RT Book Reviews said ~ “In this lovely, sexy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Ashley hits the mark. The mysterious change that the hero goes through and the depth of his curse will keep readers intrigued until the very last page. The relationship between the two main characters is set to a slow simmer and becomes more beautifully passionate as the story unfolds. When it comes to a sensual romance, Ashley never disappoints.”
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Night Owl Reviews said: Reviewer's Top Pick
I love fairy tales. Having grown up on tales of Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, and Aladdin, I knew as I grew that fairy tales would be a huge part of my life. In Beauty’s Beast, I found a dark and enchanting retelling of Beauty and the Beast, one of my all-time favorites. Author Amanda Ashley has created a new and enthralling world, and set the story there. I adored the characters. Lord Erik Trevayne is such a brooding, tortured soul. Kristine Arrington is a brave and enchanting girl, caught up in a situation that is far beyond her control. The story itself has a few vital and intriguing deviations from the original tale, which, in my opinion, makes the story even better. This is a novel that anyone seeking a dark, gothic love story will adore.
Reviewed by Hitherandthee
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Annetta Sweetko at Fresh Fiction said ~ BEAUTY'S BEAST is not your children's fairy tale. Author Amanda Ashley blends gothic and paranormal seamlessly giving us this fascinating offering. BEAUTY'S BEAST is filled with the magic of love as this couple fights an evil woman's curse, but until that love is acknowledged we are offered a peek into the struggle that Erik is going through as he fights from giving in and letting the old witch win. Kristine's bravery is without question as she struggles to understand her new fate and fights for what she wants and along the way opens up the world for the reclusive, cursed husband.
I found this couple's plight very touching as Erik isn't a cruel man who is being cursed because of a life of debauchery. He just had the misfortune of having his first wife die of childbirth and then being cursed by his mother- in-law, who just happened to be an evil witch. There are a number of twists and turns along the way and the reader will find themselves holding on for this intriguing ride.
I hope Ms. Ashley finds a way to bring us another of these adult fairy tales. I enjoyed this remake of one of my favorite children's stories. BEAUTY'S BEAST is going on my TRA [To Read Again] shelf and I can't wait for the next offering from this amazing writer.
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Miranda Owen, also from Fresh Fiction, said: BEAUTY'S BEAST by Amanda Ashley is an intriguing twist on the classic Beauty and the Beast fairy tale with gothic elements. It's a stand-alone paranormal historical romance. BEAUTY'S BEAST is exactly the kind of fabulously gothic romance Amanda Ashley excels at. Kristine is a damsel in distress at the opening of the story when she is claimed to be the bride of the mysterious Lord of Hawksbridge Castle. Erik only goes out in public either masked or donning robes so nobody will see his slow transformation to a beast. What could be better than a tall, dark, masked man of mystery hero?
Sometimes with these Beauty and the Beast themed stories, the beast-like hero is often cruel to the heroine. However, in BEAUTY'S BEAST, Erik is a sympathetic character. He is sometimes firm with Kristine but never verbally abusive or cruel. He is cursed by a wicked witch to transform into a beast, not for any debauched lifestyle, simply because he has the bad fortune to have a wicked witch mother-in-law. She blames him for her daughter dying while trying to give birth to his child. The injustice of Erik's plight and the way he struggles to hold onto his humanity and sense of honor pulls at the heartstrings.
I think the romance between Erik and Kristine works well in this gothic fairy-tale setting. The characters behave as you would expect in that time period. I like that Erik ends up caring for Kristine more than he ever thought he could. Their relationship becomes very passionate and they are willing to make many sacrifices to stay together.
I like that Kristine doesn't accept being separated from the man she loves. Even though she is not a modern woman, she is strong and fights for those she cares about. They are equally brave and make for a perfect match. The depth of their love is amazing and kept me enthralled from beginning to end.
BEAUTY'S BEAST is a great twist on a classic fairy-tale, with passionate characters and captivating story-telling. I enjoyed the twists and turns BEAUTY'S BEAST takes and the unusual characters Erik and Kristine meet on their journey together. I would be interested in reading future books about Valaree and her people. These supporting characters show great potential for world-building in future stories. I look forward to reading more things by Amanda Ashley.
