I feel like I read a book twice as long as this was, not because it was heavy or difficult, but because it was so tightly woven. There were layers of meaning, and so much that could be inferred, and for such short pages, many characters get well fleshed out. No line is wasted. There is this... English brevity, I guess, that makes me recall the meandering tone of "Passage to India". Says something about what must characterize each people in Forster's mind, huh?
It is also a quiet way to depict a fast and turbulent romance, which feels weird in a "still waters run deep" kind of way. There is this three-way war going, between mind, heart and manners (or is it pride?, self-image? calcified indecision?), it is evident when you get to the lying chapters, and the weather tends to illustrate it, but before then, before Lucy looses her temper at Miss Bartlet at the beginning of them out of revelatory fright, it's all so sedate. On the outside; Lucy's facing the exterior gets a companion chapter on "The disaster within". She's running from love: it is scary, exiting, something unknown, and unrecognized, and social mores don't help her in disentangling from the muddle.
On the side, we get some awesome darts thrown into time old hypocrisy, such as how emancipated women are perceived or "accepted"; how men think women think about men; people abroad; obligation as it pertains to favors out of honesty (Emerson) or self-serving humbleness (Charlotte); and bunch of stuff I either posted already, or have marked down and can't speedily condense here. In case the main course wasn't enough.
Seriously, this guy had a way with words.
Note: I have to get another copy. Mine was abysmally translated. I turned to a digital version in original English after 20 pages or so. If you read in Spanish, avoid translator Marta Pessarrodona. She's a menace and a beast. Word confusions (she translated kitten instead of kite, for example), wrong conjugations (translated "would have" as present simple), change of punctuation, which changes pace drastically and unnecessarily (specifically, Cecil's entrance is most egregious), change of meaning of whole paragraphs (to the point of reading as the opposite). And it ts only what I caught just searching for the paragraphs I wanted to mark down as memorable while reading the digital copy! Much of this I could not understand of someone supposedly getting paid. It would have been more difficult to invent as she did.
This book is charming and magical and just lovely goodness all (well mostly) in keeping with the story to which it is based. The author captured the love between these characters so well. Beau's ability to see Wolfram in a completely different way than anyone else had before.
Wolfram drew a sharp breath when he came to a drawing of himself.
He almost didn’t believe it, at first. The man on the page looking back at him was smiling— his smile, in fact, was the first thing Wolfram saw: broad and white with full lips, a smile that seemed to take over his face, to be reflected in his eyes and the head held high. Beau had rendered him with a thick jaw, high cheekbones looking noble.
In the sketch, Wolfram looked like a benevolent king, regal and proud.
The difference between what Wolfram saw when he looked in the mirror and what Beau had drawn there was stark. All Wolfram saw of himself were the things that were different, the cruel twist of horns and the frightening teeth.
He makes me look handsome, Wolfram thought.
And while the premise, for the most part, stays true to the Disney classic, it manages to keep you fully engaged and curious as to the outcome.
Beau is absolutely wonderful and so caring and passionate.
And the love that develops between dear Beau and Wolfram is so passionately written. I always love a character who desires another so much that the need to claim them, the need to mark them and possess them is so strong. And this one is captured beautifully.
The others couldn’t see the mark he’d made on the perfect skin, couldn’t smell the way that Wolfram’s scent was all over Beau, claiming him, making it clear who he wanted to be with. They had no idea— and they wouldn’t have any idea until he or Beau told them.
Logically, that was for the best. It meant fewer questions and it would save Beau the embarrassment of being with him out in the open. But the illogical part of him that was half curse, half stubborn pride, was deeply dissatisfied by the fact that none of them knew Beau was his. Wolfram was gripped by an almost irresistible impulse to take him by the hips right where he stood, to lay the length of his body against Beau’s back and make a fresh mark higher on his neck where everyone could see.
And the books...while we all know that dear Belle loves to read, the use of books here was quite different but no less touching.
Wolfram is as charming as ever...I mean who could not love a Beast?
Now this was landing at a 4.5 star read for me due to some dragging around 65% or so. And while I enjoyed the storyline with the Poppa and Gaston characters...I felt these pulled away from what was happening with our leads.
So why then the 4 Stars? Gawd...The Epilogue. Honestly this needs to be scrapped completely. This ending just did not work for me at all!! So unfortunate.
I would still recommend this beauty for sure but damn...maybe skip the epilogue. :(
I need the meh emoticon! There are so many likeable aspects to this book, but the characters just fail to really hook me. They're all so very placid, even when they're supposed to be angry or thrilled with happiness. If the energy of a book could be graphed, this one's would be a flat line.
Saying that, the writing isn't bad; Adams is really good at writing a story if you're not a character driven reader. The editing was crap, but I expect no better from Berkley; they totally screwed up a Native American myth early in this book by using the wrong names at the wrong points of the story.
The North Carolina history she incorporates into the story is by far the most interesting part of the book as a whole. The murder plotting was a cool idea, but the ending was just tragic, making it difficult to find the wrap up satisfying in any way. Generally this would get Adams bonus points (for going off the beaten path of the cozy formula) but I really did not like the ending.
I think this is going to be one of those series I'm going to wish the best to and part company; it's not bad for a cozy series at all, but it's just not a good fit for me.
Total pages: 274