Beauty and the Curse by Cathy Tully and KM Fawcett

BEAUTY
Beauty and the Curse by Cathy Tully and KM Fawcett
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (75 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Cursed by a jealous witch, wealthy recluse Anabel Charming is destined to grow uglier with each passing year. Only by having sex before her twenty-first birthday can this virgin’s spell be broken. Yet no man will agree to sleep with the humpbacked, pockmarked, one-leg-shorter-than-the-other “Freak of Park Avenue.”

When handsome Chase Singleton shows up on a quest to retrieve his grandmother’s long-lost talisman, which Anabel now possesses, Anabel is willing to give up the jewel…if Chase agrees to break her curse. With two days left before her chance at a normal life is lost forever, Anabel and Chase discover the reality of beauty, the power of sexual healing, and the meaning of love.

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but that sentiment doesn’t work so well for a woman who loses self-confidence every time she develops another disability or disfigurement.

It was interesting to see how the relationship between Chase and Anabel slowly develops. Their lives are so completely different from one another that at first I couldn’t imagine them being friends, much less anything more serious than that. The authors did a great job fleshing out both of their personalities, though, and I enjoyed discovering what they do share in common.

Many of the phrases in this novella were awkward. While none of the sentences contained serious grammatical errors, their words were arranged in ways that sounded odd when I read certain sections out loud. I was never quite sure if they were intentionally worded this way in order to mimic traditional fairy tales speech patterns or if the text would have benefitted from another round of editing before it was published.

By far my favorite character in this story was Chase’s grandmother. Her wry approach to the reality of living in a world full of magic injects much-needed humour into the plot, and her warm, loving relationship with her grandson reveals the tender side of both of their personalities. If the authors ever decide to write a sequel to this novella, I would be quite interested in hearing more about this universe from this character’s perspective. She’s experienced quite a bit in her long life and I get the impression that she has a lot to say about it.

I’d recommend Beauty and the Curse to anyone who loves modern-day fairy tales or a heavy dose of whimsy. There is plenty of both to be found between these pages.

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