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Becoming Beauty by Sarah E. Boucher
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Becoming Beauty

by Sarah E. Boucher

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I truly loved how this fairy tale turned out.

I feel that the author did an excellent job crafting and exploring the feelings of her protagonist. As the reader, I enjoyed learning about who Bella really was along with her own realization of her growth. I believe that is what Boucher excelled with, the growth of her character into exactly what the title promised--Becoming Beauty. I love books that teach you something about yourself with the character's evolution, and this book did that.

As the novel progressed, Boucher's writing did. She mostly definitely has a way with language, able to say the most beautiful things in the simplest way. And this novel was a quick read, a style of book I like. I prefer not to be bogged down by superfluous writing.

There where a few things that I wished wasn't so convenient. And I really wished Boucher had developed the relationship between the Jack and Bella a bit more. They had moments. But it wasn't convincing enough for me. I was rooting for him, because as the story progressed, the real truth of everyone's feelings only lent the story to turn out a certain way. And I knew that it would, and I wasn't let down. I only wished there was just a little bit more. Not saying that I wasn't satisfied . . . kind of like when your favorite tv shows ends after the first season and you wish it hadn't. But still, the enjoyment of the novel was in the beauty of the language. And I did love those few gripping scenes that caught my breath.

So in the beginning . . . I was not in love with the protagonist right away at all. She is such a spoiled brat. That being said, it was hard to bond with her. And I felt her character a little flaky. She wants riches and jewels, and yet because of her selfish nature, I found it hard to even believe her compassion for her fathers plight--which she caused!

The novel was a bit slow going at first. It did not dive into tension right away. I wondered where we were going in the first chapter. I didn't quite grasp the condition the family was in and was blindsided by how poor they actually seemed on the second chapter. The whole thing just didn't seem realistic to me. A few more clarifying details could have helped or maybe a bit more character depth.

Finally in chapter four I saw the real Bella. "I sighed, thinking longingly of the glittering jewels and rich fabrics that lent distinction and refinement to my features. Without them, I was ordinary." Truly, she thought she was just an ordinary girl because of being over shadowed by her sisters beauty. I wish I had understood that from the beginning, instead of thinking she was just a selfish brat.

Along with this new revelation, the story picked up. Maybe it was Bella getting her hands dirty, because we had hit some action and tension. What is the beef with her hairy master anyway? I found him intriguing. Who doesn't like a fixer-upper?

One third of the way through, the story is moving along. Bella is having mysterious dreams, which I really loved this aspect. (I also wished it could have brought a supernatural element between the connection of the two girls. But alas that might be for fan fiction.) I also feel like I may have misjudged Bella's character. Her heart is softening towards the beast.

And so jumping to what bugged me. Why the first scene in the first chapter? It doesn't seem to fit with Bella's character at all or the novel's feel. And as the novel continued, that is the main thing that bothered me, the ballroom scene. The book could have well enough started with the second scene. I kept thinking we would return to this other world that was introduced in the first chapter and this mysterious Mr. Mason. It really bothered me. It wasn't needed for her depth of character. It actually only confused me because I couldn't make the Bella in the rest of the novel fit into the introductory mold. I wondered if the author wrote it at the very beginning or very end of her novel writing and just shoved it on.

I would have started the novel from, "I slid my feet from my beaded slippers and rubbed them to restore circulation." The rest of the story flowed seamlessly from there and we saw plentifully into Bella's personality to render the opening scene unnecessary. So I guess that was only my major irritant.

So ending on a happy note. I loved the beasts physical transformation. Hair cut scene--awesome. I loved how Bella "manipulated" him into his transformation. I loved Bella's "everything" transformation and the fact that she took to her every day mundane tasks. I love that Jack was such a loyal friend and only wanted Bella's happiness. (The only thing lacking was depth in Jack :( )

This was a clean read. I think even I would be fine with my ten year old reading it.

