Book Review : Beauty and the Beast
Timeless Fairy Tales #1
By K. M. Shea
Once upon a time Elle made a mistake. A small miscalculation sends her through the roof of an enchanted chateau. Stranded until her broken leg mends, Elle is unwillingly forced to rely on the good will of the sour chateau owner —the cursed Prince Severin.
Prince Severin—the commanding general and staunch supporter of his brother the crown prince—is cursed to look like a beast until a maiden falls in love with him. He has given up all hope of shattering the curse, and has only disdain for Elle.
Unfortunately, the pair can’t seem to avoid each other thanks to the meddling of the chateau’s cursed servants. Eventually Elle’s playful manners and Severin’s hidden gentleness draw the pair together.
But not all love stories can end that easily. After all, Elle is not what she seems, and Severin’s life is placed in danger when hostilities flare between his brother and the monarchs of a neighboring country. When Elle risks everything to save Severin, will he be able to forgive her for her lies? (Courtesy of goodreads.com)
Adult Point of View
I enjoyed Beauty and the Beast significantly more than Sleeping Beauty because it has such a different feeling than the familiar story. I like it when the author keeps me guessing. The main difference in this version of Beauty and the Beast is in the relationships.
Elle has an unexplored relationship with her family, other than the fact that they depend upon her for their financial support. Her father has never met the beast directly, and couldn’t have stolen a rose. Elle is also shrouded in a mysterious and dubious profession, but we don’t know if she is an assassin, a spy from another country or what exactly would have her traipsing across Prince Severin’s roof in the middle of the night. She is also a little prickly, intentionally goads the beast at times and is loving.
The beast, Prince Severin, remains entrenched in the protection of his brother’s kingdom as the head of the military forces. Severin and his half-brother, Prince Lucien the next ruler of Loire, have a close relationship. In fact, Severin gives Lucien balance and is essential to his welfare because he is so practical. Why was Prince Severin cursed? Just because he was the illegitimate son of the King? He is certainly a bit thorny and rough, but he is also loyal in an unparalleled fashion.
Of course the curse extends to Severin’s servants, who are loyal and silent. The servants having to scrawl messages on small chalk tablets had me laughing, especially when females had daintier boards to express their femininity. I can imagine some would not even argue just for the sake of not having to write out their thoughts. I like how a few had their personalities developed for the reader to enjoy.
The enchantress Angelique had a very small cameo in this book, but I liked how she wasn’t central to the plot.
One small gripe I have is that this feels mostly like a fantasy period book, but then the character will say something like “They didn’t off me yet.” To “off” someone seems too much like a modern colloquialism to belong anywhere in this series of books.
Shea had a great plan for this whole story line and now I have to read another to see if it is as fun as this one. These are great clean stories and perfect when convalescing in the winter.
3.5 out of 5 stars
If you enjoyed this fairy tale try Enchantment by Orson Scott Card or any of the fairy tales by Robin McKinley.
This is my favorite of the four I have read so far.