Title: Beauty of the Beast
Author: Rachel L. Demeter
Series: (Fairy Tale Retellings #1)
Pub. Date: March 15th 2017
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Adult, Fairy Tale Retelling, Romance
Experience the world’s most enchanting and timeless love story—retold with a dark and realistic twist.
A BEAST LIVING IN THE SHADOW OF HIS PAST
Reclusive and severely scarred Prince Adam Delacroix has remained hidden inside a secluded, decrepit castle ever since he witnessed his family’s brutal massacre. Cloaked in shadow, with only the lamentations of past ghosts for company, he has abandoned all hope, allowing the world to believe he died on that tragic eve twenty-five years ago.
A BEAUTY IN PURSUIT OF A BETTER FUTURE
Caught in a fierce snowstorm, beautiful and strong-willed Isabelle Rose seeks shelter at a castle—unaware that its beastly and disfigured master is much more than he appears to be. When he imprisons her gravely ill and blind father, she bravely offers herself in his place.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
Stripped of his emotional defenses, Adam’s humanity reawakens as he encounters a kindred soul in Isabelle. Together they will wade through darkness and discover beauty and passion in the most unlikely of places. But when a monster from Isabelle’s former life threatens their new love, Demrov’s forgotten prince must emerge from his shadows and face the world once more…
Perfect for fans of Beauty and the Beast and The Phantom of the Opera, Beauty of the Beast brings a familiar and well-loved fairy tale to life with a rich setting in the kingdom of Demrov and a captivating, Gothic voice.
Beauty of the Beast is the first standalone installment in a series of classic fairy tales reimagined with a dark and realistic twist.
Disclaimer: This is an edgy, historical romance retelling of the classic fairy tale. Due to strong sexual content, profanity, and dark subject matter, including an instance of sexual assault committed by the villain, Beauty of the Beast is not intended for readers under the age of 18.
Beauty of the Beast is a sweet, heartening story about finding beauty in darkness, and in it we follow Isabelle and Adam as they overcome their pasts and their fears. They overcome loss and pain, grief, as they lean on each other, needing that company to keep them sane. They save each other emotionally, and teach each other how to be better, stronger.
There were definitely some sweet moments in the story that showed just how strong of a bond certain characters had. I enjoyed reading about the loyalty and protectiveness that was prominent in this tale, the generosity and friendly nature. I love that Isabelle can see the good in everyone, but can also admit when someone is bad. I also like that while she was not a fan of her step sisters, she still wanted to provide for them while she was away. Adam on the other hand was very forgiving. Through hurt, betrayal, and all the loss he experienced, he still found it in himself to forgive others. This is a very emotional book, so if you don’t feel for the characters, you most likely won’t enjoy it.
(The rest of this is pretty ugly so beware)
Isabelle is compassionate and beautiful, a friend to everyone but jealous girls. Her step sisters bully her and her father, making her life miserable, but she can handle them. What she can’t handle however, is the monster who hurt her. So she and her father run, hoping for a new start. But then a storm hits and they need shelter, bringing them to Adam and his lonely home. Strong willed and refusing to be sent away, Isabelle makes Adam let them in, and while scared, she stands tall and keeps calm. She is respectful, honest, and special in a way that she looks past Adam’s disfigurement and actually sees him. One issue with this however. She says she doesn’t care about his disfigurement (after the initial month or so of having to get used to it), but she constantly calls it a disfigurement, or his scarred side. She focuses in detail on how handsome and smooth his good side is, and how bumpy and scarred/disfigured the other is. So yes she becomes his salvation of sorts, but even she can’t see past his scars at first.
Also, as we know from the synopsis, sexual assault is present, so this is expected. However, Isabelle just stands there and takes it, thinking about how awful it is but she doesn’t fight back. She only speaks up after. I strongly dislike that she just took it, that she was portrayed so weak and incapable that she could do nothing but think about the horribleness of it all. ALSO, she is definitely not the brightest. She constantly puts herself in situations that lead to say sexual assault, even though she does’t have to. Honestly, the assault seems like it’s there just to keep Isabelle and Adam from having sex right way, since that’s all that holds her back.
As for Adam, he may be human, but his isolation and despair due to the loss of his family has left him bitter and resentful. His burns were so severe at that young age that even now, as a fully grown man, he is left marred by the scars of his past so visibly that people tend to run away from him. Hiding within himself, Adam lives a lonely existence with only the constant company of his dog, Stranger. That is, until Isabelle and her father come knocking at his door, begging for shelter in the storm. He begins to emerge as he gets to know her, and we see how kind and caring he really is. He constantly thinks about how she must be feeling, what she needs, and how he can help her. He tries to make things easier on her. Even so, his temper is short and his desires are to be met as he fails to contain himself. At times he yells and looses control, though never has he come to the point of physically hitting her.
Unfortunately, Adam finds Isabelle so gorgeous that he can’t help but desire her, and in a few times where he looses control, he touches her, kisses her, holds her against him even as she attempts to get away. Yes she didn’t really mind, but at the same time her past keeps her from wanting such contact and so she tries to pull away, but he doesn’t let her go so she has to attack and run. Adam claims to respect her, says he is so ugly she would never want him, but then he does things like that. The author says one thing, and Adam does another. Also, what failed to make sense to me was the fact that Adam was isolated from a young age with only a male for a companion. So how does he know about sex, female bodies, prostitutes? If I were him, I would be shy, unsure, and wary about attempting sexual acts because of my lack of knowledge. I would not dream about a naked body and all the things I could do to it, since I never saw one. If you did not know about sex, that desire, would you be so open about wanting someone? Would you not first question it and attempt to understand what that foreign feeling is?
What ruined this entire story for me though was that they SHOT THE DOG. This was a trigger warning of sorts for me, and for it to be done so suddenly, so coldly… It broke my heart and I didn’t want to keep reading after that. But I was almost done, so I sucked it up and powered through. My enjoyment of the story escaped me, however. It made me look at the book in a whole new light, and I didn’t like it. Also, all the characters beautiful, gorgeous, breathtakingly handsome. ALL OF THEM. Except maybe Isabelle’s father. That was another issue, because it seems so unrealistic.
Honestly, if the dog wasn’t shot, the assault didn’t feel like a means of moving the plot along, and Adam wasn’t so sexually driven, this would have been an amazing, lyrical story. I would’ve loved to read about Adam’s struggle to understand just what he’s feeling and why, to realize that Isabelle is the one he loves and wants to be with, that what he feels is not based on wanting sex, but on wanting her by his side because he can’t bare to live without her. The sexual assault would not have felt so offensive to the reader if it was more realistic, as in it affected Isabelle more, that it wasn’t the only reason as to why Isabelle and Adam didn’t have sex right away (either way, they did some stuff that she should not have been okay with after such an assault). And if Stranger wasn’t shot, I personally would have enjoyed the ending a lot more.
Overall, Beauty of the Beast was promising, and it’s foundation is great. The execution however is a bit chunky, and the characters are overly sexual for their situations, making it feel very unrealistic. I do suggest giving it a try if you’re interested, because while this was not for me, that doesn’t mean it isn’t for you.