Oh and one final thing, and you will have to tell me if you do the same thing. Every time I read the beast's voice, I read it in the beast's voice from Disney's Beauty and the Beast. It kind of killed me, and at the same time I liked it. But that is exactly how I pictured him. The soft, gruffy, but trying to be calm voice. Especially every time Lumiere tried to calm him down.

Well done, Boucher. Well done. I look forward to another. ( )
  LisaRector | Sep 28, 2017 |
4 STARS

This is a fresh slant on a old beloved tale of Beauty & the Beast. It worked really well. It kept my attention and me wanting to know how it all worked out. I really like Jack, & Cassie right off the bat. Bella & the Beast took time to become likeable.

Bella is the middle child. She is spoiled and wants to have new dresses all the time. She does not feel or act Beautiful. Bella is a daydreamer & lazy.

The Beast is not happy in fact he is full of angry. He lives alone except for Jack.

Cassie is Bella's older sister who is beautiful, talented and a hard worker. She is made to go to the balls with Bella. She always wears the same dress and draws all the gentleman to her.

Jack is the beasts friend since childhood. They learned lessons together. He won't be scared off like everyone else in the beast house.

Bella is pushed out of her house to take her father's place as a servant to the beast, because it is her fault the trouble her father got into. Her father is very sick.

It was hard to guess exactly how this story would work out. Did like the lessons that Bella and the Beast learned along their journey. This book is aimed at anyone who likes fairy tales like the Beauty & the Beast. It is a clean read.

I was given this ebook to read by Cedar Fort Publishing for the purpose of giving a honest review and being part of Becoming Beauty blog tour. ( )
  rhonda1111 | Nov 25, 2014 |
Bella has a dream. She wants to marry a man of means. Being a humble carpenter's daughter is not fulfilling. She wants jewels, dresses, and living in luxury. Her selfishness takes her father to the home of the "beast". Now she finds herself a servant to an ornery master.

As the book began I could see some similarities to the the Beauty and The Beast story that I was familiar with. The big difference from the start, that the main character in the other stories was selfless and kind. Bella in this version was greedy and grasping.

There were many twists on the original story. The beast is not the only character in need of transformation. To me this story represented the choices we have in our behavior. We can be ruled by circumstances or adapt and make the most of our lives in spite of circumstances.

I liked this original take on a well known story. Sarah Boucher has done a wonderful job at making the story her own. ( )
  Bookworm_Lisa | Nov 20, 2014 |
Bella has tried to live as charmed a life as possible. Although her father does not have a lot, she has managed to get as much as she can from her. Her beautiful sister Cassandra and her brother Aaron work very hard to help out. After going on a long trip, Bella's father returns with the beautiful bauble that Bella requested before he left. However, he obtained this jewel and was taken prisoner for the taking of it. Soon Cassandra and Aaron have decided that Bella should be required to repay the debt that her father made. Bella's life will be charmed no more as she's forced to work for a harsh man she knows only as the Beast.

I love fairy tales and fairy tale retellings, so I was excited to read this book. It was fantastic! It really drew me in from the start. To be honest, I didn't like Bella that much. She is incredibly self-centered and lazy. As she works off her debt to the Beast though, she really turns a corner. She begins to see how horrid a person she really was. More than that though, I think she gets a better idea of self worth. You can really feel how insecure Bella feels compared to her sister Cassandra. Bella has to work hard to find her own strength from within.

Of course, just because this is a familiar story doesn't mean that it goes where you think it will. It's not like a huge twist, but it's definitely a different approach. I liked that a lot though. Almost all the characters show a lot of growth through the story, which is great to watch. Not to mention there's also a good deal of humor. If you enjoy fairy tales with a twist, or even if you just like a good old-fashioned love story, this book will entertain from beginning to end.

Book provided for review. ( )
  l_manning | Nov 13, 2014 |
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Obsessed with landing a wealthy nobleman and escaping her humdrum life, Bella instead finds herself the captive of a man-like Beast whose repellent presence is only made bearable by Jack, the Beast's sole companion.

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