These are reviews taken from Amazon ~
By KatieCOon Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this take on Beauty and the Beast. This is not Disney's take on it. I choked up in a few spots and grinned too. This is was so different than your paranormal romance books out there and I'm glad I took a chance on it. Read the sample, buy the book...
By Joan Osborne
Beauty and the Beast based stories are one of my favorite romance genres to read and when I discovered that Amanda Ashley was going to release one, I immediately put it on my to buy list. I purchased the Kindle ebook as I was that anxious to read it and after finishing the book, I definitely plan to buy the paperback version also. This was such a wonderfully written story. It had me engaged from the very first page. My heart went out to Eric and Kristine and I felt their anguish over Eric's curse and could feel the love that they had for each other. This is one story that I will never forget and that will remain on my keepers shelf forever.
By Sharon Snow
Beauty's Beast is an excellent retelling of Beauty and the Beast. The storyline is a fresh, original in the retelling, and it not only captures the reader from the first page, but I found that I could hardly put it down until I was finished. Unlike the original version of Beauty and the Beast where the story begins after the man becomes a beast, Beauty's Beast begins before the complete transformation of Erik into the beast. I loved the characters: Erik and Kristine; they were well rounded and seemed to come alive in the story. Although it was a dark story, it was well written, poignant, and filled with a myriad of emotions ranging from anger and bitterness to tenderness, compassion, and love, with enough suspense thrown in to keep the reader drawn to the story. I absolutely loved this story, as I do all of Amanda Ashley's books. I highly recommend reading Beauty's Beast.
By Tammy S.
Wonderful take on an old tale! I was immediately hooked from page one and loved this darker version of Beauty and the Beast. Kristine has been condemned to the gallows for killing a peer when she is surprising rescued by Lord Hawksbridge. After having been cursed all he wants to do is produce an heir and then end his misery and suffering. Kristine is out to make the best of this odd situation and discover Lord Hawksbride’s secrets. Lots of mystery and intrigue and the characters have lots of depth and chemistry together. An all-around excellent read.
This book was not what I expected, yes I expected a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast, but I did not expect it to be so emotional.
The story is of Erik, who is cursed by his former mother-in-law after the death of his first wife in childbirth. She curses him to slowly turn into a beast for every tear and drop of blood that came from her daughter...and the only way to save him is for the dead daughter to forgive Erik. Erik has locked himself away in his castle for almost 5 years, when he decides to take Kristine as his bride and fulfill the promise of an heir he made to his father. Kristine is about to be executed for killing a Lord in self defense and agrees to become Erik's wife. At this point Erik is half beast already and does what he can to get Kristine with child and keep himself emotionally removed from her, so that he may kill himself once Kristine is pregnant.
I honestly thought this was going to be just an erotic retelling of a fairytale, but was I pleasantly surprised to start reading this and find it a very emotionally driven story. While this is a love story, I would say the the love scenes are more on the sensual side. There were large parts of the story that left me teary-eyed. I felt so bad for Erik, he lost his wife and child and then he really lost everything else including his life. Later in the story when he realizes that try as he might, he wants to stay with Kristine and their baby and it seems as all hope is lost is so heartfelt and sad. Erik is still gruff and stubborn with everyone, but the author does a good job of making him well-rounded. I thought Kristine was well written also. She wanted so much for Erik to love her and have that intimacy that a husband and wife should have that made me sad for her. But Kristine has to have some back bone, she fought off and killed a man trying to rape her and then she is willing to make a huge sacrifice to save Erik's humanity. Now, don't get me wrong it is not all woe is me. It has lots of great things going for it, it is historical, it has action, romance and some magic. I really did not want to put this down once I started reading it and I didn't :) This is the first time I have read this Author but will definitely read more her work! Excellent re-telling of Beauty and the Beast!
