Review: The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross

This book immediately caught my eye when it came across my desk for review. The cover is not only beautiful, but memorable and eye-catching. Plus it is marketed as a retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

I am of course a huge Belle fan and I was eager to jump on this one and made it my special Valentines Day read. Lately there has been a lot of interest in writing fairy tale retellings and I am one hundred percent on board with that!

The other thing that caught my eye was that it was more of a conventional retelling rather than having a modern twist or removing the ;magic’ from the story, this book stayed true to form by keeping the magic.


A sumptuously magical, brand new take on a tale as old as time—read the Beast’s side of the story at long last.

I am neither monster nor man—yet I am both.

I am the Beast.

The day I was cursed to this wretched existence was the day I was saved—although it did not feel so at the time.

My redemption sprung from contemptible roots; I am not proud of what I did the day her father happened upon my crumbling, isolated chateau. But if loneliness breeds desperation then I was desperate indeed, and I did what I felt I must. My shameful behaviour was unjustly rewarded.

My Isabeau. She opened my eyes, my mind and my heart; she taught me how to be human again.

And now I might lose her forever.

Lose yourself in this gorgeously rich and magical retelling of The Beauty and the Beast that finally lays bare the beast’s heart (summary from Goodreads)


The first thing that I noticed when I started reading was that it was a very wordy prose and it had a much darker tone than I was expecting from a fairy tale. Not that I was expecting it to be like the Disney version, but I wasn’t expecting it to be so morose. There is also a lot of inner-monologue which for me really slowed the story down.

In this book we get a lot of insight into the Beast’s psyche and loneliness in a way that I wasn’t expecting. He clearly self loathes to the extreme and is incredibly lonely, so much so that he has to lure a girl to his castle. So there is a lot of sad, lonely language and prose to built up and support this tone/feeling in the novel.

For me, I wanted something a little happier and less broody. I noticed that a lot of other reviewers felt the same and that they disliked the Beast because his character felt too dark or too uncomfortable and I would agree to a certain extent. I didn’t love him but at the same time I wasn’t entirely put off. There were a few things that made him sympathetic so those were the things that saved his character for me.

Overall, I felt a little sad that I didn’t love this one. I was poised to love it and wanted to gush over it based on the concept and cover design, but in the end it came in as just ok for me. I was invested enough in the story to keep reading but I wasn’t staying up into the late hours of the night to find out what happened next.

Book Info and Rating

Paperback, 416 pages
Expected publication: February 12th 2019 by Berkley (first published May 3rd 2018)
ISBN 0440001773 (ISBN13: 9780440001775)
Free review copy provided by publisher, Berkley Publishing, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 3 stars
Genre: fairy tale retelling, fantasy



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