Bellamy and The Brute by Alicia Michaels
“A reader lives a thousand lives. You’re always off somewhere, Bellamy, exploring other worlds. You have many lives.”
Bellamy and the Brute is a modern and sweet retelling of one of my favorite fairy tales Beauty and the Beast. The story follows Bellamy, a book worm girl who loves her father even as he is ridiculed and targeted as being the towns freak. Bell gets a chance to work at the infamous Baldwin House, aware that a few years ago their oldest son Tate went missing or got sick never to be seen or heard from again. As she becomes the new nanny, the first rule she receives is that the third floor is off limits. However as strange things start occurring and Bellamy starts seeing a path of fallen roses she comes face to face with Tate and his secret. The truth being that he has a deforming disease that deformed his face and due to his shame, locked himself up in his house that is until he meets Bellamy and he discovers the real meaning of life.
The story is sweet and in some ways entertaining. However, it does miss a lot of the main themes I loved about Beauty and the Beast. It is a modernized version of it, but something I loved about Beauty and the Beast is how the house and the people living in it seemed to be stuck in time. Unable to move, unable to age because of the curse. In this case there was a curse, but it was ghosts that where looking for justice that involved Tate's father. It was up to Tate and Bellamy to discover the truth and allow for the ghosts to finally rest in peace. This change in the normal story was in some ways interesting, it turned more into a murder mystery which in some ways I enjoyed. I did still miss the magic of Beauty and the Beast which wasn't as palpable in this retelling.
The story has a sweet romance that you must be warned is a high school romance and thus in many ways the book seems kind of childish. Our main characters too, as they need too much reassurance and without each other they are somewhat bland. It is the toxicity of that first love that keeps them alive and well, and although the tale is somewhat childish it kind of makes you smile every once in a while because of the book's innocence. The book is free after all and for expecting it to be a waste of time, it was an entertaining read for this Halloween season.
-- 2.5 stars --