I received a free digital ARC of Beast: A tale of Love and Revenge by Lisa Jensen in exchange for an honest review. Anyone who knows me, I’m always up to reading a Beauty and the Beast retelling, so here’s my review. 🙂
Warning: As much as I will try not to, this review may contain spoilers.
Release Date: July 10, 2018
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Official Description from Netgalley
“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.”
Warning: There is a rape scene involving the main characters in the beginning of the book.
Lucie, the heroine, was sent away by her mother to obtain a job at the Château Beaumont. She is trained to keep her head low, keep quiet, stay invisible, and do not wander from her assigned chambers. But one day, Lucie catches the eye of the handsome chevalier, Jean-Loup and she is no longer invisible. One night, she forgot to put away an object, and in fear of retribution, she steals the housekeeper’s keys to return the object back in its place. One night, Jean-Loup forces himself onto Lucie, throwing her into a downward spiral that will also lead to Jean-Loup’s downfall.
Thanks to a witch, Lucie was able to view the downfall of Jean-Loup as he turns into a beast. What she wasn’t counting on, was that in her icy rage, she would also be transformed. With her transformation, Lucie was able to watch Jean-Loup rage and despair over his new shape, until one day, she realizes that Jean-Loup was no longer present in the Beast. Beast became his own entity separate from Jean-Loup, with a personality that is a complete 180 from Jean-Loup’s.
And then, what we know as the traditional Beauty and the Beast story begins, but with a twist.
So, I really wanted to like this book. And to be honest, if I could cut out the first 6 chapters, I think the book would be perfect. Maybe add just add brief back story explanation during flashbacks, in order for the reader to understand Lucie better. But, I do think that I would have enjoyed the book better without the beginning.
I really enjoyed the twist on the story, mainly that the Beast is the true face and the “princely” face was the false face. I have read some other reviews where readers despair that Lucie falls in love with her rapist, but in truth, Jean-Loup and Beast are two completely different people. I felt that the author didn’t do an injustice to Lucie, especially considering the time period this story is supposed to take place in.
As with many books I enjoy, Lucie goes from a simpering, naive girl into a strong woman willing to open her heart and mind. I’m sure the therapist I was seeing last year would have something to say about my feelings on this, but I’m not going to look too much into it. 🙂
So, the copy of Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge that I received was an advanced copy that was not completely edited and formatted for public sale (I hope). It was distracting, but I am holding under the assumption that the actual public sale copy will be edited and formatted better. I will not count off on that.
While I enjoyed the different spin on a beloved tale, I felt that the author probably could have done something different with the beginning. It was a little sluggish and hard to read for the first 6 chapters. But once the witch comes into the picture, the story picked up and pulled me in, and I found myself enjoying the story more.
I give Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge 3.5 stars.