This modern re-telling of the Beauty and the Beast Fairytale is the story of Lt. Christopher Jameson AKA Beast, a Marine born with a severe facial deformity.
Award winning author Pepper Pace gives us an enticing twist with the introduction of Ashleigh, a plus size beauty with identity issues. This adult romance will leave you questioning the definition of beauty.
Adult themes include: sex and language and is intended for adult readers only.
Romance books have gotten me through quarantine. I usually don’t read romance. Many times it’s the typical archetypes and tropes. However, Beast was a welcomed break and palette cleanser from all the heavy non-fiction books I have been reading. I stumbled upon Beast on Goodreads when I was looking for something to read. Based on the description of being a retelling Beauty and the Beast. Immediately, I was taken in by Pepper Pace’s writing. The writing just flowed and felt natural.
In Beast, we are introduced to Ashleigh, the beauty, who is a plus-sized woman who seemingly has it all together, but that is not the case at all. She works at the federal building and it has a gym in the basement. Ashleigh begins to exercise every day to the chagrin of the very muscular Lt. Christopher Jameson, aka Beast.
Beast, is a giant of a man and a Marine stationed in the sub-basement of the federal building (very top secret). Many of the federal building employees do not know about the marines working out of the sub-basement. Well, Christopher likes to workout, it’s even part of his job. Christopher is always shielding his face with a hoodie because of facial deformity. However, Christopher knows how to make a great workout mixtape. Even though Christopher is horribly disfigured he is the sweetest and gentlest person you would ever meet.
Once Christopher and Ashleigh get together the reader is taken on a whirlwind romance. Also, on a journey of acceptance with both characters. Each character has to accept themselves and each other for who they are and what they look like.
I liked many things about the book. Let me list them:
Based in Cincinnati, my hometown, and I understood all her location references. Even the Kentucky ones because of Cincinnati is right at the border. My family is from Kentucky too.
Plus-size protagonist, very relatable in her struggles. Especially when people say, “You will be really pretty if…”
The interracial relationship is shown in a very positive light.
Christopher accepted Ashleigh at her heaviest and slimmest. He never pressured her to lose weight.
The juxtaposition of families; Christopher’s all white, Appalachian, live in the mountains family was very accepting of Ashleigh even though she was black. However, Ashleigh’s family was cold and isolating to her mainly because of her weight but then bringing home a white man.
Christopher’s music playlist that Pepper Pace highlighted during the workouts. I want to try Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon with the Wizard of Oz.
Ashleigh and Lance loved John Hughes’s movies. I love Pretty in Pink, Breakfast Club, and Sixteen Candles.
It was great Ashleigh and Christopher shared the same interest but willingness to explore other interests.
I appreciated the introspection Ashleigh and her best friends had with each other. Their friendship demonstrated maturity.
I think overall that is what I liked most about this book. It was grown. The characters developed and showcased maturity throughout.
There was very little that I didn’t enjoy about the books.
A few times there was a lot of angst between Ashleigh and Christopher.
The expediency of their relationship. Everything happened very quickly. I guess when you know you know.
Most like a copy editor oversight but continuity of names. At times Jameson was spelled different ways. Additionally, the dead brother’s name going from Walt to Wayne interchangeably.
This book was a nice respite from my heavy reading lately. It made me hopeful because it was so relatable.
If you are looking for a quick read with romance, the theme of acceptance, kick-ass music, and steamy sex scenes. I highly recommend Beast by Pepper Pace
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