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Beauty and the Beast is my all-time favorite fairy tale, and this book did a great job blending the traditions of the story with a unique twist and entertaining characters. While the Beast is scarred and Beauty is beautiful, the story was about much more than Beauty taming the Beast. It was about Beauty learning that she is not perfect and she can change to be the person the Beast sees in her. It was about the Beast realizing that he is not confined by his scars but rather his fear of what others will think, and he is loved by many more people than he expects.
Miss Adeline Price has been a hoyden all her life. Sent to a girl's boarding school at the age of twelve, she learned manners and deportment, along with more unique skills like archery. Now twenty, she is on her way home after dropping her sisters off at that same boarding school, when a storm causes her carriage to break apart and forces her to venture into the rain in an effort to fix it. Jasper Benedict, the Earl of Ailesbury, is on his way home after a long evening at his gunpowder plant. The last thing he expects to find on a lonely country road is a fine carriage with a lady within, let alone one with such startling beauty. Nevertheless, he offers her his home for the night until she can be safely taken home to London. But while he offers her shelter, he refuses to let her see his deformed body. After all, he is the Beast of Faversham, and she is a Beauty of London, and what beauty could fall in love with a beast?
Unlike other reviewers, I never really get the impression of Adeline as a spoiled brat. In the beginning, she is 12, and it is understandable. Even in "present day", she is only 20, and as such has a lot of growing up to do. Although it is implied that she is impetuous and likes to get her own way, no true "brat" would behave so politely toward servants or a terribly scarred man. If she were vain and as selfish as others have called her, there's no way she could change like that over the course of a few days. She does have a tremendous transformation, as she realizes that she needs to improve how she responds to people and see how her innocent words can hurt their feelings. However, changing from a spoiled brat to a young lady with a heart of gold? That's not what happened. As someone who grew up acting very similarly and underwent a change in my early 20s, I will say that this is actually just natural maturation. Sometimes one incident and spark of enlightenment is all it takes for someone to alter their behavior. Jasper was that for Adeline. Jasper, poor man, has no idea what hits him when Adeline comes into his life. But her impetuous nature and love of life is exactly what he needs to break out of his shell and live again. They were perfectly matched!
Wonderful story, quick read, and a fairy tale to warm your heart! I eagerly anticipate more books by this author pairing.
**I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**