Reviewed by Sandra Scholes
This novel serves as the last in the four book mini series of Woodcutters Grim which has the curse on the Shaussegeny family as the main arc of the story.
As the others are roughly based on popular fairy tales, this one deals with Beauty and the Beast. Here Ransom Shaussegeny decides once and for all to try and get rid of the curse on their family forever, but it will be a tricky task, and one which has its pitfalls. One of them is that Ransom is cursed with becoming a werewolf when the full moon rises in the heavens and life as a ravening beast isn’t the best he can hope for.
Shaussegeny finds himself amazed that he might believe that a kiss from a woman might save him from the curses grip, but even he thinks it is nothing but fairy tale nonsense – until he has the chance to have the one woman who could be his own.
Beauty is the Beast follows a similar story to the original fairy tale as a man who intends to take a rose for his daughter has to make a deal with Ransom so he can have his daughter when the time is right.
From the first few pages there is a nod to Glynnis Shaussegeny and her new husband which formed the sixth in the Woodcutter Grim series of novels previously. Beauty comes in the form of Tess, the old man’s unfortunate daughter, who turns up at the Shaussegeny family house. Ever since the old man had come to his house wanting the rose he had cultivated, he had never imagined that Tess would come, but he finds out his father didn’t have to send her to him-she came of her own free will, and being a lover of plants and flowers, she couldn’t stay away as she has a great fondness for all flora and fauna of every kind and she is fascinated by them as she ends up being fascinated by him.
Unlike the Beast in the fairy tale who wanted a woman through his own selfishness, and didn’t think that it would lift the curse, Ransom is well aware that she could be the one to lift the curse from his family if she is a willing woman.
As in this excerpt he feels he might be asking a lot of her to tolerate:
“A monster, that’s what I am. She’ll never know who and what I really am. I can’t allow her to see me that way. I have to trust in science. The new formula I’ve created has to be the one. It’s shown more promise than anything else has before. Under the full moon at the end of this month, I’ll inject it and, if it works, everything will change. Tess and I will be free to fall in love without the curse hanging over us.”
Even though this is a novel where the characters have their problems, everything can be worked out for the better, and it ends up being an interesting and compelling retelling of a popular fairy tale.