by Marie Hall
Series: Kingdom #2
Published on October 28, 2012 by Smashwords
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Romance
A not so classic retelling of Beauty and the Beast, as seen through the eyes of the villain...
Betty Hart has had it with men. Jilted in love, her life now consists of shelving books by day, watching too much Anime by night, and occasionally dressing up like a superhero on the weekends with her fellow ‘Bleeding Heart’ nerds. Men are not welcome and very much unwanted. Especially the sexy Frenchman who saunters into her library reeking of alcohol and looking like he went one too many rounds in the ring.
Gerard Caron is in trouble. Again. Caught with his pants down (literally) he’s forced to seek asylum on Earth while his fairy godmother tries to keep Prince Charming from going all ‘Off with his head’. Maybe, messing around with the King’s daughter hadn’t been such a great idea after all, not that Gerard knew the silly redhead was a princess. But his fairy godmother knows the only way to save his life is to finally pair Gerard with his perfect mate, whether he’s willing or not.
From the moment Gerard lays eyes on the nerdy librarian he knows he must have her, but Betty is unlike any woman he’s ever known. He thought Betty would come as willingly to his bed as every other woman before her, but she is a woman who demands respect and even… horror of all horrors… love. Is it possible for a self-proclaimed Casanova to change his ways?
I love the tale of Beauty and the Beast. Whether it’s the Disney version, or Robin McKinley’s Beauty, I’m a sucker for a reformed Beast. Yet this retelling took me completely by surprise, because this isn’t the story of the Beast finding true love, it’s about Gerard. You could paint him as Disney’s Gaston, the villainous man lusting after Belle. But once again, the fairy tales got it all wrong and Gerard isn’t the monster he’s made out to be. Instead, despite his tendencies toward sleeping and drinking his nights away, he does have a heart and was burned by the wealth-crazed Belle in the past. His fairy godmother, Danika (who just helped the Mad Hatter find his soulmate), thinks it’s time Gerard got over that bit of nastiness from his past and fall in love with the perfect girl for him.
Enter one Betty Hart. Librarian, closet LARPer and total nerd, and with a strong hatred for men after a relationship gone sour. When Gerard appears on the steps of the library, against his will, she tries to push him away but finds it’s not so easy. Finally she ends up with him in her home but instead of staying a single night, the head fairy gives Gerard an ultimatum: make Betty fall in love with him or be tried for sleeping with Prince Charming’s daughter.
What I liked about this book more than the last installment in the series (Her Mad Hatter) is that instead of only getting 3 days to fall in love, Gerard and Betty have a month. Yes, that may not seem like much more but in comparison, it makes a difference. There also isn’t a focus on the physical side of their blossoming relationship. With Gerard cursed by the head fairy for the duration of his time with Betty, sex is off the table so he must woo the lady in other ways. Like playing with her nephew. What better way to a woman’s heart than through the children she loves?
I have to say, I love that Gerard was thrown out of his element and into our world for this story. Watching him face stuff like Anime and the nerdiness that is Betty and her friends had me cracking up (and freaking out those sitting near me as I read). As a fellow nerd, it was nice to see a man–fictional or not–who could accept all the weird.
The only thing I had a real complaint about was the whole instant attraction that’s becoming a theme in this series. I understand the whole “soulmate” business but I felt there was a better way that it could have been portrayed. Once I accepted Hall’s version of true love, I had no other real qualms with Gerard’s Beauty.
So, do you like fairy tale retellings? Fan of romances? Then this series is a definite must-read. It’s time the villains got their happily ever afters.