Book Description: A faded matron and a blinded musician… but which is the Beauty and which is the Beast?
Twice-widowed Arabella Mayor has made a place for herself and her son in Everland, selling and lending her beloved books to other bibliophiles in the sweet town. But she’s running out of money, and ten-year-old Eddie is giving her fits, and their future is uncertain. Re-marriage might have once been an option, but Arabella knows she’s past her prime, and isn’t the Beauty she used to be. And as her beauty faded, so did her worth. What does she have left?
World-renown violinist Vincenzo Bellini is at ease with his carefully cultivated reputation of a beastly recluse. After all, the fewer people looking at his hideous scars, the better. Ready to retire, he’s trying to hide in Everland, but doesn’t count on the townsfolk being so curious… especially a particular bookseller who reminds him of the life he abandoned long ago. Can he teach her that worth isn’t tied to their appearances, or will he have to abandon his plans for a future here in Everland?

I received this book in my book box and thought that it sounded like an interesting take on the Beauty and the Beast fairytale. I thought that it was a fun take on the story and enjoyed it. I think there were some parts of it that annoyed me and made me not like it as much. I felt that Belle would never have been so into her looks even if she had married a husband who thought that way. Now I know this is a retelling, but I felt that Arabella was not as strong of a woman as Belle was in the original. I also got really annoyed with her saying “oh poot” all the time.

I liked the idea though that this place is where fairytale characters come, and seem to find their happy ending. Arabella’s first husband was believed to have been killed in the war and she came to live in Everland with her second husband and her son from her previous marriage. Vincenzo was hurt in a war and left his first wife because he didn’t want her to see the monster he has become and after traveling the world as a musician has settled in Everland to be all by himself. However, Arabella and Vincenzo start up a deal with her reading to him and he teaching her son music lessons. They both start to fall for one another but feel that it isn’t right. I just kept going oh come on give in you can be in love with someone new! Then bam you find out the secret that they have actually already been in love when they were younger.

I thought the surprise of who they actually were to each other was a good twist on the story. I like that they end up saying that they might not be the people who they used to be but they love each other all the same as the people that they have become. I really thought it was funny when Arabella runs after him to the train station and is in her nightdress and hair all a mess since she was so careful about how she looked. It was interesting in the story to see the other fairytale characters that live there and think about how they interact with each other. I thought overall it was a pretty good retelling, but not my favorite.

Book Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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