This book is a retelling of the classical “Beauty and the Beast”, but it has left the disney label behind in the attic with the barbie dolls. Meaning I would rate this book as New Adult (or 18+, if you can handle brutal subjects) and is not appropriate for young readers.
They say Château Beaumont is cursed. But servant-girl Lucie can’t believe such foolishness about handsome Jean-Loup Christian Henri LeNoir, Chevalier de Beaumont, master of the estate. But when the chevalier’s cruelty is revealed, Lucie vows to see him suffer. A wisewoman grants her wish, with a spell that transforms Jean-Loup into monstrous-looking Beast, reflecting the monster he is inside. (Goodreads synopsis)
Warning! Spoilers ahed!
Lucie is infatuated with Jean-Loup based on nothing else than his good looks and general image, even though other servants tells her to be wary of him and not to draw his attention. She half ignores this, keeping her distance as a good maid but feels that they are wrong about him. Jean-Loup proves himself to be complete scum when he rapes her then pats himself on the back for “saving her from her worthless virtue”.
Now we follow Lucie trough all the emotions that follow. Hate for Jean-Loup of course, but also the disgust she feels for her body, the despair because she can’t go back home and she feels she has no future and her selfloathing for letting this happen.
After a while she tries to kill herself by drowning, only to be interrupted by a old woman. She slips into the water and realises she wants to live due to the fact that she struggled so hard to get to land. The old woman and Lucie talks, and the woman tells Lucie that Jean-Loup will get what’s coming for him. Beleving the woman to be a witch, Lucie leaves feeling the comfort of revenge to be had.
The next part is much like Beauty and the Beast, just a bit more drawn out. Jean-Loup insults ugly hag, is veeeery nice to the same hag in disguise as a beautiful woman, gets cursed to the form of a beast until he finds someone to marry him.
Lucie witness all this and is the only one that does not flee the Château. She also turns into a candelabra whos candles never burn out so she can see Jean-Loups suffering for eternity. Realising she is now a metal object who needs no heart and whos body cant be hurt she thinks “I am Beautiful!”
Jean-Loup rages for a while and shuts candelabra-Lucie in a cupboard. After a while he returns, acting like a different person and does not seem to remember much about anything about the Château. In fact, he is a different person. Not memory loss or remorse, but a entirely different soul.
Why do I like this book:
I like this book for the simple reason that it is complicated, messy and dark. It makes you think and feel about a whole lot of things that you might not have thought about, experienced or seen in this particular light.
I’m not going to share my feelings, thoughts or conclusions with you because I feel that reading this book with just your own conscience and feelings is the way to get the most out of this journey. And now I’ll leave you with this quote from the book:
The heart is a dark wood — dangerous, compelling, and profound. Its pathways can be frightening, but only by plunging into its depths are we fully alive.
The heart revels in its mysteries. Defy them at your peril. Embrace them if you dare. That is where magic begins.