ARC Review: "Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge" by Lisa Jensen

Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge by Lisa Jensen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary from GoodReads

Filled with magic and fierce emotion, Lisa Jensen's multilayered novel will make you question all you think you know about beauty, beastliness, and happily ever after.

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. But Beast is nothing like the chevalier. Jean-Loup would never patiently tend his roses; Jean-Loup would never attempt poetry; Jean-Loup would never express remorse for the wrong done to Lucie. Gradually, Lucie realizes that Beast is an entirely different creature from the handsome chevalier, with a heart more human than Jean-Loup’s ever was. Lucie dares to hope that noble Beast has permanently replaced the cruel Jean-Loup — until an innocent beauty arrives at Beast’s château with the power to break the spell.



I received an e-ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Not only am I fan a hard-core fan of everything Beauty and the Beast related but also I enjoy books retelling the 'tale as old as time'. Lisa Jensen's second book of retelling characters from fairy tales deals with the Beast. If you haven't read her book "Alias Hook", do so. It's amazing!

So here's a trigger warning: there's a rape scene early in the book. Although I read the ARC, I do hope that there'll be a warning in the final copy.

Lucie is a poor village girl who becomes a chambermaid in JeanLoup mansion. I suspect that in historical times, the book takes place in the beginning of 19th century or so. There are lots of descriptions concerning the mansion, the servants and the life outside the mansion. And while Lucie at first has feelings for Jean-Loup Christian Henri LeNoir, Chevalier de Beaumont, they quickly shatter after that night.

Now here's a reaction that I have seen aggravating many readers. Lucie thought that it was her fault and she feels ashamed to the point of going to commit suicide. Let's backtrack. Pre-modern societies were harsh on women and especially women who lived in the countryside of the big European cities. In many occasions, a woman's honor was the only playing card she had and of course, there was no pill or condom. A woman raped had no word over the word of a man, even if he was in a higher class than her.

In a way, I understand Lucie's reaction, despite being wrong in today's thinking. That's why when she meets the mysterious old woman, she tells her that it wasn't her fault and absolves her from the blame. From there the magic happens and the Chevalier turns into the Beast. BUT, there is a wonderful plot twist here, that made me love the book in the end very much.

I'm just going to say that it's also for the fans who loved the Beast and not the Prince as much ;)

Recommended if you can bypass the trigger warning.

About the author:

I've painted pottery, sold movie tickets and books, drawn cartoons, and hand-crafted fabric dolls. Now I get to write full-time; the hours are flexible and there's no dress code. My movie reviews appear on Rotten Tomatoes. My novel, "Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge," comes out in July, 2018, from Candlewick. My historical/fantasy "Alias Hook," was published by Thomas Dunne Books in July, 2014. My historical pirate novel, "The Witch From the Sea," was published in 2001. 

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