Shelley’s first meeting in Book 3 (Cletus’ book) and not liking Shelley. It’s interesting how that quickly changed after reading the encounter in Shelley and Beau’s POV. It’s cute how the ever loving Beau became ornery towards Shelley and how Shelley thought her “obsessions” about Beau were because of her OCD. These two met and didn’t know what hit them. They have the most enjoyable courting stage out of all Reid’s couples probably because Shelley is so brutally honest and Beau is always caught off guard because of it. It’s a nice change that Beau was the one who kept putting off sleeping with Shelley because he wanted it to be sure and not just a one time thing. It’s so rare to read about heroes like Beau nowadays, another factor that makes this book special.
I have a lot of favorite moments in this book but topping the list would be the Christmas Eve when the Winston Brothers were celebrating with their loved ones. The time to exchange gifts came and Beau had everyone bring the same gift to Shelley. I don’t want to spoil it completely but it was the sweetest and most thoughtful gesture a person could do for someone.
I shall end this glowing review with a passionate proclamation, “I love Shelley and Beau so much!”
***cover art: 3/5 stars.***