Monday, February 15, 2016

REVIEW: Beauty and the Beast by Sarah Winter

Book Blurb: As a child, Prince Leopold Villeneuve unleashed his aristocratic cruelty on an old woman by the bank of the River Chaud. On his eighteenth birthday, the old crone returns to find the same ignorant boy in the body of a beautiful young man. In a night shrouded in mystery, his parents King Alaric and Queen Adele died and Leopold himself disappeared. For years, villagers are frozen in fear of a mysterious and terrifying creature that haunts the town at night.

Armand Babineaux, once the wealthiest merchant in the village of Fontainbleu, must secure his daughter Jolie to the unpleasant but enormously wealthy Quentin Garamonde, or condemn her to a life of servitude and poverty. His eldest daughter, Mireille, has already married well, but Jolie will be left all alone in the world if he does nothing to safeguard her future. Once the task is done, he must travel to Port Lucerne to recover his last ship or face the same fate in his old age. On his return trip, he is caught in a winter storm and finds himself far from the beaten path, at the foot of Villeneuve Castle.

Armand seeks shelter in the castle, and once inside, he is forced to confront the reality of what happened to the royal family so many years ago. The next morning, when he picks a beautiful rose for Jolie, he is brought face to face with the creature of local legend and must make a decision that will change all of their lives forever.

My Review: For anybody that knows me well they know that Beauty and the Beast is my favorite story of all time. Compared to any other fandoms I enjoy this one I come back to again and again. Of course it may have something to do with the fact that my favorite movie is Disney's Beauty and the Beast and I fell in love with it the first time I saw it as a child. Of course since then I have read the original tale and I happen to love that one as well. Probably even more so than the Disney version.

I love how this version of the story mixes both the Disney version and the original. Of course there are some changes. For one while she does have the dreams like in the origin story the beast doesn't ask her to marry him each night. The chateau takes care of the remaining servants and the Prince quite well. I believe the reason that the majority of the servants being gone was because they looked down on the Sorceress before she revealed who she was. The idea of killing off the King and Queen because they couldn't change their son was a little extreme but I guess she had to make a point somehow. Of course how can the Prince change when the parents often contradict each other as to how a situation should be treated? It's no wonder Leopold didn't change at all. I did like how she changed Leo's age from 11 to 18 when he was cursed. No offense to Disney but why would a child let a complete stranger into his home? I applaud him for doing what was right. Yeah he could have handled the situation better but again he was a CHILD. With him being older in this story he should have known better.

I also loved how in this tale our resident beauty is not that beautiful at least according to her cruel sister and the narrow sighted village men. She is not the slender beauty that most people write about when describing a heroine. As a bigger girl myself I love when the heroine of the story is not stick thin. Between having to deal with almost no suitors or suitors who just want her family's connections or her now nonexistent dowry she has a lot on her plate. Oh and we are not even going to get into the issue of the resident Gaston in this story. He is her worst suitor of them all. He has laughingly only met her once and already considers her his fiancee. The only reason he wants her is because of her family's wealth and the fact that he doesn't want to be sent to Jamaica to work at the family plantation. At least I believe it was Jamaica. I don't want to spoil the book so I won't say anymore.

If you enjoy Beauty and the Beast this new story as old as time will leave you positively enchanted and begging for more. And I want more.

Rating:  stars out of 5

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