Publish date June 21, 2016
If you’re not familiar with Lecia Cornwall’s Highland novels, Beauty and the Highland Beast is a great way to start as it’s a stand alone story. Ms. Cornwall’s dedication “To all those who have suffered, endured, survived, and made the world a better place by doing so.” sums up this book nicely.
Like most good Fairy Tales, Beauty and the Highland Beast is set in the early 16th Century, when healers could be thought of as witches, birth defects a sign of a demon, and people and rulers feared God without doubt.
Cornwall starts this tale with ‘the setup’; handsome son of the Clan Chief is brutally injured, mentally unstable. The hook is the not so faire maiden and her more than faire sisters. Of course fairy tales need a witch, so does this one- Moire o’ the Spring, an older women whom I pictured like Disney’s witch whom hands out shiny red apples to unsuspecting maidens: light complexion, grey/white hair, dark clothes, and arthritic fingers.
The tricky part of this crafty tale is whom is Beauty and whom is Beast? Typically, the beast character is portrayed as either animalistic in physicality, deed or mind. So not to give anything away, I’m not going to say to much on this, but let’s just say this tale has a twist.
Something which brings me back to Cornwall’s books are her three dimensional characters written with spirit, spunk and good ‘ol trepidation. Like most humans, we have our good days and our bad and so does Alasdair Og our hero and Fiona MacLeod the heroine. Both souls are misread, misinterpreted and misunderstood by most of the supporting characters, but then again, it’s the 16th century so readers will need to remember this if you typically read 1800’s – present day genres.
There’s one more very important minor character which I must mention as he’s a major player- Beelzebub, the cat. If this were a play, the cat would upstage the actors and the audience would be waiting with baited breath (after getting their wind back from hysterical laughter) for Beelzebub to show up again. In my mind, the measly $3.99 you’ll pay for this novel is worth it just to read about the cat, but have no fear ladies there’s plenty of hot, handsome highlander to dream about.