Last week, I got to have Adam Prince, one of the main characters from Finding the Magic, a novella by Jack Lewis Baillot over for an interview. Today, I get to fan-girl over this little Beauty and the Beast retelling.
I didn’t actually know this was a Beauty and the Beast retelling until I started reading it. I knew it was set in the WWII era, and honestly, historical fiction isn’t something I usually go seeking out. I believe this has something to do with the lack of dragons and magic. (Working theory).
However, I do love Ms. Baillot’s writing style, and I had been looking forward to reading this one, so when the opportunity arose to be part of her blog tour, I jumped at the chance! And I’m so glad that I did, because this story is absolutely precious!
Meet Belle Maurice, a young girl who has been shipped off to the home of a wealthy stranger in the country to get her away from the dangers of London during WWII. Belle’s own father is off fighting in the war, and while she misses her mother, her thoughts often center on her fears for her father. He taught her that there is magic to be found all around her, even in the most mundane of circumstances. But with him gone — and facing the constant danger of a soldier in war — can Belle hope to find that same magic anymore?
Adam Prince is as crotchety of an old gentleman as you can get. He hides in his mansion and broods, glaring fiercely at anyone who tries to get close to him. He terrifies Belle, but she also feels strangely compelled to befriend him. She can sense that there is sorrow behind his stern gaze and grumpy appearance, and she takes up the challenge of making him smile.
This novella is truly one of the dearest things I’ve read this year. Usually, short stories and novellas leave me a little deflated, wanting more, and frustrated that the story wasn’t novel-length. However, the brevity of this particular little tome just works. It underscores a simple plot with a heart of gold, and the characters — in spite of the short amount of time we get to spend with them — quickly become real as they step off the page and into your heart.
I loved that this was not the quintessential love story that Beauty and the Beast often turns into, at least, not a romantic sort of love. In spite of that, the story is very identifiable as a Beauty and the Beast retelling, and follows all the classic beats, but I got so wrapped up in the story that I didn’t recognize them until I was thinking about the book later, after I’d already finished it. There were moments that made me smile, and two scenes in particular that reduced me to tears.
If you love stories like “The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey,” “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” or “A Little Princess,” then this book is a MUST READ!
Five Dragon Eggs
And don’t forget, Ms. Baillot is running a giveaway consisting of a paperback copy of this lovely novella and a box of rose tea over on her Instagram Account, or if you don’t have Instagram you can leave a comment on her Blog. The giveaway ends on Dec. 14th, so make sure you enter soon!
But that’s not all, because Jack is also revealing the title of her next book…
Adam Clark has just returned from the war in Iraq. He has come home to a family which has rejected him and wants nothing to do with him. He feels all he has left is the house his grandpa left him and the God he put his trust in. Dealing with PTSD because of what he experienced in the war, Adam sometimes wonders how he will get through each day.
India Lee struggles with PTSD for different reasons. Suffering trauma from her past, India is often scared to leave her house. Depressed and lonely, her only companion is her older brother Jared and her only occupation her little flower garden. She doesn’t trust her new neighbor anymore than she trusts anyone.
Then comes the day when Adam steps outside his own shell to help India. A small act of kindness changes their lives and sets them on a path which could bring them healing if only they are willing to open up and face their broken pasts and their present pain. Their battles are long and frightening, but both believe God can bring them through the darkness until they see the light face to face.
Sounds like an amazing story!