“‘You were gifted with your mother’s strength and gentleness, Isabelle. Both her strength and beauty.
Never abandon those things, ma petite. But greatest of all, you have her heart. Guard it well.’”
Last year, I fell in love with a book called Finding Gabriel by author Rachel Demeter. So when I found Ms. Demeter had written a retelling of my favorite fairytale, Beauty and the Beast, I was over the moon. And Beauty of the Beast is everything I hoped it would be. Now let me just say, this is not your Disney version. This is a mature fairytale; at times it is dark and twisty, and the author gives full disclosure that this story does contain an instance of sexual assault committed by a villain. It is intended for readers 18 and over.
With a Gothic feel, Beauty of the Beast is set in the kingdom of Demrov and tells the haunting story of Adam Delacroix, a man with secrets and a painful past. Scarred and reclusive, Adam has isolated himself in his castle and withdrawn from the world who believes him dead. With only his dog Stranger for company and the occasional visits from his only friend Sébastien, he’s given up on humankind and spends his days in solitude.
“‘If I’m a monster, mademoiselle, it’s because man’s cruelty has made me so.’”
Isabelle Rose is caring for her very ill father, Bernard, while enduring life with her spoiled and manipulative stepsisters. Isabelle is engaged to Vicomte Raphael Dumont and faces an unhappy life with the detestable brute. She has no love in her heart for Raphael, and why would she? He is despicable and cruel. But he is the only hope she has to spare her father a life of poverty and give him a chance to recover from his illness. When Isabelle and her father journey to the Merchants’ Fair in a last attempt to find security and freedom without having to rely on Raphael, they are caught in a harsh winter storm and forced to seek shelter in a dismal, crumbling castle. Adam’s castle.
And what unfolds from there, readers, is for you to discover.
This story, while edgy and dark at times, is also hopeful. The scenes between Adam and Isabelle are poignant, lovely, and very sensual. If I were a blogger that included a heat rating in my reviews, I can assure you this page would be aflame! *fans self* The writing is lyrical and striking. I couldn’t help but be transported to this time period, and the beautiful imagery and world building were divine. I adored the inclusion of the music; it lent somewhat of a Phantom of the Opera twist to this stunning tale.
“‘It was a way to speak when no one was there to listen.’ …
‘I have been listening every night. Even when you don’t play…
I still hear your music… And I feel it.’”
I don’t read many historical romances anymore, but I had no problem sinking into the world this author created. I was hit with a volley of emotions while reading Adam and Isabelle’s story, and I absolutely love this grown-up retelling of my favorite fairytale. I recommend this book for adult fans of Beauty and the Beast, as well as lovers of Gothic and historical romance. I can’t wait to see what Rachel Demeter writes next!
“Love is joy, love is suffering, love is tenderness, love is beautiful. Love is you.”
Thank you to the author for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.