The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh

The basics

Title: The Beautiful


Series: The Beautiful #1

- The Beautiful (2019)>/br> - The Damned (2020)

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Goodreads Summary:

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she's forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city's glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group's leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien's guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

Here is a spoiler summary of what happened in The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh to help refresh your memory before you read the sequel.

What happened in The Beautiful?

  • Celine travels from France to New Orleans, meeting a girl called Pippa along the way. They plan to work at a convent.
  • Celine doesn’t feel as though she has any transferrable skills, so she sells handkerchiefs at the market. She worries about not making any sales, but someone called Odette ends up buying the whole batch. Odette would like Celine to make her a dress for the masquerade ball.
  • Celine’s Mother Superior agrees to this, and Celine and Pippa go to a restaurant called Jacques’, as requested by Odette. On their way there, they save someone from being attacked. One of the attackers is a guy called Bastien, who Celine has had her eye on.
  • They reach Jacques’ and head upstairs to find a gambling den. Odette is there, and she admits that everyone there has a bit of magic in them. Odette says she can read the future but reassures Celine that she hasn’t read her future.
  • Batien shows up and there’s a bit of banter.
  • They hear a scream, and it turns out there’s been a murder. It’s Annabelle, another convent girl who was probably sent to spy on Celine.
  • The cops arrive, and Celine worries one of the detectives, Michael, will find out about her past. Celine gets Michael’s attention, but he allows the girls to head home. He plans on questioning them the following day.
  • Bastien sends Arjun along to the convent to represent Celine and Pippa. Celine is annoyed that he has done this without discussing with her first. She also realises that Arjun is basically there to protect Bastien.
  • Odette invites Celine back to Jacques’, and while Celine is there working on Odette’s dress Bastien shows up. Bastien tells Celine she’s making a lovely dress.
  • Bastien has been hanging out with Ash, the mayor’s son. Something goes wrong at a meeting, and so Bastien’s friends end up killing Ash.
  • Odette invites Celine for dinner. They talk about the dress and Bastien’s looks. Bastien overhears and Celine becomes embarrassed. She returns home.
  • On the way, a creature appears and Bastien saves Celine. Bastien takes her to the Mardi Gras parade instead of taking her home and they have a good time. Celine does insist that they can only be friends, though.
  • Pippa and Celine bond a bit.
  • The convent’s gardener is killed. Mother Superior wants to send Celine away because these things have been happening since she arrived. Michael and Odette help Celine find somewhere else to live.
  • Celine plans to stay at an old hotel to try to bait the supernatural killer.
  • Celine also plans to question Bastien because she is sure the Court of Lions are hiding things from her. Bastien refuses to meet with her, so Celine goes to a party to try to confront him.
  • Pippa is also at the party, with a random man. Celine doesn’t want to speak to Pippa in public in case whoever is trying to kill her targets her friend.
  • Celine hides in the gardens and is followed by Bastien. They kiss. Then they find Nigel’s severed head.
  • Celine has to stay at the police station for protection. She meets Detective Michael’s family. She then sneaks out to meet Bastien. Nicodemus is there instead, who warns Celine off Bastien. He offers to grant her anything she asks for if she leave sBastien alone.
  • Celine finishes Odette’s dress and takes it to Jacques’.
  • Celine attends a masquerade ball. Nicodemus asks to dance with her. Celine asks him for an apartment, a shop, and she wants to tell Bastien about the deal.
  • Pippa finds Celine waiting on the balcony for Bastien. Celine is bitten and kidnapped.
  • Bastien notices Celine is missing and sounds the alarm with Odette. He goes to look for Celine himself. He finds Michael, who doesn’t know where Celine could be.
  • Celine has been placed on an altar at Saint Louis Cathedral. It turns out that Nigel is still alive and has abducted her. He plans to use Celine as bait to kill Bastien. Nigel reveals that he’s a vampire.
  • Bastien arrives, and Nigel threatens to kill Celine if Bastien doesn’t give in. Celine attacks Nigel, and Bastien uses this distraction to fight him too. Nigel wounds Bastien and flees.
  • Celine asks Nicodemus to save Bastien by turning him into a vampire. She knows all the Court of Lions members are vampires too. Celine offers to have her memory wiped in exchange for Nicodemus saving Bastien.
  • Celine wakes up confused and next to Michael.
  • It turns out that Nicodemus’ enemy is Bastien’s sister Emily. Emily was turned into a werewolf to save her brother ten years ago. She’s working with Luca, another werewolf and Michael’s cousin.

That’s what happened in The Beautiful! Check out our recap list for more recaps. If you can’t find what you need, you can request a recap from us!

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