Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Finding Beauty in the Beast - Jessilyn Stewart Peaslee

Summary: Princess Rose's fiery temper has kept every potential suitor away...until now. After being spurned and humiliated for the last time, the princes forces every eligible man to present a gift to her under pain of death. The man who brings her the best gift will be chosen as her husband.

When Corbin presents his gift, he hopes that his simple offering will keep him safely overlooked. All he wants is to return to his quiet life as a blacksmith away from forbidding castles and beastly princesses. But love works in mysterious ways, and it all starts with a rose...
 (Summary and image from goodreads.com. I was provided a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.)

Review: I don't know anyone who didn't love Disney's Beauty and the Beast growing up. The story is so wonderful and timeless, the music is awesome, the heroine is strong and resilient, there's just a touch of angst ... it's just wonderful. Definitely one of my favorite Disney Classics. But, what if the Beauty and the Beast were one and the same?

Jeassilyn Peaslee is taking us back to the world she's created in Ella in order to follow Corbin the blacksmith and his journey. Upon realizing that his intended is more in love with the idea of marrying a prince than with him, he flees to a new town to create a new life for himself. With all the hubbub of the move and the realization that he's moved into the kingdom of "the Beast" (who Ella), he is abruptly informed that he has a few minutes to choose a gift for the Princess, as she has decided she'll marry a commoner to snub the Prince who cut off their engagement for one.

The story is fairly predictable. The Princess is horrible to everyone and everything, she takes little to no interest in the state of her kingdom, she refuses to get to know Corbin, because she's never been taught to grow or move forward from a childhood tragedy. Corbin is sullen, withdrawn, and grumpy as he tries to find a new identity as husband to the Princess and the future King. There are a few other side stories, but nothing earth-shatteringly out of left field. 

Despite the predictability of the story, I really loved this book. It was so sweet. The characters were real to me -- they had flaws and failures, they grew and they had purpose. The story, while definitely light reading, was exactly what my brain needed during the stress of starting a new and scary job. Additionally, the lighter fare of the storyline allowed me to develop a better connection with the characters, because I wasn't so consumed with trying to figure out a convoluted storyline. 

I really enjoy this series, and hope this isn't the last one in it. I want to visit these characters again. I want to see their growth, get to know their children, and see how they stay connected.  Again, if you're looking for a good series to direct a teenage girl to, this is a good one. These are the qualities I'd like my daughter to grow into.

Rating:  Four stars


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