Beauty Rebornby: Elizabeth Lowham
Fantasy and reality collide in this retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” about a young woman’s heroic quest to save herself.
Beauty’s life is the stuff of fairy tales. The youngest in her family, Beauty isn’t trying to catch Stephan’s eye. He is the lord baron’s heir, well above her family’s modest station, but when he kisses her hand at a party, Beauty is swept away by his charm, his wit, and his passionate declarations of love.
Hearts can be untamable creatures, especially when touched by the fires of first love, and Beauty doesn’t see the truth of Stephan’s intentions until it is too late. Until he stops asking for Beauty’s love—and simply takes it from her one night despite her refusal.
Beauty locks away the secret of what happened to her, and when her father emerges from the enchanted forest with a stolen rose in his hand and the tale of a vicious beast on his breath, Beauty seizes the chance to run as far from Stephan as possible.
She has some experience with beasts, after all. Certainly the one in the forest couldn’t be any worse than the one she’s already encountered.
Breaking the Beast’s curse might be the key to discovering her own path to healing—and finding the courage to allow herself to feel reborn.
"Lowham adeptly wrangles classic elements of 'Beauty and the Beast' to craft a sensitive and slow-burning retelling that tackles issues of sexual violence. Intellectual Beauty, who is still coping with having been sexually assaulted by her former suitor, a lord baron’s heir, secretly hopes the Beast will devour her, as she “would rather die” than have to face the suitor again. Instead, the magical, inexplicably empty estate provides an environment in which she and the Beast slowly develop a rapport through reading and philosophy. Beauty finds solace in the castle, and the distance from her family helps her reevaluate her complex relationships with them. Via intense flashbacks to Beauty’s life before living with the Beast, Lowham addresses Beauty’s harrowing history. While this lavish version of the original tale is comfortingly familiar, the creator’s narrative stands out in its portrayal of themes surrounding trauma and recovery alongside familiar musings on perceived differences between humans and monsters."