Beautiful (The Beautiful Series #10)
Gallery Books / October 4, 2016 / $16.00 print, $7.99 digital
It’s clear that Christina Lauren love their lovable players, strangers, bitches, and bastards as much as we do because they’re going out in style. In the last of the best-selling, widely loved and praised Beautiful series—also the final title—workaholic Jensen and down-on-her-luck but adventurous Pippa live across the pond from each other, but have enough mutual friends and family that it seems like fate when they’re brought together as the only non-couple on a couples’ road trip, both needing an escape from lives that have become way too droll to still have so much ahead.
It was a good call having the other players on this boozy, scenic road trip be Will and Hanna—the forever favorites—and Ruby and Niall, the most recent happily ever we get to revisit so soon. In fact, there are a lot of parallels to Ruby and Niall for Pippa and Jensen: jaded, divorced heroes; fun-loving heroines; and a slower burn than some of the more frantic early beginnings for this crowd. It’s almost as though we’ve seen not only the evolution of characters we’ve come to love so much, to feel as ours, but also that of the authors pulling the strings. The emotions are deep, the real-life impact can be felt, and above all, their stories are about two people who come together exactly right.
For Pippa and Jensen, two of their biggest moments are bookended in a first-class cabin across the Atlantic. In true Christina Lauren fashion, their introduction is nothing short of an unexpected, hilarious disaster, but one that definitely leaves an impression. So when they find themselves together shortly after arriving in the States—and that they have friends in common, if not much else—they’re unsure what might come from being in such close quarters for the length of the trip. But there’s also a spark, an interest, a fascination, and that’s often the best jumping off point.
“Contrary to what I said,” he told me, putting the empty bottle back on the table, “I think I like your rambles. You aren’t some crazy lady on the plane anymore.” He lifted his own glass to mine and clinked it gently. “You’re Pippa.”
Jensen and Pippa are a case in point of what happens when the last person we’d ever imagine comes at just the right time. Working their way through wine bottles and sharing rooms at cozy B&Bs leads to an unveiling of where they’ve each been in their lives and where they might want to go. It’s a pivotal time, and the happily in love couples they’re surrounded by encourage it every step of the way. By the time they fall into bed, the world has narrowed to a cocoon of both living in the moment and this gradual breath from all they’ve left behind.
“What is it about you?”
The answer to this seemed obvious: “I eat a lot of cheese.”
Jensen ignored this. “You’re silly, and beautiful, and…”
“A little daft?”
He shook his head, all sincerity. “You're just unexpected.”
“Maybe because you're not looking for anything expected here?”
He looked at me with the question in his eyes, not understanding.
“I mean,” I clarified, “you’re doing what you should be doing and enjoying this.”
Jensen bent to kiss me, pressing his lips to mine, slowly capturing the bottom one and biting it gently. “You’re the perfect holiday girl.”
It’s also a grander, if not fully realized, sense of something bigger for them both just around the bend. There are lots of quotables, universal feelings that speak to anyone needing a life change or longing for something new. The theme here is living life to the fullest—not just an adequately happy life, an effervescent one, brilliant and bright. And Pippa and Jensen are the perfect poster couple. It’s fitting that with the last in this big series, we’re left with a greater lesson: to think big, never settle, and make the life for yourself that you really want. If you're lucky, that includes a lot of laughter and a lot of love.
Learn more about or pre-order a copy of Beautiful by Christina Lauren, available October 4, 2016:
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Tiffany Tyer is a writer and editor who loves reading and analyzing all things romance. She also works as a vocalist, a tutor, and a non-profit ministry assistant, and she loves it that way. Her book reviews can be found at Happy Endings Reviews, a blog she co-founded.