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Friday, May 18, 2012

Beauty is the Beast by Karen Wiesner

Beauty is the Beast by Karen Wiesner
From the Woodcutter’s Grim Series-Classic Tales of Horror Retold, Volume II
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (39 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 stars
Review by: Poinsettia

The final in a four-book miniseries within the Woodcutter’s Grim Series dealing with the curse on the Shaussegeny family. Very loosely based on Beauty and the Beast. The Shaussegeny family curse came with one final pronouncement: “And now there is but one manner in which this curse can be broken and obliterated entirely: That beauty falls in love with the beast and vice versa, that evil loves good and good loves evil. If this should happen, your family shall be released from each aspect of my curse and your alliance with evil shall be ended.”

When Ransom Shaussegeny attempts to cure the family of the curse they live under, he becomes a werewolf trapped in his beast form and isolates himself inside the family fortress. When he meets Tess Moore, a beautiful enchantress, and falls under her spell, Ransom no longer knows who or what is real—or whether the evil in Woodcutter’s Grim is about to have the last laugh by dooming him, the woman he loves, and his family for all time...

Will Ransom be set free by science or magic?

I’m glad Ransom finally got his own story. In the previous three stories in the anthology, he remained a bit of a mystery. I only knew that he was a scientist desperate to create a potion that would cure his family of the werewolf curse, and that he’s never left his family’s property for fear of contaminating anyone else, especially his chosen mate, with his curse. As I read, I discovered that Ransom is much more than a scientist. He’s a caring, sensitive man with amazing willpower. While the rest of his family embraces the curse of the werewolf, Ransom has been fighting it for over twenty years. It would have been so much easier for Ransom to embrace the curse, but he took the more difficult path. I admire his perseverance and dedication to his principles.

When a strange man stumbles onto the Shaussegeny property, his situation bears an eerie resemblance to the tale of “Beauty and the Beast.” Since Ransom is such a scientific and logical person, I did find it a bit odd that he would suddenly decide to go where the magic was leading him. After all, he’d spent his whole life resisting the magic and evil that surrounded Woodcutter’s Grim. However, this led Ransom into the interesting predicament of having to acknowledge that science might not hold the key to everything after all.

Tess brings out the best in Ransom. Though they met under less than ideal circumstances, they quickly begin to fall in love and have great chemistry. Like Ransom was at the beginning, Tess is very mysterious. The truth of her past isn’t revealed in full until the end of the story. I can’t give away any details without spoiling the ending. However, I will say that Tess’s history is a truly interesting twist that I didn’t expect.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Beauty is the Beast. Ransom’s happy ending with Tess is sweet and well deserved. Ms. Wiesner’s take on the classic fairytale was the perfect ending to this miniseries within the overall Woodcutter’s Grim Series. Anyone who enjoys fairytales that are a little different should certainly read Beauty is the Beast as well as the other stories in the anthology