Genres: Historical Romance
Beauty and the Beast meets Taming of the Shrew in this laugh-out-loud and heartfelt Regency romance.
Lord Nathaniel Harte, the disagreeable Duke of Beswick, spends his days smashing porcelain, antagonizing his servants, and snarling at anyone who gets too close. With a ruined face like his, it's hard to like much about the world. Especially smart-mouthed harpies—with lips better suited to kissing than speaking—who brave his castle with indecent proposals.
But Lady Astrid Everleigh will stop at nothing to see her younger sister safe from a notorious scoundrel, even if it means offering herself up on a silver platter to the forbidding Beast of Beswick himself. And by offer, she means what no highborn lady of sound and sensible mind would ever dream of—a tender of marriage with her as his bride.
*ARC provided by Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review*
I’ll start off this review by saying, it has been a long time since I’ve read a Historical romance. I have nothing against them, it just sort of fazed out of my reading list after a while. When I read the blurb for Beast of Beswick though, it stirred something in me to pick this up and I’m so glad I did. This for me was very much like a Beauty and the Beast story but in this case, our Beauty is trying to protect her younger sister instead of her father, in a historical romance setting with a modern, feminist twist.
Lady Astrid Everleigh is determined to protect her little sister from her conniving Uncle as he tries to marry her off to the highest bidder, especially since it is the man who ruined her reputation with lies. Her ex-fiancee is still looking for revenge after she shunned his advances before their marriage and if it wasn’t bad enough that he spread rumors about her after the marriage was called off, he tries to ge this claws on her little sister, Isobel. Desperate, she takes Isobel and tries to convince Lord Nathaniel Harte, the Duke of Beswick, to offer them refuge in exchange for marriage. But Thane is very much a beast and scoffs at the idea. Who would want such a heavily scarred and disfigured man? After coming home from the war, Thane is bitter and angry at the world for all he has suffered and his only joy is to destroy his dead father’s precious antiques that he loved more than his own family. He initially sends Astrid and Isobel away but the stubborn beauty is having none of it and inserts herself into his life where he ends up reluctantly agreeing to help. As Astrid begins to see behind the scars to the man Thane once was, it is a battle to get him to see himself. He hears the whispers of the others in the ton and can’t bear to be outside and have others see him, but his desire for the sassy Astrid grows and it’s hard to resist her prodding when she tries to get him to act human again. These two continually butt heads, with him trying to resist and Astrid stubbornly refusing.
I loved Astrid’s character as she is a strong and intelligent woman for this time period and isn’t afraid to do whatever she must to protect her sister. I loved Thane who, even with all his mental blockades, does try to step out into the real world again. I felt sad for Thane not being able to see past his scars, or how his family was so cold to him that he didn’t think he deserved to be happy or have Astrid in his life. Suffering physically and emotionally, it takes a strong woman like Astrid to make him open up and see that he’s more than what’s on the outside.
I think if you are looking for a very traditional historical, this probably isn’t it. I loved it because it was historical, but with modern touches. Astrid is very smart, having an actual education and not just how to be a perfect wife and sew some clothing which would be the traditional part for that era. She talks back to Thane and treats the servants like human beings, bringing light and happiness to those around her. She is fierce but knows that she is a woman that needs a man’s help if she’s to save Isobel and yet, her sister ends up saving herself because she’s just as fierce and determined. This is a time period where being a woman was a hindrance, not a strength, and yet they try to overcome it. Thane is still a strong presence and without him, they definitely wouldn’t have succeeded as he is one to be feared but his role is not that of hero to save the little woman, but to assist with them saving themselves. Astrid and Thane are both strong characters and I loved reading about them.