A fresh retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” with an interesting and meaningful plot twist.
Lucie leaves home at her mother’s urging to find a job at the Château Beaumont, where she becomes a chambermaid. Everyone warns her about Master, but when she catches sight of the dashing Jean-Loup Christian Henri LeNoir, Chevalier de Beaumont, she can’t get enough of him. One night she is tasked with lighting his way to bed, and he unceremoniously rapes her in his room. Weeks later Lucie comes across Mère Sophie, a wise woman who helps her take revenge, turning him into a hairy animal. But nothing turns out like she thought it would, and over time Lucie falls in love with Beast. Matters are complicated when a beautiful young woman, Rose, comes to the castle—and when the curse is broken and Jean-Loup returns to his original form. Vividly enchanting descriptions transport the reader to the beautiful surroundings. The rape scene, while not explicit, does not shy away from honest language and strikes home in portraying the shame and victim-blaming that is often experienced by sexual assault survivors. Lucie is a brave and sympathetic heroine who ultimately writes her own happy ending.
For readers who love reimagined fairy tales and strong female characters. (Fiction. 13-adult)