By Celtic maggie
I have several of Amanda's books and I am glad I chose to review this one. I like her fantasy-paranormal stories. This is a nice version of Beauty and the Beast. Erik Trevayne never wanted to become Lord Hawksbridge. His first wife died in childbirth as did her baby. Charmian, her mother, is a witch and puts a curse on Erik for killing her daughter. Go ahead 4 years and he (spoiler) finds a girl,Kristine, to marry and get his heir. His curse is affecting him and he doesn't want to become close to Kristine. There are lots of tense moments between them. No spoiler, but there is a twist or two near the end. I fell in love with Kristine and Erik. They were just so vulnerable. Please read this book. It's hard to put down. Enjoy! I have this book for an honest review for NetGalley.
By Kathleen M. Jund
Beauty's Beast is Amanda Ashley at her very finest. Newest release and stand alone this is Amanda’s own re-telling of the ultimate story of love and devotion against all odds, the infamous Beauty and the Beast!
Lord Erik Trevayne and Kristine Arrington are in a battle against evil which will compel you to read until the last page is turned. As the second son of the Lord Hawksbridge Castle, Erik had no ties to the estate, as the spare there was no love lost between father and son, for his brother Robert is the heir to all his father owns.
Although Erik felt his father a wise man and respected him, unforeseen circumstances forced a deathbed promise, to Erik is was more a curse. Fulfilling that promise brought another curse upon Erik, this time from the village witch Charmion, …”for every tear my daughter wept”…..the haunting memories of his last remembrance of his late wife Dominique continue to plague him. Kristine Arrington, filthy and cold, housed in the prison dungeon facing the gallows for what is being called a brutal crime committed against Lord Valentine a peer of the realm, (regardless of his reputation as a notorious rake) must come to terms her life will end at such a young age. Faced with keeping his promise, honor-bound Erik Trevayne, now known by all as the Demon Lord of Hawksbridge Castle, is desperate to once and for all rid himself of the curse set upon him. Erik hopes to find the answer in one doomed soul destined to die. With time continuing its fast march forward can Erik control himself long enough to accomplish what is required and keep his stone-cold heart caged safely within? This captivating story will hold the reader spell-bound (literally)!
Fair of face and figure, Kristine is young, innocent, pure. Yet she has been condemned to the gallows for killing a man. The only one who can save her is a lord so infamous that some say he is the son of the Devil himself…
And the Beast
Erik Trevayne is called the Demon Lord of Hawksbridge Castle, but few know of the curse he lives under. Or the terrifying changes gnawing away at his humanity. When he weds her, all he wants of Kristine is a son. But when he beds her, a wild hope is born—that love that can tame even the most monstrous of beasts...
In a time long ago
And far away……
Erik Trevayne, seventh Lord of Hawksbridge Castle, stood at his wife’s bedside. He watched in quiet horror as she strained to bring their firstborn child into the world.
His wife’s mother, Charmion du Lac, the black witch of Cimmerian Crag, stood across from him, her gaze fixed on the mid-wife.
“Erik.” Dominique reached for his hand, her body convulsing with pain as the life slowly ebbed from her body. “Erik…”
The sound of her anguished cries rose to a crescendo, slashing through the dimly lit bedchamber like lightning through storm-ravaged clouds, leaving a great gaping hole of silence when, with her last feeble breath, she expelled the tiny wrinkled infant from her womb.
A low moan, rife with a sorrow so deep it would never heal, issued from Charmion’s lips. Stunned, he watched the tall, dark-haired woman grasp her daughter’s limp hand as if, by the sheer force of her indomitable will, she could restore Dominique’s life.
Erik’s gaze moved to the mid-wife as she quickly cut the cord.
“The child?” he asked hoarsely. “Does it live?”
Slowly, the mid-wife shook her head. “I am truly sorry, my lord.” After wrapping the infant’s body in a piece of sheeting, she placed it on the foot of the bed. “There’s naught I can do.”
Bowing to the lord of the manor, the mid-wife backed out of the chamber, afraid, as were so many others, to turn her back on the witch.
Charmion lifted her head to regard the man standing across from her. “I warned you, Trevayne,” she said with quiet menace. “You should have listened.”
