Reid is a Rock Star!!!!
“The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts.”
― Penny Reid, Beard with Me
If I have learned anything in 2019 it is that I love Penny Reid. I must admit that rereading her Winston Brothers series is one of the best decisions I have made regarding books this year and this along with Dr. Strange Beard is my favorite of the bunch. Who hasn’t been intrigued and fascinated by this couple from the beginning? I know I have been dying to know more about the enigma that is Billy Winston Well, finally, I get all my answers, who Billy and Scarlet are, what shaped them and what the hell happened to Billy Winston and Scarlet St. Claire/Claire McClure that separated them. Why they cannot seem to find their way back to each even though a blind man can see they belong together.
“I knew, with absolute certainty, I’d dream of her and her spirit and her voice for the rest of my life. The belief was soul-deep, in my bones and muscles and skin, but particularly in my heart.”
This story is hard, make no mistake. Penny Reid does not pull any punches with these two and sadness does not even begin to describe what Billy and Scarlet are going through. My heart was DEVASTATED for them. Scarlet’s resilience and spirit, her prickly and yet sweet personality, her courage, strong will, and kindness will break your heart. I cannot begin to express how much she captures me from page one until the very last. The things she has endured to appease her father are horrid and the strength and resilience she portrays are truly breathtaking. I went on an emotional roller coaster with her where I wanted to hug her, save her, hide her and in the end cheer her on. No one does a strong scrappy female lead like Penny Reid.
But there is Billy, her nemesis, that jerk. With his deep-rooted honesty, his protectiveness, his rare smiles he makes her drop all her walls in a week. I loved Billy, how he put everything before his wishes and dreams. How as a sixteen-year-old he was able to be a fierce go-getter to make sure his family and ultimately Scarlet was looked after is an attribute that all boys/men who fall in love should have. There are parts of his journey that will leave your heart in your throat while you are gasping for air.
In true Winston Brothers fashion, Ms. Reid does infuse the book with lighter, funnier moments and Cletus, sweet, wicked, wily and cunning Cletus is the main provider of those which you would not expect anything less from him after so many books I know I do not. However, this is not the fuzzy, warm read that we expect from this series. It is not a typical romance and it does not have a happily ever after although we get the heart-achingly sweet bloom of first love between two strong and honorable characters who have so much more story to tell. It is beautifully packaged as a prequel that will give you an inside look into Billy and Scarlet’s past and puts you firmly in their world where – you cannot help but be in their corner and root for their happily ever after. Think of it as a perfect first date with your dream man and when the next book comes out the relationship will go into full bloom. I am not going to lie I am completely torn to shreds with this one. It breaks your heart and gives you life all in the same breath. I am lucky that the next book is already out and I can sink my teeth into this one as soon as I head to the book store which will be in the first two weeks of 2020.