BOOK BLURB: Princess Rose’s fiery temper has kept every potential suitor away…until now. After being spurned and humiliated for the last time, the princes forces every eligible man to present a gift to her under pain of death. The man who brings her the best gift will be chosen as her husband.
When Corbin presents his gift, he hopes that his simple offering will keep him safely overlooked. All he wants is to return to his quiet life as a blacksmith away from forbidding castles and beastly princesses. But love works in mysterious ways, and it all starts with a rose…
A beast. That was what they called her.
When she was in a good temper, Princess Rose’s face was deceptively sweet, even beautiful. Her large, emerald eyes could appear tender, her rosebud lips touched with softness. There was a time, some would say, that her voice was warm and full of life; and though no one believed it, that she used to laugh.
But today, there was no hint of softness, no trace of tenderness. Her eyes blazed like green fire and she pursed her lips until they became indistinguishable from her pale skin. The freckles she painstakingly tried to hide glared angrily across her nose and cheeks. No tears would escape her eyes, no quivering would touch her lips. She sat—cold and aloof—her gaze fixed straight ahead, glaring at the opposite wall of the swaying carriage.
A tendril of wild, flaming red hair brushed Rose’s cheek and she reached for it, stuffing it back into its rightful place in her intricate braids. As she did so, another rebellious pin came loose and more hair escaped. In a flurry of fingers, hairpins, and braids, Rose pulled her hair loose and let it fall around her shoulders and down her back. Her mane, as it was called, framed her face quite appropriately, and Rose felt a small sense of relief having set it free.
Maryann, her lady-in-waiting, cowered in the opposite corner of the carriage, risking a glance or two in Rose’s direction. During one of these surreptitious glances, Rose met Maryann’s eyes in a cold stare, and Maryann quickly dropped her gaze to her feet. Turning away, Rose looked out the back window toward the castle shrinking behind them in the distance. Immediately, she wished she hadn’t. Taking a deep, silent breath, Rose closed her eyes and blinked back rebellious tears—tears that, once they spilled, would only intensify her pain instead of release it.
Her hands, which clenched the ocean blue water silk folds of her dress, slowly relaxed. Soon, her eyelids drooped, the heaviness of the day finally weighing them down enough for sleep to come and provide a desperately needed escape.
The gentle rolling of the carriage became a dance as she dreamed. Behind her closed eyes, she saw Prince Kenton—the man she was supposed to marry until he decided to break off their engagement and marry a simple commoner instead.
In her dream, they were at the ball at his palace and he held her in his arms as they danced to the music—music that sounded too much like the jingling of horse reins. He begged Rose to forgive him for abandoning her, and he whispered beautiful, tender words in her ear—words she couldn’t quite hear, but knew they must be beautiful. Because he was beautiful.
She looked up into his eyes, but couldn’t see their blueness. She waited for her heart to pound, but it lay silent in her aching chest. In a very rude, abrupt change of scene that could only occur in a dream, she was pleading with him—pleading with him to love her, to come back to her.
“Rose, I would never be able to tame you,” he said.
Then, with a violent lurch, she fell backward into nothingness. She reached for Kenton, but he simply watched, quite calmly, as she screamed without sound—only emptiness and blackness to break her endless fall.
REVIEW: Who doesn’t love a fairy tale?! I remember my grandma weaving all sorts of retellings of the slew of them and we ate them like her porridge. One of my favorites was my The Beauty and the Beast. I fell in love not just with the hero but with the heroine too. For the longest time I wanted to be her and to experience the slow progression of friendship and finally love that was between the beast and the beauty. Oh, those were the days of our childhood…
See what happens when you read a retelling of a wonderful tale? You tend to slip into so many memories and that’s exactly what this author intended to do by writing this story. She takes us back in time of our youth and that is a great thing.
Even though this is a familiar tale, the author definitely made it her own and I found it not just unique but intriguing and humorous.
This is the perfect sweet, clean and fun romance for this time of year!
Melanie for b2b
Gift ARC provided by the author
AUTHOR BIO: Jessilyn Stewart Peaslee was born the fourth of seven children into a family of avid readers, movie quoters, music lovers, and sports fans.
Jessilyn graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in English, Her debut novel, Ella, was awarded the Silver Quill by the League of Utah Writers.
She loves going on dates with her husband and playing with her five, adorable, rambunctious boys. Jessilyn grew up in the beautiful high desert of Southern California and now resides in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. As you read this, she is probably folding laundry . . . or should be.