“You cannot blame me for this, Charmion.”
“I can, and I do.”
“It was not my fault!” He shook his head in denial, even as he accepted it for the lie it was.
“I begged you not to marry my daughter. I warned you she was not strong enough to give you an heir.” Charmion lifted the stillborn child from the bed and cradled the shrouded infant in her arms. “But you would not listen...you would not listen! And now my daughter is dead, and her son with her.” She stroked the infant’s head. “You should not have planted your seed within my daughter’s womb.”
“It was what she wanted.”
“It was what you wanted!”
“No.” He had never wanted to marry, never wanted to be the Lord of Hawksbridge Castle. For as long as he could remember, he had dreamed of dedicating his life to the priesthood, of losing himself in the silence and serenity of cloistered walls. But then his brother, Robert, the rightful heir to the estates, had been killed in a hunting accident and the title had fallen to Erik. It had been his father’s dying wish that Erik marry Dominique du Lac and sire an heir to continue the family name. Stricken with grief, hoping at last to win his sire’s favor, Erik had knelt at his father’s bedside and sworn to do as he wished.
Charmion had vigorously opposed the marriage, but for the first time in her life, Dominique had defied her mother to marry the man she adored. At Dominique’s sweet urging, they had been married in secret. She had conceived within the first month.
“Look at me, Trevayne.”
Unable to resist the supernatural power in Charmion’s voice, he looked up, felt himself impaled by the hatred blazing in her witch-black eyes. Her heated gaze trapped his own, holding him immobile so he could neither move nor look away.
“A rutting beast you were, a beast you will become. Not all at once, my selfish one. Day by day, the change will come upon you, until you have suffered for every tear my daughter wept, for every drop of blood she shed this day.”
She nodded once. “As I have said it, so it shall be.”
“Is there to be no end? Your daughter’s pain is over, yet you would condemn me to a life time of suffering.”
Charmion placed the babe on its mother’s belly; then, sitting on the edge of the bed, she drew mother and child into the cradle of her arms. Bending, she kissed her daughter’s waxen cheek. “When Dominique forgives you, so shall I.”
“Charmion, listen to me...”
But it was too late. With a wave of her hand, the witch was gone, Dominique and the babe with her, leaving him alone with his grief, while the ominous portent of the witch’s last words rang like bells of mourning in his ears.
Shivering uncontrollably, Kristine stood in the center of the dreary cell, her only light that of a single candle. The stones were cold beneath her bare feet; the gray walls were damp and covered with mold. The single window was small and square and barred. And set too high for her to see out. Not that she would have looked, for there was nothing to see but the gallows where, on the morrow, she would draw her last breath.
She whirled around at the sound of a key in the lock, backed away from the door as it swung open.
“I’ve come to cut yer hair,” the burly guard said, moving into the room. He shoved a three-legged stool toward her. “Sit down.”
Hands clasped, she did as bidden, her nostrils wrinkling with distaste as he leaned toward her. He smelled of old sweat and ale. The stink of the prison clung to his clothing.
She recoiled at the touch of his dirty hands moving through the heavy fall of her hair, dug her fingers into her arm to keep from crying out as he made the first cut.
“Damn, girl, ye’ve got enough hair for a dozen women,” he muttered.
The sound of the heavy shears sounded like thunder in her ears, and with each cut, another lock of hair fell at her feet. She squeezed her eyes tight shut as he deprived her of her one true beauty. She had always been vain about her hair. Unbound, it had fallen in thick golden waves past her hips. Was this the punishment for her vanity?
“Ought to bring a fine price from the wigmaker,” the guard remarked as he gathered her hair from the floor and moved toward the door. “More than enough to pay fer yer buryin”.”
Kristine waited until he was gone, and then, feeling like a sheep shorn of its wool, she ran her hands over the short spiky ends. Tears burned her eyes and she stiffened her shoulders. She was going to die. She would not cry over the loss of her tresses.
A short time later, a tall, solemn-faced priest came to hear her last confession. A single tear escaped as he gave her absolution, then traced the sign of the cross on her forehead.
