I enjoyed this retelling so much, and the book cover is stunning! Not the temporary cover pictured in this post, but the actual finished cover. Yeva comes from a wealthy family. She lives with her widowed father and two sisters. Her relationship with her family is beautiful. They care very much for each other, and put the happiness of others before their own.
When Yeva's father makes a terrible mistake and loses their entire fortune, the family is forced to sell their belongings and move back to their small cabin in the woods. Her father goes out hunting to provide food for the family, but despite Yeva's protests, he does not allow her to join him even though she is an accomplished hunter.
Yeva's father begins to show signs that he may be going mad, obsessing over a creature he is hunting. When he goes missing, Yeva is determined to track him down and save him, leaving her sisters in the care of her fiancee. Solmir is such a good man. He's in love with Yeva, willing to marry her despite her loss of status and the family's circumstances, and more than happy to provide them with a better life. That little twist in this, tale as old as time, was a refreshing change.
When Yeva meets Beast, she is captured and imprisoned in his old ruined castle. At first she doesn't realize that the one helping her is Beast. She believes the man who hides in the dark and brings her food is her ally not her captor. In this version, Beauty believes Beast murdered her father and she is out for blood! This Beauty is angry, calculating, and determined to kill the beast.
The romance takes it's time and when Beauty finally leaves Beast she never promises to return. I began to wonder if she ever would return to him. This is the first Beauty and the Beast retelling, I personally have read, where the author addresses Stockholm Syndrome. A friend of Beauty confronts her and discusses the fact that maybe what Beauty feels towards Beast is a psychological effect of the abuse and imprisonment using an example of a man who beat his wife, but the wife continued returning to him. I was impressed with the author for including this scene.
Beauty and the Beast has always been one of my favorite stories, and this was an enjoyable retelling with interesting, and at times, shocking twists. The ending had a lovely moral, which I will let you discover for yourself if you decide to read it. I look forward to reading more of Spooner's work.