If you hadn't guessed it from the title, Bella and the Beast is a historical romance with a Beauty and the Beast fairy tale influence. It's the fourth book in the Cinderella Sisterhood series by Olivia Drake. I am a huge lover of fairy tales, and Beauty and the Beast was my favorite for quite a long time. When I got the chance to review this book I was pretty excited!
Bella Jones is a 29 year old spinster who has been raising her 15 year old twin siblings since their mother's death. Her family has been living in Persia because her father is an archaeologist. Bella has helped her father and the exotic is something she has always loved. Unfortunately her father has also now just passed away. On his death bed he tells her of a treasure and to go back to England and Aylwin to find it.
Miles Grayson (the Duke of Aylwin) is a beast of a man. He's not beastly in the sense of his appearance, but in his personality. He secludes himself in his home studying the Egyptian artifacts he brought back from his father's expedition there. He has some deep animosity for Bella's father who had also been in Egypt.
With the help and urging of the Countess of Milford, Bella applies to Aylwin to assist him in his endeavors with his Egyptian collection. Aylwin agrees with the goal of learning about what happened back when they were children in Egypt. She is trying to find the treasure map. The two butt heads quite a bit, until little by little they start learning the truth about each other. Though they both don't think it possible, a romance grows.
Bella and the Beast was very well done for a retold fairy tale. There was just enough influence to give it the magic feeling, but the story was unique. I was impressed with Bella's resolve through out the whole book. She had a lot of responsibility. It was endearing to watch Miles' beast-like nature shed away to reveal a very loving man. This was the first Olivia Drake book I've read and I now have the rest of the Cinderella Sisterhood series on my to read shelf! So glad to find another author to obsess over!
**ARC provided by Publisher**