Alone again, she sank down on the floor, her head cradled in her hands.
She was going to die.
Feeling numb, she sat there. Would it hurt? Would her legs hold her as they led her up to the gallows? Or would she collapse, weeping and crying like some spineless coward?
She didn’t want to die. She had nothing to live for, but she didn’t want to die.
Her head jerked up when the door opened again.
Was it time already?
But it wasn’t a guard who entered her cell, but a kind-faced nun bearing a wooden tray laden with a plate of broiled chicken, fresh vegetables, and a loaf of bread still warm and soft instead of hard and stale and crawling with worms. There was a glass of warm sweet wine, as well.
“For me?” After weeks of watered gruel, moldy bread, and tepid water, it seemed a feast indeed.
The elderly nun nodded.
Kristine wept with gratitude as she savored each bite of tender chicken, each morsel of the warm, yeasty bread.
The nun didn’t speak, only smiled sympathetically as she patted Kristine’s arm, then carried the dirty dishes away.
Later, full for the first time in weeks, Kristine curled up on the thin pallet in the corner. Seeking oblivion in sleep, she was too steeped in despair to give heed to the skinny, long-tailed rats that scurried across the stones in search of some small scrap of food. No need to worry about being bitten now, she thought glumly. What difference did it make if she caught the plague?
The rattle of the guard’s keys roused her from a troubled sleep. She bolted upright, fearing that it was morning and they had come to take her to the block. Stomach churning with fear, she stared at the guard, blinking against the light of the lamp.
“That’s her,” the guard said. He stepped into the cell and lifted the lamp higher. “Stand up, girl. His Lordship wants to see yer face.”
She had learned long ago to do as she was told, and to do it quickly. Hardly daring to breathe, she scrambled to her feet.
It was then that she saw him, a dark shape that looked like death itself shrouded in a long black woolen cloak. The garment fell in deep folds from his broad shoulders to brush the tops of his black leather boots. The hood of the cloak was pulled low, hiding his face from her view. Black kidskin gloves covered his hands. He stood there, tall, regal, and frightening.
“Her name’s Kristine,” the guard remarked. “Don’t recall her family name.”
The hooded man nodded and made a circling motion with his forefinger.
“Turn around, girl,” the guard demanded brusquely.
She did as the guard asked, her cheeks flushing with shame as she felt the hooded man’s gaze move over her. She was bare-footed and filthy. What was left of her hair was dirty and crawling with lice. Her dress, once the color of fresh cream, was badly stained, the hem torn. And, worst of all, she smelled bad.
She heard a faint noise, like the rustle of dry paper, and realized the stranger had asked the guard a question.
“Just turned seventeen,” the guard replied with a leer.
She heard the rasp of the hooded man’s voice again, and then he turned away, melting into the shadows beyond her cell.
The guard followed him, pausing at the door to look back over his shoulder. “This be yer lucky day, girl. Seems his lordship has taken a fancy to ye.”
“I don’t understand.”
“He just bought yer freedom.”
Kristine staggered back, overcome by a wave of dizzying relief. She wasn’t going to die.
“He’ll be comin” by to fetch ye tomorrow night.”
Coming for her. Tomorrow night. Relief turned to trepidation. “What...what does he want with me?”
The guard threw back his head and barked with laughter. “He says he’s going ta marry ye.”
“Marry me!” Kristine stared at the guard in shock.
“But…he doesn’t even know me.”
The guard shrugged. “What does it matter?”
Why would a stranger want to marry her? And why did she care, if it would get her out of this terrible place with her head still on her shoulders. “Can you tell me his name?”
“Why, don’t you know? That’s his lordship, Erik Trevayne.”
Stunned, Kristine stared at the guard. She would rather lose her head that very night than become the wife of the infamous Lord Trevayne. A beheading, at least, would be swiftly and mercifully over. “And he wants to marry me? Are you sure?”
“Aye, girl. It seems a fittin” match. A murderin” wench bein” wed to the Demon Lord of Hawksbridge Castle.”
View the trailer here