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Thursday, December 5, 2019

Book Review: Beard Necessities by Penny Reid

My review of Beard Necessities by Penny Reid - Book 7 of the Winston Brothers series (and the LAST one, sob...).


The Scarlet & Billy story – Second Half

Beard Necessities by Penny Reid is Part 2 of Billy & Scarlet’s twisty path to happiness. I don’t want to make my review 100 pages long, which is hard to do as this Book 7 also COMPLETES the Winston Brothers series. It’s a yay/nay moment to be sure, as you can’t help but become invested in the characters, their world, and their drama. I wanted to note that this book is contemporary/literary fiction, NOT a romance novel. As Penny said, it’s a love story, but if you’re looking for the fluff and fun of a traditional romance novel, this is not it. It IS a stand-alone novel, and can be read as such, although you may get more out of it (and love and understanding of the characters and their quirks if you read the whole series). I don’t enjoy reviews with massive spoilers, so I’m trying to keep details to myself, but still provide a solid (general) overview.

So, yes. This book gives us the end of an era and the culmination of the HEA that Billy & Claire/Scarlet deserve. It was a long, long time in coming. Their path was winding and awkward and a little bit painful at times. It’s true! Yes, Beard with Me was hard. Billy’s second-chance at love put us through the emotional wringer, but it’s definitely worth it in the end. I’ve been reading this series since very near to the beginning (as in, I think Book 2 had just come out when I discovered them), so I’ve been waiting for this for AGES. I admit, I was worried. The end of a series…it’s a challenge, and expectations are high. Talk about buildup!

One of my favorite things about the characters throughout this series is that they feel very real. You’re not looking at an airbrushed, cookie-cutter group of heroes/heroines. These are flawed, varied, devious, distinct, colorful, and deep, and I love them for it. This story, and indeed the conclusion to the entire Winston world is all that I was hoping for/expecting, and more. One thing I particularly enjoyed here was seeing the peeks into the lives of all the Winston siblings. Especially Cletus. Thank science for Cletus!

For this book, we’re taken out of Tennessee and whisked across the Atlantic to Italy. While some of the interactions between Billy and Scarlet were painful - as you’re yelling in your head “YOU GUYS”, the chemistry is incredible and the dialogue and trueness-to-character (yes I made that up) is just what we have come to expect from the brilliant mind of Penny Reid. I was right there with the rest of the clan feeling frustrated and wanting to see these two to get their act together already. I love how the whole group came together to make Billy the priority, after all his years of being the rock for everyone else. You will laugh, but you will also cry. At least I did. Granted, I always cry. But that’s ok! It means the author has done her job and you are FEELING it.

I’m grateful for the gift of the Winston family & the privilege of reading their stories.


BEARD NECESSITIES is a full-length contemporary romantic comedy, and can be read as a stand-alone, but it’s probably best read after books 0.5, 2, 3, 5, and 6 of the Winston Brothers series.

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