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This was a quick, engaging new take on the classic Beauty and the Beast fairy tale! While I would have liked it to be a bit longer, I really enjoyed the unique aspects of the story that Victorine made her own. Some parts were rushed and left me wanting a bit more, but overall it kept on the edge of my seat and wanting to keep reading to see how it ended.
Aribelle is down on her luck after spending the last several years caring for her ailing father. Now that he has passed, she is struggling to pay the bills. Having no prior job experience due to her full-time caregiver status, she grasps at the first job offered to her - a maid for a grumpy man in a large home, who has run off the last several maids sent over from the agency. Although Thaddeus Hatcher is assumed to be old and cranky, Aribelle soon discovers that he is actually quite young, and there is a gentleness that lies behind his gruff demeanor. When he returns night after night bleeding and covered in new scars, she is determined to discover his secret. But what she finds is a curse and one she is determined to break.
The chemistry between Aribelle and Thaddeus was strong, and I felt that the author did a good job building up their relationship. I would have appreciated a bit more attention on their challenges, as I felt many of their arguments were resolved too quickly and could have been dragged out to help develop their bond. However, I still enjoyed learning about the curse and all it entailed. The creativity behind this idea - that Thaddeus can heal others and take on their pain for himself - to be wonderful. So many stories these days seems to recycle the same concepts, but Victorine Lieske has made it all her own. It was very well done.
I am interested in read more by this author, though I hope her other books are a bit longer. It would help me embed myself deeper in the story and allow me to fully understand her characters. Clearly a very talented author and one to watch in the future!
**I received a free copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**