Penny Reid

Review: Beard Necessities by Penny Reid


Title: Beard Necessities (Winston Brothers #7)
Author: Penny Reid
Publication Date: 4 Nov 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Humor, Romance

Author's links: Website • Twitter • Facebook • Goodreads

My rating: 3.5 Stars


Billy Winston’s family is going to see him happy and in love if it’s the last thing they do.

No one deserves a happily-ever-after quite as much as the second oldest Winston brother and his lady love, Claire McClure (aka Scarlet St. Claire). Cruelty and circumstance tore them apart almost twenty years ago. Secrecy and bitterness kept them separated.

But you know who's tired of their separation and stubbornness? Everyone. Especially Billy Winston’s family. And now they're going to do something about it.

Well-meaning interference means the star-crossed lovers can’t stop tripping over each other in the hills of Tuscany, the catacombs of Rome, and the waterways of Venice. Billy and Claire find themselves thrown together and at the mercy of the Winston siblings’ shenanigans.

But will their forced proximity bring them together? Or push them even further apart?

This second-chance romance brings back the entire Winston gang, playing cupid in one last story of love, hi-jinks, and family collusion.


This is the conclusion of a beloved series and I was eager to read it but I ended with mixed feelings about it. There was some happiness but also sadness, some things worked great for me, others were annoying and I found them to be too much. It's how I feel about the series overall, some books have been amazing, other - just OK. It's been quite a rider and I mostly remain with fond memories of the Winston family and their partners in life.

I think these series all over should be approached with a specific mindset - it's a series of romances set in a small town in Tennessee, these are all het stories with some ethnically diverse characters, an MC gang, hillbilly shenanigans and their uniting motif is finding love and how the right person for you is not always the one you expect it to be.

Billy and Scarlet’s story is the most dramatic by far. The prequel with them falling in love for the first time as teenagers and being separated because of some horrific events in their lives - was heart-breaking and very emotionally intense, setting the stage of their eventual coming together years later.

I liked the idea of his family helping them get together but felt it was overdone, too much contrived encounters, too much pressure, not enough free will of Billy and Scarlet talking things through, and they did have a lot of things to discuss, to confess, to accept and move on in their live.

I had some issues with the plot, which at this point of my reading Penny Reid’s books, I’d say is a recurring feature in her romances - a weak plot, lots of forced elements just there to further the plot - eavesdropping on other people’s conversation (a plot device, I hate), too many secrets that are bound to come to light. I didn't like how Billy and Claire kept going back and forth in their relationship, they were acting like teenagers a lot of the time and the lack of communication was the main source of the conflict between them.

I appreciate that their past was told in retrospect and we didn't witness first-hand the abuse she suffered, the struggles they both had through with their own desires and conscience.

I was bothered with the way her dead husband was painted as the villain (he very much was one and we saw the beginning of that in the previous book). I absolutely understand how abusive and terrible he had been to her but still didn’t like that him being already dead, we couldn't see his point, it was just too convenient to show Billy as the awesome guy he was, a complete opposite of him.

In the end, the story has the loveliest epilogue where we see all the families together. I loved seeing how they all managed to rebuild their lives after the horrific events in their childhood and teen years.

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