Genre fiction lover: Romance, Sci Fi, Fantasy, Mystery, Urban Fantasy
So... you know Beauty and the Beast? The Disney version with Belle? Well this book is like that.
Except darker, more twisted, more atmospheric and in stereo!
You have two beauties and two beasts. A father-son duo living in a cursed castle for hundreds of years, suspended in time. They also have a small coterie of retainers who have lived with them for all that time, helping them through the ravages of the curse.
Gavin, the son, who is less affected than his father can actually travel away from the castle and live a semblance of a regular life. But the curse still affects him so he periodically must return back home while the curse (which ebbs and flows like a malevolent tide) is at its height each month.
It is during one of his sojourns outside that he meets the breath-takingly lovely Cinnia. Cinnia is the hands down prettiest, most loveliest woman anyone has ever had the fortune to look upon. She's also rather nice. She and Gavin fall in love and Cinnia runs away from her family to be with him back to his cursed castle.
But Cinnia has a widowed older sister named Louvaen who, after discovering Cinnia and Gavin gone is all "Oh hell No! I know that trifling ass did not just come up in here and steal away my sister!" So with the help of an enchanted letter (thanks Cinnia!) that will lead Louvaen to her sister (CInnia does know her sister well), Louvaen sets off after the pair of lovers.
Once there, Louvaen gets a load of what is going on with the curse and is all "Well, hell!" but she is determined to chaperone her sister until Gavin does the right thing and puts a ring on it. In the meantime she meets the master of castle, the Big Beast himself, Ballard, Gavin's father. She is not afraid of him (he's a lot more affected by the curse than Gavin is). In fact she all "Dude, just cuz you're under a curse doesn't mean you have to be all menacing and such. Here cut your nails!" He likes her moxy!
So the book has two romances. The Gavin/Cinnia one is sweet if not very interesting although it is nice to see Cinnia move from under the simple 'beautiful girl' label and get some grit as the book goes on. But it is the Louvaen/Ballard romance that is the heart of the book. He is a little like the Disney Beast -- gruff & scary and a little scared. But also he was a warrior who is often reflective of his life and the choices he made that led to the curse. I liked that aspect of him. Louvaen is also a tough cookie. She is totally a "I will cut a bitch!" character. She is not hard, but she is the type of woman who gets shit done. I loved her. I also loved the scenes of the two of them, very well written scenes that built a lovely romance.
Even as the two couples fall in love, there is also the problem of the curse. How to break it. And then there is a villain. Yes, this book has it's own nasty version of Gaston. They have to deal with a suitor of Cinnia's who doesn't take being thrown over lightly.
I enjoyed the heck out of this book. It was atmospheric and romantic and filled with interesting characters. All the castle folk are interesting and full bodied. I especially liked Louvaen's snippy relationship with Ballard's magician.
Really good book!