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Beauty and The Best (Once-Upon-A-Time Romance)
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Beauty and The Best (Volume 1)
As young girls we are told fairytales. I remember listening to the tale of Sleeping Beauty via record while following along with the companion book. We have all watched, listened to, read or heard some variation of the tale of Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Beauty and the Beast and (of course through the creativity of Disney) countless other princesses. They have graced our lives with their heroing stories of evil step-parents, sea enchants, monsters, poison, inability to speak, curses, and so on. We watched (or listened) as they and their prince/ hero over came the obstacles that were placed before them. It didn’t hurt that most of the time they had a fairy god-parent/angel/bug (something magical) lending a hand or a wing..heehee!! In the end of each fairytale, the princesses were always rescued by the brave prince/hero. However, as the times changed so did our princesses…they began to rescue themselves with the help and support of their beloved.
As we (the little girls) grow up, we remember our cherished fairytales fondly but the evil step-parents, poison apples, and wicked witches are no longer the things that we fear most. I mean, sure, we use them as metaphors and as references when trying to explain to our friends how bad things seem to be..but they are no longer the worst things life has to offer. Today, we worry about losing our home because we still can’t find work…we lose sleep because we are awaiting test results and praying that they are negative for (insert disease here)…we wait up pacing waiting for our kids to arrive home safely because they are late for curfew… we are waiting with baited breath for our husbands, wives, sons, and daughters to come home from battle over seas…we are praying that we can continue on with our lives after our spouse has died and left us living and hurting. These are the real life stories…and anyone going through any of these things, or worse, would most likely pray for a fairytale of their own.
In Judi Fennell’s, “Beauty and the Best”, we are treated to a fairytale…adult style. In this lighthearted but emotional romance, we meet Jolie (our heroine) who has lived a hard life full of disappointment. Although, one would never know it by meeting her because the perpetually up-beat and happy Jolie keeps her pain behind an invisible wall that only she can see. Our hero, Todd, has been living in a self-imposed hell for two years since the death of his wife. He is heart broken, angry, and his mere existence is painful. For Todd, his life had always been about two things, his art and his wife. When his wife died, so did his desire to paint..so he has been colorless for two years…that is until he meets Jolie…
Ms. Fennell creates a story, a fairytale, for us (the big girls) to want to believe in. It comes with the fairy-godparents and a little bit of magic. The characters, both main and supporting, are real and lovable. The story is believable (maybe not the fairy-godparent part..but a girl can dream can’t she?!). Ms. Fennell’s characters (Jolie and Todd) have an amazing chemistry between them that is almost palpable yet at no point does the story become raunchy or crude. As I said before, this really is a Fairytale..and totally worth the read.
I look forward to hearing your opinion.