If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all. - Oscar Wilde
We shouldn't teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. - B. F. Skinner
No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting. - Mary Wortley Montagu

Monday, March 27, 2017

Review: Beauty of the Beast by Rachel L. Demeter / @RachelLDemeter

Series & Title: Fairy Tale Retellings, Book 1: Beauty of the Beast
Author: Rachel L. Demeter
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Newsletter
Publisher: Rachel L. Demeter
Release Date: March 15, 2017
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
ARC Received From & Reviewed For: Rachel L. Demeter

Experience the world’s most enchanting and timeless love story—retold with a dark and realistic twist.

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…

Perfect for fans of Beauty and the Beast and The Phantom of the Opera, Beauty of the Beast brings a familiar and well-loved fairy tale to life with a rich setting in the kingdom of Demrov and a captivating, Gothic voice.


If I could sum up this beautiful and haunting retelling of Beauty and the Beast, it would be with "wow".

Adam is the haunted of this story, self-imprisoned in his home, living with horrific memories of long ago and ghosts of those who have gone before him. His scars are inside and out. At times, he reminded me of a child because, in those moments, he was. With little to no interaction aside from his lone servant and dog, he has no idea how to be with someone like Isabelle. The anger and bitterness that he's lived with for so long dissipate slowly as he and Isabelle come to know one another. The man that emerges is so uncertain yet so hopeful in her presence. With her, he wants more than what he's lived with these past years. He wants to live once again.

Isabelle is the beautiful, not just because she is indeed physically beautiful but because her beauty resonates from the inside. Her spirit, her soul, her heart. She embodies what Adam has not felt or experienced since childhood. But she's no wilting flower. She meets him toe-to-toe, urges him to the edges of his comfort zone then pushes him past them. The realization of who he is, a prince, loses its significance as she discovers the man beneath the scars. His rough mannerisms and general awkwardness around her brought some bite-my-lip-I'm-not-trying-to-laugh moments for me, but I loved that they melted into smiles as I watched his confidence grow.

Their love is slow developing, and I'm happy it was. There were so many hurdles to overcome as they danced around one another. If their love had been instant, those difficulties wouldn't have had as much significance as they did. Because it wasn't just Adam learning from this new experience. Isabelle learned much as well.

Fairy tale retellings such as this one can be such a crapshot for me. Sometimes they're amazing, sucking me into this fantastical world filled with loss, heartache, tragedy, yet lined with hope and love. Sometimes these stories aren't that great, hurried and empty, leaving me with questions rather than a feeling of fulfillment. Ms. Demeter's retelling of a classic fairy tale is the former, and is only the second full-length novel fairy tale retelling I've read that leaves me happy and wanting more.

Will it be hard to follow? I doubt it. Ms. Demeter's storytelling ability is on point. If you've read other stories of hers, you know this is true. Dark, poignant, emotional, but always hopeful. It's that hope that makes her a must-watch author for me. I hope she becomes one for you as well.

Rachel L. Demeter lives in the beautiful hills of Anaheim, California with Teddy, her goofy lowland sheepdog, and her high school sweetheart of fourteen years. She enjoys writing poignant romances that challenge the reader's emotions and explore the redeeming power of love.

Imagining dynamic worlds and characters has been Rachel's passion for longer than she can remember. Before learning how to read or write, she would dictate stories while her mother would record them for her. She holds a special affinity for the tortured hero and unconventional romances. Whether crafting the protagonist or antagonist, she ensures every character is given a soul.

Rachel endeavors to defy conventions by blending elements of romance, suspense, and horror. Some themes her stories never stray too far from: forbidden romance, soul mates, the power of love to redeem, mend all wounds, and triumph over darkness.

Her dream is to move readers and leave an emotional impact through her words.

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