Beauty in the Beast by Christine Danse

This story was written in the first person.

Tara Cooper and three of her friends; Frederick, Miles, and Elizabeth; are on their way to London’s Frost Fair. They don’t have much luck since they are traveling by sled during a snow storm. They let us know that they are entertainers who were going to perform at the fair. Tara has a sense for things and she senses that there is something dark out there. They decide that they need to seek shelter.

The house that they stop at belongs to a trapper and his name is Rolph. In appreciation of Rolph’s hospitality, they suggest telling him some tales. Beth is first and tells a tale using her puppets. “Beauty in the Beast” is set around the time that the automatons were in their heyday. http://cnettv.cnet.com/av/video/cbsnews/atlantis2/cbsnews_player_embed.swf If you watch this video, you will have an idea of what they do.

Tara is the next to tell a tale – a fae tale. She also asks Fred to provide some music. If you feel so inclined, you may want to put on some nice soft instrumental music while you read her tale. Her tale also has a lesson to it. After Tara’s story, it is then Mile’s turn. His tale also involves the automatons. If you want to read something about them, you can start at Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automaton, and you can always stop by your library and see if they can give you any more information.

After Miles finishes his story, Tara asks Rolph if he has a tale to tell. His story is about alchemy. His story is dark compared to the other tales. Once all stories had been told and they ate Rolph’s stew, they proceeded to go to bed – all except Tara and Rolph that is. In the morning, they find that in order to fix their stomper they must travel into town.

I love how Christine describes the shop that Tara goes into. By her descriptions, I would be like a kid in a candy store. I would love to know if those types of stores still exist or at least be able to travel back in time to visit one.

That evening Tara and Rolph have an intimate moment together and Tara finds out what Rolph really is. No I’m not going to tell you. You will have to read this story to find out. And believe me you will want to read it. It’s the perfect story to read if all you have is a little time and want to read something great. It is a romance but it’s also something more. The romance is not what the story fixes on. It fixes itself onto the characters. I was almost sad to come to the conclusion. I wanted to read more of Tara and Rolph’s story.

I give “Beauty in the Beast” 4 1/2 stars.

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