I don’t even know how I came across this book, but it was available for loan on Amazon Prime so I had saved a sample in my kindle. I decided to give it a try and it did not take long to realize I had come across a gem! I am always excited to find new authors that I love.
This is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast (obviously), but it goes beyond the original story. Admittedly I have not read the original (although it too has a place on my kindle), but like all good girls I have seen the Disney version many times.
The cursed prince in this version is actually an illegitimate son of the king. There is a legitimate prince as well, but these two appear to be very good friends. In this version, the cursed prince gets into this predicament for apparently no good reason. I think perhaps this is my only complaint. It is mentioned numerous times that a witch cursed the prince to live as a beast in both mind and body through no fault of his own, then an enchantress comes along and is able to lessen the curse by making him a beast in body only and finding a way to break the curse.
So the main character (besides Prince Severin) is Elle. We meet her right as she is falling through the glass ceiling of the prince’s chosen exile. He doesn’t want her there but his servants are determined to nurse her back to health and endeavor to push the two together.
The twist comes in that Elle is keeping a secret about who she really is. There are many hints, but also red herrings, so although the book excerpt warns that the prince may not be able to forgive her betrayal, the reader must decide how far this betrayal goes. I had it mostly figured out, but the author had me second guessing myself until the end.
When I finished I could not wait to get my hands on the next book in this series which is a retelling of the German fairytale The Six Swans. I was disappointed to see that readers did not like it as much as the first book because it appears the ending is done in a way that does not provide the reader with a clear “happily ever after”, but instead lets the reader choose. I was also hesitant to read it because I have read a fantastic version of this fairytale by Juliet Marillier called Daughter of the Forest (which I would highly recommend). However it looks like I could read the third book without problems. I am going to explore more by this author that is new to me.