‘Bella and the Beast’ by Olivia Drake

batb odSTORY: Bella Jones’ father, Sir Seymour Jones, was an explorer/adventurer who revealed to her on his deathbed that the late Duke of Aylwin, whom he helped inquire antiquities in Egypt, had promised him half of a pharaoh’s treasure. However, Bella must find the map to the hidden trove to prevent her and her brother and sister from living in poverty.

Bella takes a job as a curator working for the late duke’s son to help him catalogue his father’s artifacts in London. She doesn’t reveal who she is or what her motives are, but when the attraction between them because impossible to ignore, the issue of the hidden treasure becomes a more complicated secret than either of them could ever imagine.

REVIEW: Clarissa, the Countess of Milford has been lucky in life and feels the need to help other young women find happiness as well. She wants to find the perfect candidate, such as a wallflower, on whom she can bestow her help. Clarissa has a pair of magic beaded slippers and only if a young woman is worthy of true love, will the slippers her as they had fit Clarissa.

Miss Isabella Jones, age 29, desperately needs a job to support herself and her 15-year-old twin brother and sister. Their mother passed away when the twins were born leaving Isabella to raise them. Their father, Sir Seymour Jones, was a scholar and they lived in Persia until her father’s recent passing.

Isabella was summoned by the Countess who told her that Miles Grayson, the fifth Duke of Alywin was in need of a curator for his vast Egyptian artifacts. The Duke lives in a huge mansion and is known to be a recluse. Isabella is delighted because her father worked with the Duke’s father gathering artifacts in Egypt. On her father’s deathbed, he told her to find a certain document which would prove that she now owns half of the treasures. Isabella was then given the shoes without knowing their magical powers. The shoes fit perfectly.

When Isabella applied for the job with the Duke, he was rather skeptical that she was the person he remembered when they were children. But he allows her to begin the job by starting in a roomful of minor artifacts. Thus begins a game of cat and mouse between the two of them as she makes headway in documenting the artifacts while at the same time trying to find the proof that her father mentioned. Alywin is a mean and crabby man which makes it difficult for Isabella to reach out to him.

The mansion has very little staff and is dark and vast. Add to the mix the Duke’s heir and his wife pushing their way into the home always looking for more money from Alywin and trying to take over. We encounter mummies and the idea of curses for people that disturb them.

Isabella and Alywin soon find an attraction and a love affair sparks between them. Will Isabella find the proof she seeks to allow her to claim half of the treasure? Can she hide her own secrets from Alywin if she is falling in love with him?

I liked this book but found it to be a bit tedious at times. I would have awarded it less stars but I realized that the author obviously put a lot of research into the background of the story and her descriptions were great. All of these things need to be taken into consideration when rating a novel.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the the publisher

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