In this remake of this classic tale there is no magic, no curse, not even a singing tea cup. Belle aka Isabelle is a support your family, make sacrifices and do the best you can kind of beauty. The beast is Prince Adam is a horribly scared man emotionally and physically, his best friend is a dog named Stranger who he rescued. Sebastian, is still a servant of sort to his family, more of a friend. Belles’ tormentor is a wicked abusive man with money, power and wants to own her in the worst way. The characters are complex, the relationship is earned, in a slow painful process that I completely enjoyed.
Isabelle runs from her tormentor and home after a horrific series of events and sexual abuse at his hands. Her plan to take her blind, ill father and find a new life for them is thwarted when the weather turns and they are forced to seek shelter at a dank, depressed castle behind rusted gates. When the door opens and she is greeted by a huge man in a dark cloak and a growling giant dog she nearly turns back toward the sure death of the storm. Forcing this dark giant to let them in drawing on her determination to improve their situation she begins a series of events that had me up all night reading while my household slept.
The beast, Adam, lives in his past. He is a living nightmare, swimming with the ghost of his past day and night. Living alone in a decrepit castle with his dog and family relics. He feeds his unhappiness and sorrow with solitude and bitterness. When this woman and her father crash into his solitude he does not adjust easily and become the gentle host. He overreacts to a simple event that will cut a deep wound in Belles heart. He has little to no experience with other people, he is like a lost child acting out. He stole my heart.
Oh Ms. Demeter created a repulsive character in Raphael, Belles tormentor. Deplorable actions and words, a complete piece of rot. I couldn’t have hated him more, so what does she do ? She gives him a background that almost had me feeling sorry for the vermin. That was a tricky little twist of the knife. I was feeling a tug not he old heart strings until he pulled the trigger and killed… well I’m not telling you who. He wasn’t her only wicked man. A most trusted man broke the heart of his friend.
I can’t wait to read more from this author. She twisted me around her finger with her wonderful story telling. The words were beautifully pulled together and created an adult version that does justice to the classic.