Afflicted by a centuries-old curse, a warlord slowly surrenders his humanity and descends toward madness. Ballard of Ketach Tor holds no hope of escaping his fate until his son returns home one day, accompanied by a woman of incomparable beauty. His family believes her arrival may herald Ballard's salvation.
...until they confront her elder sister.
to rescue her sibling from ruin, Louvaen Duenda pursues her to a
decrepit castle and discovers a household imprisoned in time. Dark
magic, threatening sorcerers, and a malevolent climbing rose with a
thirst for blood won't deter her, but a proud man disfigured by an
undying hatred might. Louvaen must decide if loving him will ultimately
save him or destroy him.
Comment: This book came into my attention because of the Internet Book Club at Goodreads. I don't participate every time but this book seemed something I'd enjoy reading so I thank Mariana for the chance to read it and Hilcia again for letting me know about the group.
This is a new version of the classic Beauty and the Beast (which also happens to be my favorite Disney story ah ah) so I was quite eager to read it. Having a not so good experience with re-telling/re-versions of beloved stories, I was apprehensive but trusted the opinions of those who had read it and Mariana especially for having recommended it.
The story follows a sort of fantasy world (historical toned) and the Beast gets his curse because he was married to a woman who didn't love him. She cheated on him and he killed her lover. After giving birth to a baby boy, she cursed Gavin, her son, on her deathbed. However, Ambrosius, a sorcerer makes it happen to be Ballard (the Beast) to be the one to suffer the worst of the curse.
His lands are enchanted though and only Gavin can leave and one day he returns with a beautiful young lady who they hope might fall for him and break the curse. But they didn't arrive alone. Louvaen, the young lady's older sister comes to protect her and soon Ballard can't seem to stay away and the most wonderful of it all is she can't either...
I liked this story because the connection between the two protagonists, Ballard and Louvaen, was simply amazing. I think their romance was so cute, despite the hardships, that I was eager to keep reading just to see them interact and fall in love.
In fact, to me this was what made this story such a personal success. I think the changes made to make this a version of the classic story were well done for the most part, as all the important details from the original were present, even if slightly altered.
However, the pace wasn't always the best in my opinion, there was some dragging at times and also a lot of focus on things I didn't think were that important for the main storyline.
There are many differences from this story to the original, namely the presence of a child also cursed, and Beauty's enemy not aiming for the Beast at the end, but overall, it was a good follower and did th original justice, considering this version is oriented for adults.
I could speak about the considerable little things that made this story a good one, like the character's personalities that came alive throughout the book, or the descriptions that were very real, or the narrative that was often witty and easy to follow.
I could speak about the detail of Gavin and Louvaen's sister sub plot and how they kept falling in love but only were intimate after their marriage which added some innocent and sweet tone to the plot, or about the secondary characters that helped the plot and the romances.
I could, but honestly the best thing about this is the actual romance between Ballard and Louvaen. They both have strong personalities. Who wouldn't admire a man that sacrificed himself to bear a child's curse? Or a woman who defends her family until the end? I liked these two a lot and how they had love and honesty and bravery and humility to help the others, to try their best and be the most wonderful couple ever! Not even the fact they had a lot of sex distracted me from this because the sex was the affirmation of their love even when they didn't know it yet. Louvaen fell for Ballard despite his curse, his looks and his limitations and she still didn't change herself for him, she was with him all the way being true to herself. Ballard too had a huge soul and he is one of the best because he did learn a lesson without ever compromising his honor.
They are a great couple and I loved their HEA.
Of course not everything is perfect, like I said the pace and some details were a bit distracting and I wasn't as captivated at first. Thankfully the more I read, the better it became.
I think this is a wonderful fantasy take on Beauty and the Beast. There are changes but also gains by reading this adult version. And there's an epilogue that any romance reader will enjoy. It's a very special read and I was surprised positively by the author's style and voice. I'll read more by her in the future.