Goodreads: The Belle and the Beard (The Santillian Triplets #3)
Publisher: Vesper Press
Published: 23 April 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Jasper-Anne Cleary’s guide to salvaging your life when you find yourself publicly humiliated, out of work, and unemployable at 35—not to mention newly single:
1. Run away. Seriously, there’s no shame in disappearing. Go to that rustic old cottage your aunt left you. Look out for the colony of bats and the leaky roof. Oh, and the barrel-chested neighbor with shoulders like the broad side of a barn. Definitely look out for him.
2. Stop wallowing and stay busy. It doesn’t matter whether you know how to bake or fix things around the house. Do it anyway. Dust off your southern hospitality and feed that burly, bearded neighbor some pecan pie.
3. Meet new people. Chat up the grumpy man-bear, pretend to be his girlfriend when his mother puts you two on the spot, agree to go as his date to a big family party. Don’t worry—it’s only temporary.
4. Cry it out. Screwing up your life entitles you to wine, broody-moody music, and uninterrupted sobbing.
5. Get over it all by getting under someone. Count on your fake boyfriend to deliver some very real action between the sheets.
6. Move on. The disappearing act, the cottage, the faux beau—none of it can last forever.
Linden Santillian’s guide to surviving the invasion when a hell-in-heels campaign strategist moves in next door:
1. Do not engage. There is no good reason you should chop her wood, haul her boxes, or pick her apples.
2. Do not accept gifts, especially not the homemade ones. Disconnect the doorbell, toss your phone over a bridge, hide in the basement if you must, but do not eat her pie.
3. Do not introduce her to your friends and family. They’ll favor her over you and never let you forget it.
4. Do not intervene when she’s crying on the back porch. Ignore every desire to fix the entire world for her. By no means should you take her into your arms and memorize her peach-sweet curves.
5. Do not take her to bed, even if it’s just to get her out of your system.
6. Do not, under any circumstances, fall in love with her.
⚠️ CONTENT/TRIGGER WARNINGS
Sexism, slut-shaming recounted, alcohol consumption, drug use mentioned, pregnancy & childbirth mentioned, grief & loss depiction, recounted death of an aunt and death of a father from suicide recounted
Note: This review was originally posted to Goodreads in January 2022.
TL;DR: I’ve found my first 5-star Canterbary romance and I enjoyed the hell out of this book! Linden was truly everything! This lumberbear really took it home. I loved seeing Jasper and Linden go from hated neighbours to tentative friends to intense lovers with deniable set-my-Kindle-on-fire chemistry. Their not-so-subtle banter that built up the tension and those STEAMY AF scenes? Please! 🥵 The may be grumpy/sunshine and she might be the chaos to his calm but they are truly perfect together.
Jasper has a lot of baggage that she carries from her childhood growing up in an abusive (mentally, emotionally) house and community and oh, it broke my heart to hear it. I loved her healing journey and the way that Linden helped her accept that she is deserving and that it’s okay to want and need things for herself. There were so many aspects to Jasper’s character and current life journey that reflected my own and it helped me connect with her. She’s got wild energy and is a little chaotic but I loved her sass, biting charm and attitude so much!
In contrast to her southern sunshine charm, Linden is the quiet grumpy guy; he’s not a loner per se but he enjoys his solitude and orderly life. I definitely identified with Linden in that respect! He may have started off hating how Linden disrupted his neat life but he somehow just can’t seem to stay away from her. Listen, I’m an absolute fool for the way Canterbary’s heroes are simps for their heroines and I LOVE the way the H loves on their h. It gets me right up in all my feelings every single time and watching Linden love on Jasper so hard was just… *puppy-eyed/ heart-eyed emojis for days*!
As much as I loved our H/h, I also loved the Santillian family’s role in the story. Diana might be mumzilla but she’s hilarious with her special candies and chaotic charm. I mean, I don’t know if I’d say that IRL but she cracked me up every time she was on the page. I also loved the relationship between the triplets. Linden loves his siblings as much as they love him and it was great to see more of their bond/relationship in this book. Their sibling banter was so good (and totes relatable)! 🤣
Overall, this book is just a really freaking good time. I loved this couple and their banter-filled steamy AF romance. I loved the meddlesome OTT mum and the sibling relationships. I’m sad their story is over but it’s defo become a new favourite!
Have you read The Belle and the Beard or is it on your TBR?