⇒ “Everyone in Green Valley, Tennessee knows that the six bearded Winston brothers have been imbued with an unfair share of charm and charisma… and are prone to mischief.” – Penny Reid⇐
A few years ago, I got a free Kindle download of Truth or Beard, Penny Reid’s first Winston Brothers book — a spin-off of her Knitting in the City series. I had every intention of reading the book right away – I was intrigued by the book cover and finding a cute, funny romance is always a bonus with free downloads.
However, as any reader with an overflowing TBR list can tell you, reading that book right away was a long-shot at best.
So here we are, many moons later, and I am just now getting around to experiencing Penny Reid’s Winston boys… er… men. And, man oh man, am I sorry that I waited so long!
If you are already familiar with Jethro, Billy, Cletus, Duane, Beau, Roscoe, and their sister, Ashley, then you are in good company with this large family from small-town Tennessee. And if you’ve never really thought about serving your romance up with an extra large dose of sexy beard and classic literary middle names, then you may end up being as surprised as I am now that this whole brotherhood has now made my Man Crush Monday list:
What makes a good romance for you? Is it all about the characters; how beautiful they are or how hot their chemistry is? Is it all about the circumstances of the story; their meet-cute or how they overcome obstacles? Or is it all about the boom-chicka-wow-wow for you? <wink, wink!>
Whatever it is, I am sure that you’ll find some element of everything you love about reading romance in this series by Penny Reid. The characters are quirky and comical, each in their own way. The story lines are well-thought out and connected, even though each book could be read as a standalone (but why would you want to do that?!?! You wouldn’t, so let’s just forget I ever said anything. Moving on…)
The thing I like best about this series is that it managed to actually make me laugh! Not just an acknowledgement like, “Yes, that was humorous, now on to the next paragraph.” Nope. This was a genuine stop-reading-for-a-moment-because-I-just-lost-my-place-in-the-book-because-I-was-laughing kind of humor (even though I was listening to it on audiobook, the general example still applies.)
Let’s look at each of these books in publishing order…
This is Duane’s story. He’s the serious twin. His brother Beau is the one everyone likes. Everyone, including Jessica James – who has had the hots for Beau Winston since childhood. And she has hated Duane. But, as we all know, there’s a thin line… well, you know.
This eldest Winston brother hasn’t always been on the right side of the law and there used to be a time when he much preferred pushing the limits rather than toeing the line. But those days are behind him now. And he’s not looking for anyone to rock his boat – that is, until Sienna Diaz comes to town.
Fan favorite, Cletus, is easily the brains of the brotherhood. He always has a trick up his sleeve and his personal motto should just be, “I’ll handle it.” (In actuality though, it’s more like, “Hold my sausage.”) So what could be more of a mismatch than Cletus and Jennifer Sylvester, the Banana Cake Queen?
This Winston brother is the one the whole town loves – especially all the ladies! He’s got a ladykiller reputation and the looks to back it up. Beau finds a way to spread his charm around everyone he meets – until he meets Shelly Sullivan.
You know how it is when your ex keeps popping up everywhere? Well, that’s where Roscoe is now. For years Simone Payton has been on his mind, and for those same number of years, Simone has been trying to forget about Roscoe Winston.
Scarlet St. Claire
OK, no, I am not trying to trick you. I know Scarlet isn’t technically one of the Winston brothers, BUT her story is pivotal to perhaps the most anticipated story of the whole lot. Scarlet St. Claire is Claire McClure and she and Billy Winston can’t stand to be in the same room with each other. But why…?
His name is William Shakespeare. Not joking. But nothing about Billy is a joke. He is serious. He doesn’t laugh, doesn’t even smile. He is moody and quiet, and stubborn. And he is heart-wrenchingly in love.
Intrigued? You should be. I am loving getting to know this family and experiencing all of their forays into love. I am starting book #5 now, which I want to read so fast, but then it’ll only put me that much closer to the end of the series and… noooooo! Just noooooo!
What will I do without these beards in my life? Thankfully I won’t have to find out for another 2 books, and then there are the Cletus cozy mystery spin-offs and the Knitting series, and… Penny Reid, you’ve got me hooked!