ARC REVIEW! - Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge
Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge
By Lisa Jensen
Publication Date: July 10, 2018
Genre: Teen & Young Adult, Historical, Romance, Fairy Tale, Adaptation
Filled with magic and fierce emotion, Lisa Jensen's multilayered novel will make you question all you think you know about beauty, beastliness, and happily ever after.
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.
I've painted pottery, sold movie tickets and books, drawn cartoons, and hand-crafted fabric dolls. Now I get to write full-time; the hours are flexible and there's no dress code. My movie reviews appear on Rotten Tomatoes. My novel, "Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge," comes out in July, 2018, from Candlewick. My historical/fantasy "Alias Hook," was published by Thomas Dunne Books in July, 2014. My historical pirate novel, "The Witch From the Sea," was published in 2001.
Review & Wrap-Up:
If you've been following me for a while, then you know that I am a HUGE Beauty and the Beast fan! So much so that I wish to (one day) name my daughter Belle, and for her to have a bug fluffy dog (who is, naturally, her best friend and protector) and name him Beast. (Yes, life goals are amazing in your 30s, but it's true!) So, tell me a book or movie about my favorite fairy tales is coming out, then you better sing me up, because you know I'm into that!
I have read - and watched - just about every version or Beauty and the Beast there is. Even films in foreign languages, I've more than likely have seen it. And usually I judge them quite harshly because of my love for - what I used to think was the original - the Disney version (I'm a child of the 90s, what can I say?!)
When I began Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge I was rather upset with the author, Lisa Jensen. Jean-Loup (AKA the Beast) was a terrible man! I hated him, and I hated Lisa Jensen for portraying him in the light that she did! I am Beast fan! How could she paint him so ugly?! But as the story progressed, and I really thought about it, Jean-Loup, in his human form, has always been this terrible and spiritually ugly person, that is why in just about every version you read and/or see the witch or sorceress changes him into the Beast. So as understanding dawned on my, I began to warm to the story. YES! I admit, this was when I realized that I did not go into this story with an open mind, which is never good when reviewing it. But I realized my mistake, and corrected it... or I thought I had.
*** SLIGHT SPOILER!! ***
Belle does not make an appearance in this version of Beauty and the Beast. There is a "Beauty," but her name is not Belle. She does not love books the way us 90s kids grew up thinking of Belle, and she does not necessarily fall in love with Beast. It's a bit difficult to explain without really giving away any spoilers, so I won't, but this was the second time while reading that I realized that my mind was still closed off to changes to the "original" story. I am also a Belle fan, if you haven't noticed by my opening review statement. So, again, I had to correct my thoughts and feelings on this, because all books are not a like, that would be boring. Once I finished the book though, I think there really was a Belle - just not named as such - and that she was really comprised of the three main women of the book: Lucie, Rose and Lady Christine, Beast's mother. I would love to know your thoughts on this, so please email me (don't comment, so not to spoil it for others!) on this thought.
*** END SLIGHT SPOILER!! ***
Something that I really enjoyed with this version is Beast himself. Not the Jean-Loup human version, but actual beast. The spin that Lisa Jensen put on this version of him was refreshing. He is the beast of my childhood that I, like Belle, fell in love with, but more. He's sweet, and kind with the eyes of a child and the heart of a true romantic.
Not long after Jean-Loup turns into the Beast, Beast comes across Lucie, and explains his transformation to her:
"Every day, I see things that fill me with wonder: a spiderweb drooping with pearls in the rain; the majestic circling of a hawk in the winter sky. I can hear the sigh of a snowdrift or the bustle of creatures tunneling underground, their tiny claws sifting through the soft dirt. When I water my roses, I can hear the water singing its way down into the earth. And the way the world reeks - the brassy stench of a coming storm, the sweet decay of rotting leaves, sharp, spicy pine. I can track an animal in the wood from leagues away. And when I feed, the smell of blood is maddening and irresistible..."
While I had a hard time letting go of my childhood favorite, I found Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge to be magical and thought provoking. There is a greater lesson to be learned in this version of Beauty and the Beast told from Beast's side of the story (even though it is NOT Beast's telling of the tale.)
"Happily ever after takes hard work, but folk don't like to hear about that.
The heart is a dark wood - dangerous, compelling, and profound. Its pathways can be frightening, but only by plunging into its depths are we fully alive.
The heart revels in its mysteries. Defy them at your peril. Embrace them if you dear. That is where magic begins."
Do I recommend this version? Yes. Definitely! I believe, whether you are a die-hard fan (like myself) or just a dabbler in the Beauty and the Beast world, you'll enjoy the tale, and maybe learn a lesson or two in the process.
From one bookaholic to another, I hope I’ve helped you find your next fix.
Dani's Score out of 5: 📚📚📚📚🔖
(A bookmark:🔖, is a half a stack of books. i.e: 📚📚🔖 = a score of 2.5)
Pair it with: Le Rusé Renard Cabernet Franc
You needn't be sly as a fox to enjoy this savory and luscious red, but it would help if you mean to get a taste while serving it at a dinner party. This appetizing, food-friendly wine will lure your guests into taking sip after sip with its flavors of red currant, plum, dried herbs and graphite, and you might find them monopolizing the bottle if you're not careful. Make sure you manage a glass for yourself, no matter what it takes. Sharing can be overrated.
Pair with braised meats, leg of lamb, and marinated red meats.
Start a conversation: What is your all time favorite character that has been re-written over and over? How does it affect you when reading a different version or point of view of their tale?
Have a book you’d like to suggest or one you’d like me to review? Please feel free to leave your comments down below.