"FINDING BEAUTY IN THE BEAST," by Jessilyn Stewart Peaslee, Sweetwater Books, 263 pages (f) (ages 13 and up)
With so many Beauty and the Beast retellings in the market it's hard to find a fresh version, but "Finding Beauty in the Beast" by Utah author Jessilyn Stewart Peaslee, has just enough twist, magic in the syntax and plenty of heart.
Love is in the air. Corbin is engaged to a beautiful woman and his best friend Will just married Ella, his true love. Then, in a matter of days, Corbin's engagement is off and he relocates to a different kingdom to try to get over it and figure out who he is without his former fiance.
When Princess Rose, who's also suffering from a broken engagement, forces every man in her kingdom to present her with a gift in order for her to choose a husband once and for all, she has a hard time getting a sincere offering due to her beastly reputation.
Corbin's humble present sparks something in the princess and they are married immediately, but in order to receive their happy ending, hearts need to be changed and mended.
Peaslee's prose is both classic and modern, providing a lush setting and a flowing pace for the familiar but fresh retelling. The fleshed out characters, both main and secondary, along with the romantic tension pull the reader through each backstory, plot twist and longing sigh.
The story doesn't have the ancient magic of the original tale, but the value placed on doing the right thing, second chances and forgiveness is charming on its own. The idea that who one is on the inside makes a beauty or a beast is an important one for all readers to remember.
While one doesn't have to read Peaslee's previous novels to understand or enjoy this one, "Finding Beauty in the Beast" does feature appearances by Will and Ella from Peaslee's Cinderella retellings.
Content advisory: "Finding Beauty in the Beast" has no language, no violence and mild kissing scenes.
If you go …
What: Jessilyn Stewart Peaslee book signing
When: Friday, Feb. 2, 10:50 a.m.
Where: Pleasant Grove Junior High School, 810 N 100 E, Pleasant Grove