Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge

Lisa Jensen. Candlewick Press, $18.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-7636-8880-6
In this compelling reimagining of “Beauty and the Beast,” Jensen integrates a new plot thread in the form of a third protagonist into the familiar fairy tale. Chambermaid Lucie is transformed into an ever-burning candlestick by the same spell that turns the wicked Jean-Loup, Chevalier du Beaumont, into the gentle-souled, monstrous-seeming Beast. Because Jean-Loup sexually assaulted her soon after they first met, Lucie is eager to witness his downfall, but equally unprepared to develop sympathy for the Beast, who seems an entirely different person altogether. Then Rose arrives, fulfilling a desperate bargain made between her impoverished merchant father and the Beast, and Lucie must find a way to protect her friend from falling in love, breaking his curse, and thus allowing the cruel Jean-Loup to return. Jensen (The Witch from the Sea) includes all of the tale’s most significant elements—including the classic romance, evoking both the traditional story and the Disney version—while still adding new twists and depths. Haunting language and lush descriptions (“the petals are long-dead; they have lost their bright color and velvety texture and curled into crisp, dry cinders...”) engage the senses, making this a memorable, worthy addition to the canon of “Beauty and the Beast” retellings. Ages 16–up. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/14/2018
Release date: 07/10/2018
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