I received this book from the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
‘The Beast’s Heart’ by Leife Shallcross was beautiful.
Synopsis: The story of the Beast is a famous one but this tells you the thoughts and emotions behind every action. Told from the Beast’s view, we learn how and why he was cursed, what spurred his reign of terror and the decision to blackmail a sick old man. We learn how the curse can be lifted but we also see how the Beast’s actions continue to affect the people left behind. Can the Beast learn to love? More importantly, can the Beast BE loved?
I want a Beast. I found him to be so charming and loveable. He was the perfect gentleman to Isabeau and I believe the curse saved him. He is very worthy of love. Was he depressed the majority of the book? Yes, he definitely was but can you blame him? All those years roaming the forest losing his humanity whilst never knowing how the curse could be broken. I’m sure anyone would become despondent and ill-tempered by that. I know the Beast is a man but I was stupidly surprised with how human he seemed. Not in the way he dressed or acted but in his thoughts and the way he reasoned with himself. After many years of solitude, the Beast was very mature in the way he came across and handled situations.
Even though the book is about the Beast and how Isabeau can break the curse, there are many other characters within the story. The Beast has a way of keeping in touch with Isabeau’s family and so we are able to understand how they cope with the loss of their sister. Their story runs parallel to the Beast’s and occasionally they entwine. I found this addition to the story entertaining and integral to Isabeau’s progression. The character I enjoyed the most after the Beast is the magic. I suspect the fairy was behind the enchantments available within the house but sometimes the magic seemed to have a personality. It could admonish and be humorous which I found amusing.
I am most familiar with the Disney version of this tale however I much prefer this version of events. After reading this book, I did some research and noticed that the original story of Beauty and the Beast is much similar to this book. There are of course slight differences but the overall story is the same and I love it more because of this. There were some themes that were troubling. Suicide is attempted and talked about more than once. Rape and abuse are hinted at too. Despite these subjects, it’s ultimately an uplifting book. There are plenty of smiles, laughs and jokes amongst the gloom that it reminds me of a spring day; showers of rain and the sun fight for dominance continually.
I really enjoyed this book. It is a slow read, there is no real action or heart pumping scenes however there were many scenes in which my eyeballs threatened to leak. It is a perfect view point of the Beast and I cannot wait to get my hands on the final copy!
“If it was a living nightmare that took me into the forest, it was most certainly a dream that brought me out of it…”
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