Thursday, April 9, 2020

"Befriending the Beast" by Amanda Tero

This book has a nifty premise:  what if the beast isn't a romantic interest for Belle, but instead is her father?  I really enjoyed that particular twist to this story, as it led the characters away from the "true love will cure your problems" trope and into "what does love between a parent and child mean" instead.

Amanda Tero couples that idea with the question: What if instead of having been changed into a literal monster, it's only his behavior that is beastly?  No magic curses here, but only a daughter whose mother died when she was a child.  Her mother's death drove her father into a deep depression, and she went to live with her aunt and uncle because of her father's emotional difficulties.

Belle is happy with her aunt and uncle, but she returns to the castle because she is convinced God wants her to try to repair her relationship with her father.  Her father doesn't even want to see her, and she spends most of her time trying to clear out and restore her mother's neglected rose garden or riding horses.  But when she suffers an accident, her father repents of his distant ways and healing begins at last.

This is a very sweet story, though it treads a little more lightly on the issues of emotional abuse than I would have liked.  Belle's father can be cruel to her, and I worry a little that children might read this and feel like they need to -- or can -- fix their parents behavior if they just pray and have patience.  Also, there was more decision-based theology about choosing to have a relationship with God than I could ever be comfortable with.  If you keep those things in mind as things to watch out for, however, you can enjoy a cozy afternoon with this lovely little book.

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: PG.  Clean and sweet, but with the above issues and some mentions of the loss of a parent and so on.

This is my 10th book read for #TheUnreadShelfProject 2020.

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