I have loved the way all of Jessilyn Stewart Peaslee's books fit together! This one starts with the ball that is in both Ella and Ella's Will. I love that you get to see Corbin again and that you get to see what happens to him. I kind of hope that we also get to read Francine's story eventually.
I loved Corbin. I love the way he obviously cares for Francine, even when her love doesn't appear to be as deep. His character is good at being constant. He's a kind and loving man. It made me laugh how he had to pretty much immediately find the princess a gift when he got to Laurel, even though he had other things he would have rather been doing. And then when she chose his simple gift...oh so sweet! But, things don't go perfectly even after she's chosen him.
It was kind of fun that you just see things through Corbin's eyes until he meets Rose, and then at that point, you see some things through her eyes as well. I liked the way she seemed to me. When others looked at her, all they saw was a beast, but when you see things through her eyes, you realize that she has been hurt and that she doesn't want to be the person she is. I liked that she was able to grow and change, with Corbin's help.
I liked that Ella and Will make an appearance in this one. It's so much fun when characters you love from other books cross back into new ones, almost like seeing old friends.
I loved the plot of this one. I loved that Corbin had a touch of a mystery about himself to solve. And also that Rose had a large problem that she had to solve as well.
This book was so much fun! I loved the fairy tale feel of it!
Before I start my review, I just want to say that Jessilyn Stewart Peaslee is a beautiful person. She is kind, fun, humble, gracious, and thoughtful. Most of the time when we read books we know nothing about the author, so I just wanted to tell you a little about what I know of her from a distance. I have never met her, but I consider her a friend, and I greatly admire the gift God has given her to write books with great meaning – books that you will want to read over and over again.
I first was introduced to Jessilyn’s work when I had the great privilege to read her first novel, Ella, which is a masterpiece. Then, I had the honor of reading a late draft of Ella’s Will, offering my feedback, and then thoroughly loving this other perspective of Ella’s story. I had perhaps an even greater honor of reading an early draft of Finding Beauty in the Beast before it was called that. I gave 150 comments, and knew that there was a lot of work to be done. As I read the published piece over the last few days, I saw where she intricately followed my advice, and the advice of others, where things I hadn’t even though about truly blossomed, making the novel one I will never forget.
I have always felt that the key to a great novel is learning to love the characters. There must be characters who you relate to, characters who you cheer for, and characters who you experience joy and sadness with. One of my favorite kinds of characters are those who are seen as villains, but who are also sympathetic. Villains rarely are so 2-dimensional that there is no reason for their cruelty, nor no possible way for them to change.
In this novel, the person who everyone sees as a villain, as a beast, is Princess Rose of Laurel. What Prince Kenton saw, what the people of her kingdom saw, was a woman full of wrath with a fiery temper, who cared nothing about her kingdom or her subjects. They hated her and feared her. At first glance, you would never be able to see anything endearing about her. But, Jessilyn expertly helps us see and feel why Rose became such a beast, and we want nothing more than for her to be the lovely person she once was before her life tragically changed 10 years before.
Corbin, who we are introduced to in Ella’s Will, will enter Rose’s life through a series of quick, seemingly unfortunate events, becoming her husband and the prince. He will be the one who tries to find the beauty in this beast, and with help from his friends, Will and Ella, and his own search for truth, he will help set Rose free from her internal enemy which has held her captive for so long.
Rose and Corbin, from their skin color to their social status to their personalities, seem so different, yet they are more alike then they could ever know on the surface, needing each other more than they could ever imagine.
Through their journeys, individually and together, and through the experiences and help from others in the story, such as dear Mrs. Whiting, you will laugh, you will smile warmly, and you will wipe away tears many times. Towards the end of the book, I cried like a baby. I was literally weeping. Only a brilliant author with authentic characters could do that.
This is not just any book. It is not simply a retelling of Beauty in the Beast. It is actually quite different. For one, the female is the beast, but it isn’t because of how she looks. She is quite lovely, actually, when she isn’t angry or cruel. I love how the central messages of the original fairy tale are the same: that when you see beyond the ugliness of one’s face or character, you can find their true potential and value, that there is hope in dismal situations, and that the monsters within us can be tamed and defeated. I am glad, though, that the story is one we have never heard before, even if we know the ending will be happy.
All stories should have an antagonist, and in this novel, it isn’t as obvious as you may think. There are many mysteries and puzzles to solve, many holes to fill, but I can say with triumph that they are all indeed filled, and in ways that will touch your heart more than you thought possible.
Do I love this book? Well, isn’t it obvious? I hope you will read it and love it as I do. My son couldn’t wait until I was done with it so he could start gulping down the pages. He loves it already.
Thank you, dear Jessilyn Stewart Peaslee, for another masterpiece that brings tears of joy from Heaven.
I love fairy tales, especially Beauty and the Beast. It's especially fun when the characters are gender swapped and that's the case in this story. Corbin is a blacksmith and his simple gift is accepted by the princess, otherwise known as the Beast, which causes the world as he knows it to turn upside down.
I love how the characters are really portrayed in a realistic way--not just the vague fairy tale way--but in a way that really makes them three dimensional and like real people. Their stories each unfolded in a way that played on emotion and really made me care about what happened to them and the way it happened. I love great journeys of self-realization and growth and combined with a sweet romance and fun plot, this one is going on record as a favorite retelling of this story.
There are enough twists and appearances by Peaslee's previous books characters that this story can stand on its own, while still delivering the beloved elements that make B&B a favorite of many.
Content: mild romance
*I received a copy, which had no influence on my thoughts and opinions*
MY REVIEW / THOUGHTS:
I love fairy tales, and this re-telling of Beauty and the Beast is wonderful. Beauty and the Beast is hands down my favorite. I am sure I have said that about others, but it really is the greatest story.
When Corbin is turned away by his true love for an opportunity to marry a Prince, he packs up and leaves town. Hoping to find a better life for himself, and start over new.
When Corbin arrives in Laurel, he is able to take over a Blacksmith’s shop, where the owner had either abandoned it or died…. He was quickly busy with work, not that the town finally had a capable Blacksmith.
The bread maker told him that it was a giving day. All eligible men in the town had to give a gift to the Princess. Whoever gift she accepted would become the King.
This was the last thing on Corbin’s mind since he left his life behind. His heart had just been broken and now he has to give a gift to a Princess that he hears is a terror.
This book brings out all the feels. Love, hate, anger, disappointment, determination, and romance. I did not expect the book to be gender bent. I have to admit I loved that the “Beast” was the Princess, and not the Prince. We get to see the gentle side of Corbin, and how he deals with this new life that he did not choose.
He finds answers to a long unanswered question. He tames the beast, and saves her. It is such a sweet story. I love it when we get to see men be more vulnerable. If you like retelling this is a great one to pick up. Plus, “Who could love a Beast?”. (from Beauty and the Beast) One of my favorite quotes ever.
I was given this book as part of a blog tour in return for an honest review. I was not compensated in any way for this review. These are my own PERSONAL thoughts on the book.