Written | Cassandra Briones
In today’s society, fairy tales are what Disney has shown us: stories that are twisted away from the original writings of the Brothers Grimm and various others. Don’t get me wrong; the Disney versions of events are more friendly compared to the Old World stories, but sometimes you need a more realistic telling of those tales. One author I have found who does just that — taking all of these classic stories and breathing new life into them — is K.M. Shea.
Shea has a multitude of books to her name, all of which are published in the Amazon Kindle store. The first series of books that hooked me on Shea as an author is the “Timeless Fairy Tales.”
These books are a reimagining of the classic stories that everyone knows and loves. They stay true to most of the lore and are given due diligence to their origins with a decent smattering of new ideas. It follows into all the books of the series, including Cinderella, Puss in Boots and Rumpelstiltskin.
The tale that begins this saga, however, and captured my attention, was the story of Elle, who crashed into the life of a cursed prince.
“Beauty and the Beast” is the first book in an ongoing series based in a world where magic is a well known entity. A broken leg is what begins this epic retelling of a story most people know and love. This is the first wayward change among many that set this book apart. Even so, the plot remains the same: servants striving to get their master to fall in love and break a curse. The begrudging friendship — and eventual love — is a mainstay of any version of Beauty and the Beast.
As everyone knows, in the Disney adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, the rose plays a major part in the storyline. Here however, it is not as big a plot device. Yes, there are mentions of roses, but it’s more of an ongoing motif. Another peculiar thing that really stands out is the “castle,” which in this case is a chateau with a distinct lack of singing and dancing furniture. The servants still are cursed, albeit in an atypical way, they can’t talk and communicate only through writing. A major plot twist centers around Elle and is so far away from what everyone knows, I was dumbfounded when I read it. No major spoilers, but here is a very brief summary taken from the book.
“Beauty and the Beast is a retelling of the traditional French fairy tale. It is a story of adventure and prejudice set in a fantasy land lush with magic, assassins, princes, castles, and curses. Filled with humor, deceptions, and clean romance, it belongs to the series Timeless Fairy Tales” (Amazon.com).
The fundamental differences between Disney and Shea is refreshingly new. As it goes, I immensely enjoyed this book and all the rest in the series, Cinderella especially. The way Shea builds her characters and connects each story to a previous one is inspiring. If this sounds like something you would enjoy, I encourage you to give it a read.