There are three things you need to know about Ashley Winston: 1) She has six brothers and they all have beards, 2) She is a reader, and 3) She knows how to knit.
Former beauty queen, Ashley Winston’s preferred coping strategy is escapism. She escaped her Tennessee small town, loathsome father, and six brothers eight years ago. Now she escapes life daily via her Amazon kindle one-click addiction. However, when a family tragedy forces her to return home, Ashley can’t escape the notice of Drew Runous— local Game Warden, reclusive mountain man, bear wrestler, philosopher, and everyone’s favorite guy. Drew’s irksome philosophizing in particular makes Ashley want to run for the skyscrapers, especially since he can’t seem to keep his exasperating opinions— or his soulful poetry, steadfast support, and delightful hands— to himself. Pretty soon the girl who wanted nothing more than the escape of the big city finds she’s lost her heart in small town Tennessee.
3 out of 5 stars
Beauty and the Mustache is the 4th book in the Knitting in the City series and technically the 4th book in the Winston Brothers series, but in actuality, it’s set BEFORE the Winston Brothers series begins. Follow? Yeah, neither did I.
The only Winston sibling without a penis, Ashley, is the focal point of this story. The story takes place BEFORE book 1 of the WB series. Ashley has been trying to get in touch with her mother, and her mother is not responding to her. Instead of calling one of her 6 brothers, she hops on a plane and heads back to Tennessee, and the family she ditched 8 years ago.
Ashley talks to her mother all the time, but has NO CLUE what her brothers have been up to for the past eight years. How is that even possible? I have a sister-in-law I haven’t seen in almost 9 years, but I know what the hell is going on in her life, thanks to other family members who think I care. The fact that she never kept in touch with any of her brothers is totally perplexing, and contradictory to the men we have read in the WB series of books. These men are fiercely loyal, and would never let their sister just waltz out of their lives.
Anyway, Ash goes home and finds her mother is ill. Being a nurse, she decides to be her mother’s full time care giver, and informs her employer in Chicago that she is taking FMLA to help Momma. Her first night home, after 2 hours of sleep, she is awoken by her brothers revving a car engine, and goes out to yell at them. She reaches in the car to give Cletus a “purple nurple”, only to discover the person she just molested isn’t Cletus; it’s Jethro’s boss, Drew.
Here’s where my big problem with this book comes to play. Drew. I didn’t really get/like him. He is a “bearded Viking” according to Ash (yes, bearded; not sure where the title came from). He doesn’t talk much; he writes poetry; Ash thinks he has a thing for her momma; he is the Power of Attorney on behalf of Momma and so on. He was under the impression that Ash was a man. Wrong.
Ash, on the other hand, could barely take care of herself while she was caring for her momma (eating, showering). Her brothers were way too forgiving, in my opinion (except Billy). How do you just abandon your family like that? I don’t have brothers, but I have uncles, and I’ve heard the stories of their childhood. Yes, you were tormented. Get. Over. It. People grow up. My aunt used to tell this embarrassing story about my dad – from when he was 10. One day, I finally told her I never wanted to hear it again. My dad was like 55. Get. Over. It.
One good thing is we get to see our friends from the first three books in the KITC series, especially Sandra and Alex, who Ashley is good friends with. The girls come down to help Ashley and comfort her, and I really enjoyed that aspect of the book.
So, in summary, I had a very hard time with Ashley’s abandonment of her family, her brother’s quick forgiveness, and Drew, and how incredibly hard of a character he was to root for.
I will say I’m way too invested in both series to stop reading now, but overall, this book was a disappointment.