Note: This ARC was provided by the author via Promo Stars Services in exchange for an honest review.
A wry smile curved her rosebud lips. “The whole world had laid at my feet—or at least its superficialities.” Those beautiful eyes darkened, and she seemed to peer inward. Silently she shook her head and seized his gaze again. Her fingertips clasped either side of his face. Adam’s stare swept over the smattering of freckles across her nose and the long wings of her dark lashes. “I don’t desire the whole world. I don’t care about pretty dresses, glittering jewels, or fancy balls. I’ve never wanted any of that. Just true love. Just you. Just us.”
Classic fairy tales are called classics for a reason. I have my own favorites and I admit that there's a bit of snobbery on my part when I say that I don't often appreciate it when a fairy tale is re-told. The ones given a modern twist to them often just use an element or two of the original story, but turns out to be otherwise completely different, so those get a pass. When I say "re-told", it has more to do with the more Disney-fied stories—you know, the ones where the original may not have the stereotypical happy ending and then Disney swoops in and makes sure almost everyone, save for the villain, lives happily ever after. Think The Little Mermaid (if you've read or heard the original Hans Christian Andersen version, you know how different it was from the Ariel and Eric animated version) and Pocahontas (talk about alternative facts). So, yes, I go into fairy tale retellings, especially those that are set in the same time frame as the original, with a hint of wariness and trepidation. However, if all retellings were as exceptionally awe-inspiring as Rachel L. Demeter's Beauty of the Beast, then I'd welcome them with enthusiasm.
Countless people are familiar with the tale of Beauty and the Beast, whether it be the book or the Disney film—which is undoubtedly among their best, both the animated and the live action versions—so I won't bore you with the details since the author remains faithful to the most important bits of the original story. Demeter is able to give this fairy tale her own voice, giving it her own creative twists while making sure that at its very core, Beauty—twenty-two-year-old Isabelle Rose—and her Beast—thirty-six-year-old Prince Adam Delacroix—overcome the trials and tribulations in order to find love, acceptance, and peace with each other. Demeter's retold fairy tale is hauntingly beautiful, with a poignancy along with purity and passion in her prose that makes me want to read even more from her. Adam and his belle are the heart of this story, but there were a number of supporting characters who sneaked in and embedded themselves, one in particular bringing a tear to my eye by the end. Whether you're a fan of the original story or of masterful storytelling, Beauty of the Beast is a true five-plus-starred modern classic. ♥
Date Read: 15 April 2017
Learn more about Rachel L. Demeter.