Waterwheel Book Review : The Beast of Beswick

January 2, 2020

We're excited to be launching a new website feature at Waterwheel Gifts and Books: a book review! I'd love to say it will happen more than once a month. I'd love to say it will be once a week. But, let's be real...reading takes time and sometimes time is fleeting. And rare. So, I do promise to try as hard as I can to get them out as often as possible. So, without further ado, please enjoy our first review- The Beast of Beswick by Amalie Howard.

The Beast of Beswick_copy

Can we start with the cover. How gorgeous is this cover?! The reds are striking. Attention grabbing. Delicious! Gold lettering pops out at you. The tender embraces. It almost seems as if you could feel the velevet of the chair. The only thing that bothers me is that his body is supposed to be marred, scarred and all sorts of scary. I get that it may be hard to have found a cover model who exactly fit the character. But, maybe he should have worn a shirt then? But, I'm absolutely willing to overlook that because...hello!

The overall plot is a Beauty and the Beast retelling. And, I am definitely here for it! I love a hero who is beastly, both figuratively and literally. I'm tired of all the perfect pretty boy characters. Give me a scarred hero any day. Lord Nathaniel Harte, Thane, the Beast of Beswick survived a war, when he probably shouldn't have. His body bears the glaring reminder of what he went through at the hands of the French enemies. And, unfortunately for him, he was at the mercy of early 19th century doctors who hadn't fine-tuned their cautuerizing and stitching skills, which left him scarred, patched and feeling like Frankenstein. In fact, the author makes a blatant Frankenstein comparison at one point.

Lady Astrid Everleigh only wants to take care of her sixteen year old sister and to keep her safely out the reach of the devilish rake, Edmund Cain, Lord Beaumont, who also happens to be Thane's mortal enemy. She is not in the marriage market, due to her advanced age of twenty-five, and the fact that salacious gossip ruined her reputation nearly ten years before. But when she realizes that she is unable to protect her sister on her own, she runs to the help of theBeast of Beswick for help, by the way of his hand in marriage.

What I loved about this book:

  • Verbal sparring. Heck yes!! Astrid and Thane can't help themselves. They butt heads at every turn. They don't hold back. There is so much fire and passion behind their verbal sparring matches that I couldn't get enough!
  • Writing style. This was the first book I've ever read by Amalie Howard and I can definitely say it won't be my last! In fact, it seems like I have to wait forever for the second book in the series, as it doesn't come out until much later in 2020. The prose flowed beautifully. There were some words that were repeated a little too often within a few paragraphs (like "abrated"), but that didn't bother me overall.
  • Character development. I loved watching the transformation of both the main characters. But, I also loved how the side characters aided the growth of the mains. I hope that Mabel gets her own book. I'd be down for a Mabel/Fletcher romance.
  • A scarred hero. As I've already said, I can't get enough of nonperfect heroes. I love characters who are not physically perfect. And I love seeing them work through their insecurities and self-esteem issues only to come out stronger. Thane did not disappoint in that regard.

What I disliked about this book:

  • Astrid keeps referring to Thane as a "beast" even though she knows it bugs him. I get that she's not doing it with bad intentions. But, when he hates others calling him a beast, she probably shouldn't keep calling him that as well.
  • Astrid seems especially self-centered. Throughout the book, she keeps saying that everything she does is for her sister Isobel. However, she's never taken the time to really see her own sister. And I love that that is part of her character growth. But, it's almost too much. Even after (spoiler alert) she falls for Thane, she doesn't inform her sister and continues to play the martyr.

Would I recommend this book?

YES!

Despite my dislikes and what I found to be flawed, I LOVED this book! I will probably end up reading it again. I couldn't devour it fast enough. It kept me up late in the night reading. Then I picked it up early with my coffee. I'm glad I saved The Beast of Beswick for my first book of the new year and can only hope that the rest of the books I read this year are just as good!