Friday, 17 February 2017

A Re-telling of Beauty & The Beast.

Reviewed by Fran.

Stepping into the realm of fantasy fairy tales one never knows what is lying in wait, more especially when beloved fairy tales are re-vamped, literally with a vampire theme, or the fairy tale steps to the dark side of circumstance, disaster, and desire for something that eludes the dreamer: let alone the reality of isolation and loneliness of a reclusive lifestyle. The latter is where Rachel Demeter has picked up and run with the tale, Beauty & The Beast. Thus Prince Adam Delacroix, presents a more human side to his role as the beast, and one can almost hear the haunting threads of the theme song Phantom of the Opera echoing through the part ruined castle. Embittered, and no mirrors to reflect his appearance Delacroix exists in the dark shadows of his scarred memories and the world outside is a place where he will not tread, for to all intents and purposes he’s a dead man. Any visitors to the once palatial castle are afforded sharp shrift, nothing more, until one persistent visitor desperate and in need of shelter for herself and her father fuels Delacroix’s beastly side, which is his shield to protect him from his own and others’ emotions. Where the original tale portrayed the moral of kindness to others and brings with it warmth and understanding, this version edges much darker initially and I’ll say no more, else it will spoil the story.

Modern day readers will undoubtedly equate Delacroix’s problems in terms of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), and rightly so, but in the past historical wise and within the fantasy realm of his existence he is looked upon as a freak show and mad eccentric, even by his most trusted friend-cum-servant. And therein doth lay another element to this story, for even the most loyal of servants can be tempted to the dark side! This is a beautifully descriptive work in which the reader is drawn into Delacroix’s dark world, and despite his harsh side one cannot but sympathise with his inner despair. Isobel, likewise traumatised by events that have led her to seek sanctuary at Delacroix’s castle, is running from a fate she regards as worse than death. And beware, for there are explicit sexual encounters that may be distressing to people who are averse to notions of cruel intent, but the anti hero is a cruel sexual predator and he is the chilling aspect of this book prior to the dawn of romance, and one man’s longing for sense of normality. This is a heart-rending story that will leave a lasting impression upon its readers.