Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Review: Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge by Lisa Jensen

From the Back Cover:

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. 

My Thoughts:

I think I've read at least half a dozen Beauty and the Beast-inspired books in the past year in historical romance, contemporary romance, and young adult. It's one of my favorite types of stories. This one is unique in that it takes place during the original time period in France and features some wonderful twists that turn the story on its head. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

The first difference you'll notice is that this story is narrated by Lucie, a young woman in desperate need of a serving position. Despite the frightening rumors about Chateau Beaumont and its handsome young master, Lucie inquires about work and is grateful to receive a position as a maid. All is well until the master, Jean-Loup, returns to the chateau. At first Lucie can't understand why he has such a reputation. He's breathtakingly handsome, and she finds herself irresistibly drawn to him. But Jean-Loup soon shows his true colors and commits a horrible crime against Lucie, one that leaves her heart hardened, her hopes shattered, and revenge her sole reason for living.

Enter an enchantress who also believes a reckoning is due for Jean-Loup, and you know the rest . . . or do you?

In her author's note, Lisa Jensen says she's always loved Beast more than the prince, and so she set out to give him the happily ever after he deserves. In Jensen's tale, nothing is quite what it seems. Even Beauty--or Rose, as she's called in this tale--has ulterior motives. And Lucie, who could never have imagined what her fervent desire for revenge would set into motion, is consigned to watch it all unfold, shocked to discover her heart is not dead after all, and helpless to prevent Rose from bringing Jean-Loup back.

I was so smitten with Jensen's creative spin on the story that I could not put it down, and I could not wait to see what would happen and who would get their happily ever after. I've seen more than a few readers say they could not get past Jean-Loup's behavior in the beginning to read the rest of the story, but if they had kept reading, they would have seen an entirely different story than the one they imagined. This is a brilliantly creative retelling of the classic tale that held me spellbound from beginning to end.

My Rating:  4 Stars out of 5

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