Beauty of the Beast: Fairy Tale Retellings, Book One by Rachel L. Demeter


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.
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.
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…

Beauty of the Beast is a magical retelling of the classic tale, Beauty and the Beast. But unlike other versions, there is no fairy magic where the hero is entranced by a sorceress, or where there is a chance the beast may turn into his former handsome self at the end. Adam is tragically physically disfigured and his formerly happy life destroyed. He feels he himself is a beast and shuts himself in his castle from the outside world for two decades.

We are introduced to Isabel who puts her family's well being over her own by becoming engaged to Raphael in exchange for medical care for her ailing father. Raphael is arrogant, wealthy, and very cruel. Raphael causes Isabel great physical pain and heartache yet I felt a twinge of sorrow for him because of his own upbringing. However, as the story progressed it became obvious he wasn't deserving of any sympathy and was too far gone to save.

By the time Isabel comes into Adam's life, he wants no part of the outside world. She finds a way to escape from the obsessive Raphael but ends up as a prisoner in the castle. Then the questions arise for both of them - if whether beautiful people can become beasts, and can beauty be hidden by physical scars.

I enjoyed this version of Beauty and the Beast immensely because it wasn't just a tale about a beautiful girl and a beast of a man, but rather it was about whether people can find beauty on the inside and overlook physical appearances. 

Beauty of the Beast is a classic Gothic love story, and the author does a wonderful job with imagery. Stories like this remind me of why I love this genre so much. A truly captivating and riveting retelling of a beloved tale, and I look forward to the author's version of the next fairy tale.

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+Renee Shelton
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