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Beauty in the Beast by Christine Danse
Romance, Steampunk, Shapeshifters, Fae
Ebook $3.99 (87 pages, CARINA PRESS)
Audiobook $4.95

Journeying by steam-powered sled to London's Frost Fair to perform, Tara and three friends are trapped in a blizzard in the woods. A gruff, handsome stranger offers them shelter—and wants one thing in return. Stories. The travellers are glad to oblige. Their host, Rolph, is especially captivated by Tara's story of an orphaned girl raised by the Fae in the world of the spirits. Equally intrigued by Rolph, and aware of an electric pull between them, Tara encourages him to share a story of his own. When Rolph weaves a tale of a man who is doomed by his own folly to turn into a wolf at the full moon, Tara suspects there is more than a grain of truth in his words. When the veil between the mortal and spiritual worlds is parted, and danger threatens, will Tara make the ultimate sacrifice to save Rolph? 29,000 words
Author Site: christinedanse.com

Multi-faceted, Engrossing Steampunk Romance (5 stars)

When their stomper breaks down in a blizzard a troupe of stranded entertainers finds themselves relying on the hospitality of a mysterious loner. Tara finds Rolph's enigmatic nature alluring as she and her friends trade stories for shelter in the storm. As she shares her tale of a girl orphaned and saved by the Fae, Rolph finds himself equally enchanted. But Rolph's somber trade, a tale of a man cursed to a beastly nature because of his own foolishness, does little to frighten her away.

Can two strangers who have seen the darkest consequences of mortal life be joined by more than mutual sorrow? If saving Rolph from his beast costs a priceless treasure will Tara be willing to give it?

If you love steampunk romances, Carina Press is the place to go. While mild on the steampunk elements they play an important part of this story's set-up. Though only novella length, there's a lot packed into this story. As each character shares their story there's a depth added. I tend to get a little blah in novellas without plenty of action but BEAUTY IN THE BEAST's action is very much in the subtleties as Tara and Rolph observe one another. I rarely like when characters have the sort of insta-love that comes with short stories but there's a smoothness to this one that was almost as satisfying as a full-length.

Once the action gets moving the pacing gets quick, bringing in the paranormal elements that seem to be a staple of my reading. It makes a rich blend and in the end this was a novella I couldn't wait to tell people about. While not a true Beauty and the Beast retelling, there's very little of the fairy-tale here, it's sure to entertain fans of such. The only thing I didn't like about this one was that it ended! I would very much enjoy reading more in this particular world Danse has created. Highly recommended to readers looking for a blend of romance, steampunk, and paranormal elements that enjoy novellas.

Other Reviews:
A Book and a Short Latte

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

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