Adult Book Review: Beauty's Beast by Amanda Ashley

Title: Beauty's Beast
Series: Standalone
Author: Amanda Ashley
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Age Group: ADULT
Genre Type:  Paranormal Romance
Publication Date: September 2nd 2014
Pages:  352
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Publisher: Kensington Publishing

Fair of face and figure, Kristine is young, innocent, pure. Yet she has been condemned to the gallows for killing a man. The only one who can save her is a lord so infamous that some say he is the son of the Devil himself...

And the Beast
Erik Trevayne is called the Demon Lord of Hawksbridge Castle, but few know of the curse he lives under. Or the terrifying changes slowly gnawing away at his humanity. When he weds her, all he wants of Kristine is a son. But when he beds her, a wild hope is born—that love that can tame even the most monstrous of beasts.

"A rutting beast you were, a beast you will become. Not all at once, my selfish one. Day by day, the change will come upon you, until you have suffered for every tear my daughter wept, for every drop of blood she shed this day."

Erik Trevayne is called the Demon Lord of Hawksbridge Castle for good reason. He is cursed by a witch to slowly turn into a "rutting beast." As he slowly loses himself to the curse and his humanity is slowly replaced by the very animal he is cursed to become, Erik decides that the curse may destroy him, but it can't take away his once secret longing, a family, a son to leave his legacy to. Donning mask and gloves to hide his changing appearance he seeks a bride from the only place left that a woman might agree to marry him-the gallows. Erik takes to bride Kristine in hopes of fathering a heir before madness and the curse takes him over completely. Once a loved husband, he lost his wife and son as childbirth took them both away and left him only with the dreaded curse placed on him by his wife's mother, the Witch of Cummerian Crag.

"I am to be the bride of Erik Trevayne, Demon Lord of Hawksbridge Castle."

Kristine is the innocent beauty who has been condemned to prison and waits as death looms near. When she is rescued by a mysterious stranger her hopes soar as she is given freedom in exchange for a price. She must become the bride of the Demon Lord and willingly submit in order to give him a heir he so desires. Sweet, beautiful and innocent, Kristine is not sure what fate is worse-death by beheading or as wife to the Beast.

Beauty's Beast  is very much a story about the tortured hero as author Amanda Ashley wraps this beauty and the beast inspired tale in dark, almost Gothic romantic overtones. Full of conflict, the romance is one of the wounded hero with dark secrets. Erik is brooding and at times the "rutting beast" with Kristine who is determined to uncover his secrets and win his heart. Our heroine may at first seem too weak and submissive (I did more than once want her to smack Erik upside the head or jump him and flip that missionary style around to her advantage) but it is her strength, loyalty and determination to heal this beast that rings true. The Beast, at once attracted and repelled by his almost uncontrollable desire for Kristine is filled with remorse as much as longing. She is his every weakness. He becomes her every desire.

I love a tortured, brooding hero and Erik was all that and more. The romance was an emotional roller coaster ride and reminded me somewhat of an older style, one usually found in the early 80sromances. I grew up on these as a teen, often*borrowing*them from my mom and loved every tortured hero I could get my hands-on. So, I have a soft spot for these escape reads. Beauty's Beast reads similar to one in style. The romance was dark at times, and NOT sugarcoated.

On a last note, I have to mention that my one disappointment was in the secondary characters. There's an odd wizard, and a family of werewolves that play a small part as well as the witch of Cummerian Crag. At times they felt out of place, even the witch who placed the curse. They all just fell flat for me, but that may be due to the fact Erik was such a strong character he overshadowed them.

My Rating: 3.5 Stars. I liked it.

PLEASE NOTE: A courtesy review copy of this book was provided by Kensington Publishing in exchange for my fair and honest review. Thank you Kensington Publishing the review opportunity!