Wow so this was a bit of an oops on my part. I finished this book months ago and totally thought I had a review written up, but when I went to go look for it and transfer it to Goodreads, I discovered I hadn’t actually written one yet. Anyway, I originally rated this book three stars, but upon further reflection, I find myself truly disappointed with it, and so it has been demoted to two stars. But sadly, how beautiful is this cover?!
(There also are just zero quotable aspects of this book, so sorry for the all text review :/)
This is a retelling of the classic story Beauty and the Beast (bet you couldn’t tell by the title… he even calls Bellamy Bell as a nickname). Honestly, this alone set such high hopes for me, because I am a true Disney girl at heart. If you are going to attempt to retell those, you better do it right. Bellamy is the daughter of the “crazy man” in town, because her father sees ghosts. Because they are of modest means, she gets a job for the summer, which is babysitting the Baldwin’s two youngest children. The only problem is that the Baldwin house is supposedly “cursed”, because the oldest son disappeared a couple of years ago, and hasn’t been seen since. Anyway, minor spoiler, the Brute is Tate Baldwin, the disappeared son, so obviously he hasn’t really disappeared. Then Bellamy and Tate go on some paranormal mystery journey to get rid of Tate’s curse, but it turns dangerous. Like, really dangerous. Oh, and Tate and Bellamy fall in love, because, Beauty and the Beast.
First off, Bellamy. She is a really awful babysitter! That was what I was thinking for the majority of the story. In the beginning she is fine, but once she discovers Tate’s problem. everyday she is over at the Baldwin’s house working, she is really trying to “fix” Tate, and is so unfocused on the children and even leaves them alone! Like one, you are their babysitter. You were hired to watch these kids, not hang out with their older brother. And two, if you think the house is cursed, why would you leave two young little kids alone?!?! Besides that, she was incredibly naive. She knows there is somehow death involved in Tate’s curse, yet she still decides to investigate. And when she does almost die, she doesn’t even tell Tate about it! But what really annoyed me about her was how she was such a special snowflake. Bellamy gets the protection of everyone that knows her, she is so perfect, oh we need to protect Bellamy, she can do no wrong. Like dear god.
And then Tate. He had two moods. There’s the “I’m angry because my life sucks. I’m going to roar at everyone and yell and smash things” mood and there’s the “Bellamy you are precious I love you I won’t let anyone hurt you” mood. And he really had no depth besides his curse and deformity. That was the only characterization he had. Also, he was just so violent. Like anytime anyone said anything offensive, he resorted to punching them in the face.
The romance also felt pretty rushed. Like a couple of nights together in a spooky house, where Tate offended Bellamy half the time, and they are suddenly in love. And there was one really, er, awkward sex scene that was just so ill placed and felt very unnecessary. And Bellamy’s inner dialogue about that and Tate was just so cringy because it felt so cliche, and maybe because I also just wasn’t really rooting for them to be together.
And a note about the plot. Maybe I didn’t read the summary close enough, but I honestly was not expecting the paranormal mystery I got. I thought I’d get a love story with some cute kids and Southern flair, and some sort of small mystery. No. These characters were like Ghostbusters. They were talking with ghosts, having life or death scenarios, and unraveling a serial murder case basically. Like, it was so much more paranormal and dark than I wanted and was expected. And even though the book was only around 300 pages, it felt so much longer because of the pacing.
My last note was about the grammar. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I’m pretty picky about the grammar in my books, and bad grammar really hurts the book’s rating. Well, this book had so many typos, and was severely in need of page breaks. The transitions were so abrupt and not clear at all that it was a new scene. Like, Bellamy would be cooking breakfast, and all of sudden she’s at the Baldwin’s house talking to Tate.
Overall, I was just disappointed with the book. I’m sure it is partially because of my expectations, but I also don’t think the book fit together well and had some actual issues with it.
Have you read this book? What did you think of the characters? What is your favorite Beauty and the Beast retellings?