Thoughts After Reading:
I've enjoyed every installment of Manda Collins' "Ugly Ducklings" series, and her latest novella - The Perks of Being a Beauty - is no exception. The story's redeems the main antagonist of the series, Miss Amelia Snowe, as she suffers setbacks and reunites with her childhood love.
Miss Amelia, the heroine, use to be the reigning beauty of the ton. She was at the pinnacle of society, flirting coyly with every gentleman and treating every debutante with disdain. But after five seasons without securing a title, the heroine started to despair. And then, when her mother unexpectedly dies, the heroine is left penniless, nearly friendless, and is forced to seek a position as a lady's companion. After months of being treated with her own medicine by her employer - scorn and disdain - the heroine has learned to cool her temper, and has become aware of her shameful actions. She is surprised to meet the hero at a country party, a man who was her childhood love. He had proposed to her, all those years ago. But the heroine's ambition and desire to please her mother led her to decline the proposal, seeking a man with a higher title rather than the younger son of a duke. Events led them to be partnered in the activities at the house party, and they are gradually able to reinstate a version of their old relationship.
The major complaint I have with the book is the same problem that seems to plague every book with an "old flames" theme - romantic development, or lack thereof. The hero and heroine already know each other, and are already pretty much in love. So there's really no new attraction or deepening love that occurs within the novella. Instead, the old friends simply catch up with each other, the hero provides a sympathetic ear, there's a couple short love scenes, and then they tie the knot.
All-in-all, I liked Manda Collins' The Perks of Being a Beauty. It was well-written, handed the transition from antagonist to protagonist nicely, and even managed to throw a few comedic innuendos into the mix. I found it to be somewhat lacking in the romance department, but still - an entertaining novella overall.
*I received a free ARC of this novella.