It has been so long since I read The Belles, but reading The Everlasting Rose brought me back into the rich world, and compelling characters.
Camille, her sister Edel, and her guard and new love Remy must race against time to find Princess Charlotte. Sophia’s Imperial forces will stop at nothing to keep the rebels from returning Charlotte to the castle and her rightful place as queen. With the help of an underground resistance movement called The Iron Ladies-a society that rejects beauty treatments entirely-and the backing of alternative newspaper The Spider’s Web, Camille uses her powers, her connections and her cunning to outwit her greatest nemesis, Sophia, and restore peace to Orleans.
(Disclaimer: I received this free book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
It’s been a while since I read The Belles, but I love sequels which make it easy to slip back into the world. Some of them immediately hit the ground running and they don’t slow down, but The Everlasting Rose, even though it happens pretty closely afterwards, still allows you the time to ease back into the book. And what I was struck with almost immediately is how gorgeous Clayton’s writing is.
But in The Everlasting Rose Camille and her sisters have to figure out not only how to save the kingdom, but also what it will look like afterwards. Sophia is obsessed with ultimate power and beauty. Unable to stand anyone who is more beautiful than her and aiming to exert absolute power over the beauty modifications, Sophia is a terrifying force. And so while Camille and her sisters know they have to do something, like find Charlotte, how they can really resist is difficult to figure out. Especially as Sophia’s powers begin to tighten in a vise like grip.
What always keeps me coming back to The Belles and The Everlasting Rose is not only the world building innovation needed to delve into this world, but also the characters. Because of Camille and her sisters, we are able to witness how many other Belles, like Edel, deal with this new world. Under the pressure, who will crack and who will emerge on the other side?
The Everlasting Rose is not only about rebellion, but it’s about seeing a side of the world that was hidden to you. And figuring out exactly what you are willing to sacrifice for the greater good. Faced with The Iron Ladies, a rebellion who are dedicated to eradicating beauty treatments all together, can they join forces or will their identity as Belles be insurmountable?