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            Susan Wilson
            Fiction - Romantic Fiction
            Reviewed By: Carrie
            Review posted: 01/09/04

            If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say there are at least 9 billion reviews out there that use words like “charming” “poignant” “touching” and the like to describe the book being reviewed. Normally these words are the equivalent to saying “trite” “over-emotional” “predictable” and “cloying.” But to my surprise I’ve found a book that really is poignant, charming and touching without being a long, drawn out and painful cliché.

            This astonishing book is Beauty by Susan Wilson. I stumbled across this little book while browsing in my dismally small local library. It was a rewrite of one of my favorite fairy tales of all time, “Beauty and the Beast.” Of course I couldn’t resist, so I added it to my pile and promptly put it aside when I got home.

            When I picked it up today, I was immediately enchanted. The story drew me in speedily. This novel is skillfully written. Prior to my accidental encounter I had not read any Susan Wilson, nor had I heard of her, which I now consider to be my loss.

            Despite the familiar contents of this tale, Wilson manages to introduce new twists and turns in every chapter. And while she keeps the novel short (just 200 hundred pages) the characters and plot are well-developed.

            Wilson does not struggle here to write a novel that will impress the critics, or take it’s place among the great novels of the time. Instead, she has produced a genuinely likable tale, a genuine pleasure to read.

            This is not a fantasy novel, but a contemporary tale of love and romance. Lee and Alix, her main characters are neither utterly perfect nor utterly imperfect, making them believable and human.

            It is difficult to say much about the book itself without giving everything away, and those of you who are saying – “please, it’s a rewrite of a fairy tale, what’s to give away?” will be amazed by the fresh outlook Wilson introduces. This is a tale where it is not only Beauty who must love the Beast, but the Beast who must learn to love himself.

            I guess I could have saved us all the trouble of me writing, and you reading this review with 3 simple words. “Read this book.”