Review: Beast - A Tale of Love and Revenge

by - 9:45 AM

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| ISBN: 978-0763688806 | Pages: 352 |
Publication Date: July 10, 2018 | Source: Library
| Rating: 3 out of 5 stars |

 Filled with magic and fierce emotion, Lisa Jensen's multilayered novel will make you question all you think you know about beauty, beastliness, and happily ever after.

They say Château Beaumont is cursed. But servant-girl Lucie can’t believe such foolishness about handsome Jean-Loup Christian Henri LeNoir, Chevalier de Beaumont, master of the estate. But when the chevalier's cruelty is revealed, Lucie vows to see him suffer. A wisewoman grants her wish, with a spell that transforms Jean-Loup into monstrous-looking Beast, reflecting the monster he is inside. But Beast is nothing like the chevalier. Jean-Loup would never patiently tend his roses; Jean-Loup would never attempt poetry; Jean-Loup would never express remorse for the wrong done to Lucie. Gradually, Lucie realizes that Beast is an entirely different creature from the handsome chevalier, with a heart more human than Jean-Loup’s ever was. Lucie dares to hope that noble Beast has permanently replaced the cruel Jean-Loup — until an innocent beauty arrives at Beast’s château with the power to break the spell. 

This has been the first book in a while that I feel like I've enjoyed reading or that has caught my attention enough for me to finish. September has just been an actual struggle when it comes to being intentional about reading for fun so this was a breakthrough for me. It's a very interesting take from first glance, particularly the idea that our main character is the one who wishes the curse upon the "prince" as opposed to an enchantress. 

As I'm sure you can all figure out, Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge is a retelling of the classic story of Beauty and the Beast. I stumbled across this initially on a post talking about July 2018 releases and was immediately drawn to the story because of its unique spin. We follow Lucie who goes to Château Beaumont in hopes of looking for a job and her involvement in the Beaumont Curse. As the story begins before what we know from the Disney version, it fleshes out the plot in a way that gives the reader more sense of background.

I enjoyed how the story took something familiar and made it new with different themes and twists while incorporating things such as a "talking candlelight" and the Beast's love for roses that root the story with the original. It was interesting to see the Beast portrayed as a gentle creature compared to a raging animal, but I'm not going to lie...the explanation behind the Beast's nature was out of the blue for sure.

The author also parallelled the "Gaston" figure as the Prince rather than introducing another antagonist who fights the Beast for Belle's heart. The reduction of some characters we're all familiar with allowed for more focus to rest on Lucie and the Beast and their development as characters (well...slight development). For Lucie in particular, there's a whole lesson on revenge and forgiveness that is tied with just her character alone which made her the more fleshed out character. In some ways, the development was rather predictable but the ending of it all was still rather heartwarming.
If you thought the original Beauty and Beast story dealt with Stockholm Syndrome then this one takes this to a darker and more sensitive subject. It wasn't until I went on Goodreads after finishing the story that I realized how many people had issues with the romance in the story (I'm trying to be vague but it was just blindingly obvious to me...) I won't make any defenses about the characters to justify what happened, but I'm definitely in the minority who wasn't repulsed by certain outcomes in light of past events. For me at least, this was a fairytale retelling so there are some unrealistic aspects but in light of the recent societal movements, I can see how this can be a trigger warning for individuals.

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