Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge

Written by Lisa Jensen
Review by Sara Dahmen

Before the Beast becomes the Beast, there was the beautiful Jean-Loup, Chevalier de Beaumont. He hunts women and mismanages his household, which bustles with innumerable servants. Lucie is one such servant, who unfortunately crosses paths with Jean-Loup one too many times. When the local wise woman finally decides to put a stop to Jean-Loup’s cruelty, Lucie hopes to watch him suffer, and the magic turns her into a silver candelabra. Over time, the difference between Jean-Loup and the Beast is obvious, and Lucie forms a friendship with him, hoping the Beast will remain and Jean-Loup never return. But beautiful Rose arrives at the ruined chateau, threatening to unlock the spell. Rose is not what she seems, either, and Lucie must do all she can to save the Beast—not just from himself, but from magic and other forces of nature.

For those who grew up reading Robin McKinley’s versions of the ageless tale, Beast is a fresh look at the folklore. Awash with language slightly reminiscent of 19th-century literature, concise yet rich descriptions, and written with a unique point of view, Beast offers the reader a chance to peek into the world of the castle before the beauty arrives. Jensen has woven a plausible and deeply intimate story while threading the old version through it, complete with snippets of history and yet timeless as well. The next generation of readers will grow up devouring “Beauty and the Beast,” and this version features twists and turns to offer another way to peer at a story that resonates without fail.