Format: eBook, 387 pages
Publication: Independently published on August 27, 2020
Synopsis: You think you know their story . . .
My life is the envy of women everywhere. I live in a gorgeous mansion, wear expensive clothes, go to A-list parties, and attend a prestigious college.
It is a life of beauty and glamor . . . and all of it is a lie.
Behind closed doors, I am bullied by my cold and powerful father. With no money of my own, I have no choice but to obey him . . .
Until I am attacked, and a half man-half beast intervenes. Kit takes me to his home to heal, where I am immersed in his secret world. As we bond over unexpected experiences and shared interests, my gratitude changes into something that feels as old as time.
I was created for the darkness and, for a while, it controlled me. But I escaped that life and made a new home for myself.
Before Bella crossed my path, I didn’t think happiness was possible. But she not only accepts my differences, she offers friendship.
Her gentle and compassionate heart opens me up to those parts within me.
With her, I don’t feel like the beast I have always been labeled.
But the closer we get, the more I wonder if I am truly as human as she believes, and whether the mistakes of the beast can ever be forgiven . . .
When an old enemy resurfaces, Bella and Kit will need to stand firm in their love, face the brutalities of the past, and trust in the beauty that comes from within to make it out alive.
BEAUTIFUL is a sweet and dark, modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast. The themes of beauty, strength, redemption, and love shine through in an unforgettable tale that will make you question everything you think you know about beauty . . . and the beast.
I’m not the biggest Disney fan, but if I ever decide to watch a Disney movie, it’s almost always going to be Beauty and the Beast. I really appreciated Leigh’s darker, more realistic version of the story. Just as with the previous book I read by her, I found myself immersed in the plot and falling in love with the characters.
I really loved the background she gave for the characters, particularly Kit. The way she described his past at the lab gave me chills at times; it was described so vividly that I could see it clearly. Bella’s background broke my heart. I wasn’t quite expecting the personality her father had, so that was a bit of a shock at first. He quickly became one of the few fictional characters I truly despise.
The basic plot of the book was the general idea of Beauty and the Beast : Bella finds herself staying with Kit and they end up falling in love. In addition to this storyline, though, Leigh introduces a second one: an investigation into Bella’s disappearance, lead by a detective named Vincent. I actually loved this idea.
Bella’s relationship with Kit was adorable from the first second they met. I’m usually not a big fan of semi-quickly paced romances between characters, but this one felt impossible to dislike. I also love that we got a glimpse into their official romance, rather than being left to guess how things went for them after the book ended.
Hilda’s relationship with Vincent was also absolutely adorable. I wasn’t expecting this one to happen, but I’m genuinely glad it did.
I found myself trying to match every aspect to the original film, which led to some confusion. Granted, this was completely on me, not Leigh. Because I’m not the biggest expert on Disney in general, let alone this specific story – favorite or not – I couldn’t recognize certain connections. However, this didn’t affect the quality of the novel at all; it just caused me to take a little longer to read because I got so focused on figuring it out.
If you’re a Disney fan, particularly Beauty and the Beast , I highly suggest giving this one a shot. There is very slight mention of mature content, some descriptive of violent scenes, and mention of abuse, but otherwise nothing is too triggering. I really did enjoy this novel, even with my obsession with finding connections. Leigh’s writing is poetic, and I consider some of the lessons I got from Beautiful to be extremely important.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book via the author. This did not influence my opinion in any way.
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Meet the Author
A.K. Leigh (aka Leigh Hatchmann) is an unrepentant dreamer and romantic, trauma survivor, writing teacher, editor, and identical triplet. Her multi-genre fiction transports readers into a world of cozy mysteries, suspense, crime, the supernatural, and time travel–all entwined with a heart-pumping HEA romance. Her non-fiction titles (as Alicia Leigh) take readers on journeys to strengthen self-love, heighten creativity, and increase imagination.