Beard With Me (Penny Reid) is book 5.5 in the Winston Brothers Series and tells the origin story of Billy Winston and Claire McClure, known as Scarlett St. Claire in her youth. Fourteen year old Scarlett is just trying to survive, in a town where her father is head of the notoriously dangerous biker gang, the Iron Wraiths. Billy Winston finds her camping in the woods behind his house, and feels a sudden responsibility for her that he can’t explain. Will Billy’s help be enough to shield Scarlett from the violent tendencies of her father? Or will the pressure of their situation push them apart?
On The Green Write’s Instagram, I have been very vocal about how the Winston Brothers series is my favorite of all time. And I have been just as vocal about Duane Winston being my favorite brother. Each brother’s story is amazing but so far, I’ve found Duane and Jess’s in Truth or Beard to be the one I’ve really connected with. I have thoroughly enjoyed each book in the Winston Brothers series but have been firm in believing that no brothers’ story could top Duane for me. But wow, Billy Winston sure did give him a run for his money in Beard With Me.
This book is without a doubt my favorite in the whole series. I loved that it gave us a look not only into Billy & Scarlett’s origin story, but at the Winston’s as well. We saw a young Roscoe playing with Simone. We experienced Jethro during his time as an Iron Wraith. We met Bethany Winston for the first and only time in the series. It provides such a critical look into the back story of this family as whole, as well as explaining Billy and Scarlett’s beginnings.
Something that I love about Billy and Scarlett’s story is that it’s peppered in throughout the whole series. In every book, there is a hint, a nudge, a mention, of Scarlett and Billy’s past. With all things considered, Billy and Scarlett’s story is the central love story of this family. One of my favorite parts about finally reading Beard With Me was going back and reading all the hints and clues in previous books. (There’s a great Twitter account that highlights Billy and Scarlett’s moments throughout the series.) To be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of Billy when I first started the series, but I believe it was because I didn’t understand his character. But getting this background, and seeing everything that Billy had been struggling with his whole life, it brought so much perspective to who he is as a character.
I won’t gush too much about the series as a whole – because we know I could write endlessly about how much I love Penny Reid and the world she created – but it is definitely a must-read for everyone, no matter what genre you gravitate to. And this last hurrah with Billy and Scarlett’s story seals in Penny Reid’s unbelievable talent!
Currently Reading: Beard Necessities by Penny Reid. I’m a little sad to be so close to finishing this series but I can’t wait to see how Billy and Scarlett’s story plays out in their adult life!