I figured it was time I read a novel that follows my favorite trope of all time. I’ve had this one sitting on my Kobo for awhile, but I wanted to find a time when I could really sit down and sink my teeth into it. I finally did, and once my teeth were in, I did not want to let go.
A journalist looking to reestablish her reputation agrees to do a story on her hometown’s local hermit, a war veteran who hides himself away after losing an arm and half his face to an incendiary device. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.
Since I will never pass up a Beauty and the Beast story, I was already on this book’s side from the start. Savannah has returned home after the man she thought she loved in New York uses her and ruins her reputation in the journalism industry. She wants nothing more than to get back to doing what she loves, so when a paper out of Phoenix asks her to do a human interest piece under the possibility of being offered a job there, she jumps at the chance.
Asher has lived alone in his house for 10 years following the incident that left him disfigured, refusing to go into public to face the stares and reactions he gets from people. He’s also refused any help offered to him by the military in getting a prosthetic or having his face taken care of. The pain he went through in his initial surgeries after the incident was more than he wants to deal with again, so he spends his days reading romance novels, living vicariously through characters who have relationships he knows he’ll never have. His only tie to the outside world is his housekeeper and his grandmother’s best friend who stays with him…Miss Potts. No joke. That reference cracked me up!
It’s good old Miss Potts who talks Asher into Savannah’s proposition of an interview, and so he starts seeing her a few times a week to give her his story, a story which she tries to turn into exactly what the people at the newspaper want despite the fact that it’s not her forte.
Fairy Tale to Modern Tale
This retelling pulls in all the standard elements of the various stories and finds away to place them in a modern day setting. There’s the obvious disfigurement, but there’s also the way Asher is transformed, going from someone who has no interest in undergoing treatment to someone who wants to start living in the world again because of the effect Savannah has on him. There are the times when he drives her away with his temper. There’s also a bad guy who tries to get Savannah to sleep with him (trigger warning for attempted rape and rape themes). All of these references are there, but they’re not blatant or heavy handed.
Odd Ones Out
I loved that Savannah and Asher had a connection right from the start and were both considered town misfits.
Also, I liked how they both had things to overcome: Asher had to come to terms with the fact that Savannah wasn’t put off by how he looked, and Savannah had to overcome her fear of trusting someone with her love after what happened in New York. Besides that, she’s also dealing with the article she’s writing that’s revealing more about their relationship than she’d planned and trying to choose between her love for him and her desire to return to her career.
The Romance Factor
I was in full out heart feels mode the entire time I was reading ithis bot. The emotions of both Asher and Savannah are strong without going into cheese land, and their interactions are sensual. It was a non-stop trip of passion and sweetness between two lonely people and it fit the trope perfectly. 6/5
The Steam Factor
Sensuality is the key word in this one, and while there are quite a few sexy times, they’re not drawn out or detailed. I wouldn’t have minded having more detail to be honest, but what we did get was awesome. 4/5
This one is going on my “must read again” list because it has everything I want when I pick up a BatB story. I’ll be reading more by this author, especially the other modern day fairy tales she’s written.