Shadow Mountain Publishing
Published May 2, 2023
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About Beauty Reborn
“Suspense-building flashbacks. Soul-searching, cautionary realism. Beauty herself is an intriguing, well-crafted original.” —Kirkus
Fantasy and reality collide in this retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” about a young woman’s heroic quest to save herself.
Beauty’s life is the stuff of fairy tales. The youngest in her family, Beauty isn’t trying to catch Stephan’s eye. He is the lord baron’s heir, well above her family’s modest station, but when he kisses her hand at a party, Beauty is swept away by his charm, his wit, and his passionate declarations of love.
Hearts can be untamable creatures, especially when touched by the fires of first love, and Beauty doesn’t see the truth of Stephan’s intentions until it is too late. Until he stops asking for Beauty’s love—and simply takes it from her one night despite her refusal.
Beauty locks away the secret of what happened to her, and when her father emerges from the enchanted forest with a stolen rose in his hand and the tale of a vicious beast on his breath, Beauty seizes the chance to run as far from Stephan as possible.
She has some experience with beasts, after all. Certainly the one in the forest couldn’t be any worse than the one she’s already encountered.
Breaking the Beast’s curse might be the key to discovering her own path to healing—and finding the courage to allow herself to feel reborn.
I’m always interested to see how people reimagine fairytales, so this retelling of Beauty and the Beast caught my eye as I was browsing on NetGalley.
I like the juxtaposition of the handsome man who is a monster on the inside versus the man who is outwardly a beast, but inwardly gentle and self-contained. It’s a more extreme version of that idea than I’ve seen done in other stories, and it also allows the story to focus on what it is like as a sexual assault survivor to face a new opportunity for relationship.
I liked the pacing of the story, too. The relationship between Beauty and the Beast gently builds, showing the progression of the friendship and deepening affection between them. I also really liked the way the story shows Beauty processing what happened to her and her journey of healing.
BEAUTY REBORN is a shorter book at under 200 pages, so it was a really quick read. Parts of it reminded me of Robin KcKinley’s BEAUTY, but new elements and twists kept the story fresh and me engaged. All in all, I think this is one fans of the original fairytale do not want to miss.
Content Notes for Beauty Reborn
Recommended for Ages 12 up.
Major characters appear to be white.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Kissing between boy and girl. References to sexual assault. Beauty reacts traumatically to events which remind her of the man who assaulted her.
Though Beauty herself does not believe in God, her father is a person of faith. They read the Bible together one evening. When Beauty feels ashamed and low, he reminds her of the verse that says God creates beauty from ash. Beauty finds comfort in this idea. She discusses philosophy and faith with the Beast as well.
Beauty journeys to the Beast’s castle hoping he will end her life (by eating her). In a series of flashbacks, we learn about Beauty’s courtship with Stephan, whose behavior escalates to violence toward her. There’s no graphic description of his assault, only that it happened and when and how Beauty felt afterward.
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