Rating: 4.5 stars
Beau is a street artist barely scrapping painting portraits of tourists by on the pier in Seattle. On a good day, he makes enough selling his portraits to get a room in a hourly motel for the night and some soup for dinner. And on the bad days? Well, the doorways of shops are his home and hunger his companion. On this night, Beau’s feeble luck runs out. He is late leaving his customary location on the pier and is making his way back the alleyway where he will sleep when he is jumped and brutally attacked by a gang of thugs. When Beau awakens, he is bandaged and alone in a luxurious bed unable to remember what has happened to him. Then a terrifying figure opens to the door to the bedroom. The man’s form is huge and formidable but it is what he is wearing on his face that frightens Beau. The man is wearing a hood and the mask of a wolf, all Beau can see are his eyes, eyes that ask Beau to trust him.
When Beau can talk, he finds out that the man rescued him and brought him home to heal from the attack. When asked his name, all he says is to call him “Beast” because that is who he is. As Beau heals, the two men grow close but the “Beast” will disclose little of who he is. Beau yearns to know more about the man behind the mask, the man he is falling in love with. When faced with the reality behind the Beast’s mask, will the burgeoning love Beau feels for the Beast be destroyed or is beauty truly in the eye of the beholder?
Beau and the Beast is Rick R. Reed’s version of the timeless tale, “Beauty and the Beast,” by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont. Rick R. Reed has remained true to the original story while still putting his own touches to a tale renown for its storied love affair and message of the heart. The concept of love being so strong that it can overcome all obstacles including a hideous visage is so profound, so awe inspiring that we have seen version after version of this fairy tale, from the animated Disney movie to the wonderful television series Beauty and the Beast from the 80’s. Now Rick R. Reed adds his book to the list of renditions and it is a most welcome one.
Reed’s love for this story carries through his version in every aspect. The author depicts Beau’s harsh life with vivid descriptions, bringing us close to the young artist barely making it through life. And Reed’s Beast is both enigmatic and majestic beneath his wolf mask. The author’s gifted narrative pulls in the reader so throughly that you can feels the loneliness of the lives they lead and how fear is keeping them back from the love they are starting to feel for each other. It is so easy for their emotions to become yours. Rick R. Reed’s Beau and the Beast is both haunting and lovely, doing more than justice to the original that inspired him.
I have read other books by Rick R. Reed but this is the first that I have reviewed, a fact I can’t understand as I have always enjoyed his writing. So look forward to more of this author’s works to be reviewed here. They range from the humorous to the dramatic, and I will be reviewing both. If you are not familiar with Rick R. Reed, definitely start here. You won’t be sorry. My only quibble with this story is I wished for much more as it is only 62 pages long. A perfect length, however, for a winter’s eve or afternoon before the fireplace, to revisit a fairytale reborn once more.