This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance
Published by Kensington
Released on June 6, 2013
Another Beauty and the Beast retelling? Gah, love it every time I find one. This had me more than interested though because it was set in historic times and had even more magical twists than the original fairy tale. Egyptian and Gypsy curses, anyone? With the knowledge of these additional things in place, I was prepared for things to get a little crazy in the storytelling. It did- get crazy that is- and then some.
The story jumps right in with Lord Draven Winthrop on the eve of his wedding discovering that he now bares a curse of turning into a werewolf after being bitten that night. He’s already known as a rake and a madman and he is determined not to feel anything for his bride, Isabella Farrington. In fact, the night of their wedding his is rude and pushes her away and then his aggressiveness pushes her right out of the house and off to London for two years to live separate lives.
Isabella had hope that Draven would be different and in spite of the rumored curse attached to her necklace about her killing her true love he had married her. Then he coldly and roughly treated her before revealing that he had no intentions of fathering a child and starting a family. For several months after she left him, Draven wrote to her regularly to return, but she ignored him. After two years in which she and her father are destitute, she has to go back to her husband and trick him into supporting her and her father.
Isabella’s return gives them both a chance to rain own recriminations on each other. Draven has his secrets and Isabella has her schemes. Someone else is plotting from the shadows. Isabella’s amulet is stolen and Draven’s mother is poisoned to near death. In the meantime, Draven’s wolf curse grows stronger and the gypsies he consults give him no hope to break his curse and Isabella’s curse kicks in when she starts to have real feelings for Draven even beyond the scorching hot and wild attraction they’ve always had for each other. She finally has to believe in the supernatural when she starts uncovering Draven’s secrets, but also starts to see that things aren’t exactly hopeful.
Yeah, see? Doesn’t it all sound bizarre and over the top? It was. Once in a while, I actually seek out such stories because I love to suspend belief and just run with a zany storyline to see where it goes. I am totally okay with it up to a certain point. The reason I didn’t completely cotton to this one was the back and forth feel to the characters and their romance. Isabella confused the heck out of me. First, she’d freak out about Draven’s behavior and then she’d accept it because she knew where it was coming from. Then she’d go off in a freak again. Yes, I get that the guy was keeping secrets, but really, did she expect him to dish it all and put himself out there after she’d run off the first night and hadn’t been back even a week? And what was he to think when she starts rifling through his things and had her own plots going on. I’m not big on people toying with others even if they don’t do it on purpose. Other than the back and forth business with the relationship, I was having a good time with the laid on thick atmosphere and curse stuff. The attempted murder mystery added even more fun to the whole thing.
The story is told from both main character’s point of view switching back and forth frequently. As to the historical stuff, that is almost incidental in ways.
In the end, it was an entertaining read that I would recommend to those who on occasion enjoy a busy plot, outrageous characters and worldbuilding and a steamy fairy tale retelling under all the other layers.
Thanks to Net Galley for providing a copy of the book for review purposes.
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