cover image Beastly Beauty

Beastly Beauty

Jennifer Donnelly. Scholastic Press, $18.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-3388-0944-2

Donnelly (Molly’s Letter) submerses readers in a historical romance rich with emotional turbulence in this lushly rendered “Beauty and the Beast” reimagining. Beau is, as his name implies, beautiful. In the band of thieves with which he rides, he’s the seducer, making off with targets’ hearts alongside their jewelry and silver. As Beau and company careen through the woods of France post-heist, they come upon a castle whose banquet tables are lain with a feast. Confronted by a beast as they contemplate looting the residence, the rest flee, sacrificing Beau. As he plots his escape, he meets the household’s warm and strangely caring servants, as well as a vicious group of ladies-in-waiting who attend to the castle’s proprietor, the lovely yet cold Lady Arabella. The more Beau sees of his new home, the more he questions his primal need to flee—even in the face of the beast that roams the castle at night. Delicately limned characters brimming with tenable desires and fears provide the foundation upon which Donnelly presents life lessons about chosen family, self-empowerment, and personal truth, and levying moments balance this dreamy, sublimely written tale. Ages 12–up. (May)