Beard With Me’ is the origin story of Billy Winston and Scarlet St. Claire (aka Claire McClure) and is just the beginning of their epic love story.
No one is better at surviving than Scarlet St. Claire and making the best out of circumstances beyond her control is Scarlet’s specialty. In an apocalyptic situation, she’d be the last person on earth, hermitting like a pro, singing along to her CD Walkman, and dancing like no one is watching.
Scarlet is clever, Scarlet is careful, and Scarlet is smart . . . except when it comes to Billy Winston.
No one is better at fighting than Billy Winston and raging against his circumstances—because nothing is beyond his control—is Billy’s specialty. In an apocalyptic situation, he’d be the first person on earth to lead others to safety, overcome catastrophe, or die trying.
Billy is fearless, Billy is disciplined, and Billy is honorable . . . except when it comes to Scarlet St. Claire.
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Review: Winston Brothers 6: Beard With Me
Beard with Me by Penny Reid is the sixth book in her wonderful Winston Brothers series. An emotional roller-coaster backstory of the teenage versions of Billy Winston and Claire McClure or, Scarlet St. Claire as she was known back then. Painful and emotional - This book ripped my heart open for all the things that COULD have been for these two but never were. This had me going back through the previous FIVE Winston books and searching for mentions of Claire and re-reading the interactions with Billy as adults. Definitely a love story but definitely not a romance. I was rocked to my core by the depth of suffering these two went through. Seeing the younger stoic Billy Winston and understanding why he is the way he is. Marveling at the progress Claire has made in her life to not only return to Green Valley after what she suffered at her fathers hands but to thrive and live and be an active member of society. Just... WOW! I was excited and eager for Billy's book, Beard Necessities, before but now, after reading this backstory, I am on tenterhooks waiting for November to roll around. If you are a Penny Reid / Green Valley fan this book is a must read. Enjoy!
This origin story is amazing!
Oh my me, Ms. Reid...this origin story set in the Winston Brothers universe is just everything.
This is story tells us more of the beginnings of the Winston family, it tells the heartbreaking story of Billy Winston and Scarlet St. Claire.
This is not heart and flowers and happily ever afters. This story made me cry and made me appreciate Ms. Reid's writing even more than before. Ms. Reid writes a smart, sad and such a believable world that I can actually picture myself there in Green Valley. I can "see" the forest which poor Scarlet has to live in. Ms. Reid writes so beautifully that you can feel the characters anguish, excitement and struggles like they are your own.
Ms. Reid brings some levity to the story by way of the Winston siblings, especially Cletus! I fell in love even harder with him throughout this story. Now I have read all of the Winston Brothers series up until this point, but trust me if you haven't yet read any of theses stories (And why haven't you?!?) you can definitely start with this story and go forward from there.
I cannot gush enough about Ms. Reid's epic talent at storytelling! She is gonna squeeze your heart hard with this story...it's gonna put your feelings through the wringer in the most phenomenal way.
It will break your heart
I was worried when I heard Penny Reid was writing an origin story for Billy and Claire. Would I be invested in the story since I had an “idea” of what had already happened? Would there be continuity errors that would pull me out of the story? How would the author retrofit this history?
Well my fears were unfounded. Penny Reid has given us a BEAUTIFUL story. It’s heartbreakingly beautiful in all the best ways. And I believe the payoff on the next book will be that much better because we now have more context of Billy and Claire’s history.
I honestly feel like these characters are real people. It hurts my heart a bit to know I can’t actually meet them. And if that makes me a crazypants then so be it.
Thank you Penny for creating such incredibly memorable characters. This book is a triumph!