Series: Fairy Tale Retellings #1
Published by Independent Publishing Platform on March 15th 2017
Genres: Adult, Historical Romance, Romance
Reading Challenges: 2017 New To Me Challenge
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.
I decided to read Beauty of the Beast by Rachel L. Demeter because I had just seen the new live-action Beauty and the Beast and couldn’t get enough. I had heard good things about this one. Unfortunately, Beauty of the Beast did not work for me at all.
A few disclaimers before I get started. First, I have been in a major reading funk for the last few months, so keep that in mind when I talk about all the problems I had while reading this one. Second, I have a lot of want to
complain talk about, so there will be some spoilers below. I will try to hide them when I can.
Beauty of the Beast is a historical romance set on the fictional island nation of Demrov in the the early 1800s. When the crown prince of Demrov was an 11-year old boy, his father, mother and baby sister were all murdered during a rebellion. The young prince survived, but was left with severe scars on his face, arms and hands. Jump ahead 25 years, and we meet Isabelle Rose, who is the daughter of blind merchant Bernard Rose. She also tries to talk care of her younger, not so nice, step sisters. Isabelle’s father’s health is failing, and they don’t have much money to help him. So Isabelle agrees to marry Raphael, a nobleman’s son, so he can help her father. But of course, Raphael is a nasty, nasty man. Through some very silly reasons, Isabelle and Bernard end up in a snow storm and stumble across a castle in the woods. Isabelle there meets Adam (the prince), who is a very scarred and grumpy man who eventually (after Isabelle refuses his attempts to not let them in) lets them in out of the storm. And then romance sort of happens.
Like I said, I had so many problems with this. Isabelle was such a passive character that it was often hard to really like her. For example, she goes to Raphael’s home in the evening to ask to borrow a carriage and horse, even though he has been groping her at her home all the time. And then while she’s there Raphael assaults her. And while I know that women never “ask for it” it seemed beyond stupid that she wouldn’t have thought something like that could have happened. And when he starts to assault her – he doesn’t completely rape her, but it is traumatic – she doesn’t seem to really fight him off. It was just hard to understand. Isabelle is passive so many other times in the novel, too. There’s a lot of her just sort of in a haze wandering around the castle or the forest, and it got annoying. There is even this time towards the end when Raphael finds her at the castle and kidnaps her. In the process, Adam’s dog tries to protect her, and Raphael shoots him. Which was horrible! But the whole time, Isabelle just shuts her eyes, because she knows it’s coming. I couldn’t understand why Isabelle didn’t try to do something. I have two dogs, and if someone tried to hurt them, I would be all over that person, even if it met I got hurt in the process.
As for the hero of the novel, Adam, I had problems with him too. Naturally he’s a jerk to Isabelle and Bernard when they show up at his home in the snow storm. I mean, it is a Beauty and the Beast retelling. But then, for some reason Bernard tries to steal of teacup (something totally odd that is never explained!) and Adam gets all pissed and throws Bernard in the the cold, damp dungeon. Bernard is clearly very ill. After some discussion with Isabelle, it’s decided that Isabelle will stay in the castle, and her father will be released in the morning. But Adam decides to make him stay in the dungeon until then. He does bring down blankets, but still. And guess what? Fucking Bernard dies! In the dungeon! His last hours were spent in a fucking dungeon because he maybe tried to put a teacup in his pocket. I’m not kidding. Adam does feel horrible about it (as he should), but I also feel like he should have had some decency to not keep Bernard down there when he was so ill. I will admit to Adam growing on me throughout the story, but I never loved him either.
Besides the peculiar characters, the logistics of the plot never made a ton of sense to me. For example, if there was some rebellion in Demrov, and the royal family was killed (they all believed the whole family was gone) then why didn’t they seize the royal lands? Because Adam is still living free as you please in his family castle. And I can’t understand why. Not to mention that he doesn’t seem to be hurting for money. Like, where is he getting his money? WHERE????? It’s certainly not like he can tax the people, and he doesn’t have a job. Also, Bernard’s reasoning for going to the Marchant’s fair when he is so ill doesn’t make a ton of sense to me.
One thing that drove me absolutely nuts, though, is towards the climax of the novel. When Adam discovers that Isabelle has been kidnapped by Raphael, his reactions are so weird. By this point they are deeply in love. Adam knows what Raphael did to Isabelle, and how frightened she is of him. He discovers that she’s missing when he finds his dog dead on the ground (remember he was shot!). And while I so understand his grief over the loss of his pet, I wouldn’t spend hours digging a hole to bury the dog right then. I would be running off to try to save Isabelle. In fact, he doesn’t leave the castle to try to rescue Isabelle until literally DAYS later! What the hell!? I understand that maybe he needed to prepare a little, but that is crazy! Crazy!
There are a few more smaller things that I didn’t love either. I didn’t care for all the French words thrown into the dialogue. Also the writing wasn’t great, and sometimes I was a little confused about things.
Okay, I’m stopping myself now. Obviously I didn’t care for Beauty of the Beast by Rachel L. Demeter. I know people who loved this book. It just didn’t work for me.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: