Author: Elizabeth Darcy
Pen Name for: Nicole Ciacchella
Release Date: April 9th, 2012
Publisher: NPC Books
Pages: 216 (PDF)
Genre: Romance | Fairytale Re-telling | Fantasy
Series: Fairytale Collection
Read: from September 25 to October 5, 2012
Source & Shelf: Sent By Author | Kobo
ISBN: 1230000008625 (ebook)
I am a prisoner.
Born to power, the world was my playground. My every wish was a kingdom’s command, my displeasure every man’s worst fear. But then, at the whim of a merciless enchantress, all was stolen from me. My once lavish castle became my dungeon. My once-handsome form became that of a beast. There is no hope of release from the prison of my own body, for the only way to break this curse is to earn the love of another. I, who have never felt a drop of compassion, must hope to inspire devotion. I, who am hideous beyond compare, must hope to inspire passion. After hundreds of years, I have come to accept the truth: I will never know love. There is no escape for me.
I am a prisoner.
Born to two loving parents and a happy home, I was grateful for my good fortune. Though I was plain and prone to living in my head, forced to live in the shadow of my beautiful sisters, I had everything my heart desired. Then tragedy struck, and I lost my mother and my home. Papa was all I had left in the world, and I was utterly devoted to him. When his thoughtful gesture earned him the wrath of a horrible monster, I sacrificed myself for the sake of the one person I love. Now I am a prisoner in a decaying castle with only a terrifying beast for companionship. But I am determined not to give in to the beast’s wrath, to prove to him that he can never truly ensnare me.
Disclaimer: I received this book from the author, Nicole Ciacchella, in exchange for an honest review.
Oh my… this has to be my favourite re-telling of Beauty and the Beast.
This is, perhaps, one of the most solid versions of my favourite fairy-tale I’ve ever read. It has all the basis we all know of the tale so it’s not that an original story. However, what makes this story so wonderful is the way Elizabeth Darcy (pen name for Nicole Ciacchella) tells it by blending two distinct perspective into one narrative.
The Eye of the Beholder is told by both the main characters – Lysander/Edward and Mira. Each chapter is told by one of them, bringing us close to their deep emotions and thoughts and allowing us to know them better. It might sound too complicated but the writing, the beautiful writing, made it all so much easier and profound I felt such a huge connection to both, it’s hard to tell which one I like best – perhaps Lysander since I’m a Beast girl 🙂
The curse was cast due to Lysander’s ruthless and heartless self. He was brought up without a mother’s love and his father kept pushing him aside, not lingering around to see his son grow up and teach him what is love. Due to that, he becomes a cold king who rules by fear rather than by justice. One day a beggar is caught stealing bread for her starving children and is sentenced to death by Lysander/Edward. But what he doesn’t know is that the beggar is a beautiful enchantress and she punishes him by transforming him into a beast. All his servants must suffer with their master, being turned into a ghostly like figure with blank eyes and pale expressions.
Lysander has three hundred years to fall in love and receive love in return. If that doesn’t happen, he’ll perish as will all his servants. The population of his once great kingdom, Organdy, will forget him until the spell is broken. Until then, he has a magical pool where he sees time pass by and the evolution of the world.
Yes, it sounds too familiar and I think I might have written this with Beauty and the Beast by Disney prologue in my head.
Almost three hundred years have passed and Mirabelle (Mira) and her family lost everything and moved to Everforest. They live in a cottage near the forest, their lives simple and hard. Mira is the youngest of three daughters who lost their mother when they were young. Her two sisters are cruel, wishing only to be married to some wealthy man in order to get all they want, ignoring the hard work of their father and sister.
In fact, I hated Mira’s sisters so much I kind of wished they were turned into statues in the end. But, going a bit further now, I liked the fact that they had to see their sister marry a king and become queen and live with their jealousy.
Mira’s father goes to Swan Hollow to do some business and in the journey back, he comes across this huge and abandoned-like castle. When he leaves the place, he steals a single rose from the beautiful rosebush for Mira – who, when asked what she wanted, only said she wanted he’s safe return – and gets caught by Lysander. Mira’s father has only two options left: or he returns himself in a fortnight or one of his daughters comes in his place. When he returns home and tells his fantastical tale, Mira fells so guilty she goes in his place without his knowing.
Yah, so I think I’m telling a tale we all know but this is when things begin to get too excited and extremely interesting.
Lysander and Mira find in each other a friendship they never had. At first, he uses her as a pawn in his plot to break the curse, believing he can make her fall in love with him. What he wasn’t expecting was to fall in love with her and change his heart because of her. He begins seeing the world with different eyes, seeing that the world doesn’t move around him and he’s not its centre. On the contrary; for him, the centre of the world is Mira and Mira alone. He finally opens his eyes and heart and allows himself to feel the pain of love. He lets Mira go and accepts death with open arms.
His development was very well written as were his change of heart and mind. Nicole Ciacchella deepened his character and explored his feelings permitting us to see both his side: the beast underneath and the man trying to come forward.
As for Mira, her character was so smart, so strong and so human that each and every single feeling she showed was palpable. She has spent all of her life being “bullied” by her sisters, being pushed to the side and ignored. In the castle she found a friend and, though she had Lysander as a company, she found also a propose. Her restoration of the castle sounded, to me, a way for her to be part of it, to belong to the castle as a whole. And when she saw it was bringing something she couldn’t quite put a finger on, she had her first moment of true weakness and cowardice; she fled.
They were both very well written and developed. There was not a moment in which I wanted to shake them and yield at them. Their reactions and decisions were very human.
By the end of the book I was like this:
Sorry, I needed to use these two fellows here
This book is definitely a must read for all fairytale lovers. It’s Beauty and the Beast in its highest form; compassionate, breathtaking, lovingly and extremely caring. It’s smart, witty and beautifully written.
Since I loved it dearly, I asked Nicole when the book would be coming out in paperback – since she contacted me personally and sent me a digital copy of the book – and I was rewarded with 2013 as an answer. Now, whether it’s late 2013 or beginning, I don’t know but I’m glad it’s next year.
Now, I want to thank Elizabeth Darcy/Nicole Ciacchella for sending me a copy of the book and giving me the opportunity to read it first hand – meaning, reading it before it came out on paperback ’cause it’s available for kindle. I truly loved it so a billion thank you.
A Random Thing…
Why is that whenever I read a story based on Beauty and the Beast I always picture Belle (in this case Mira) as Emma Watson?!
Wait, right, I know; it’s because of this picture:
Even though in this story my imagination of Mira is slightly older, I’ve pictured my sweet and dear Emma the whole time.
So, Emma, if you don’t make a movie based on this fairytale, I’m going to be really upset, okay?!