Blurb: Althea Stanwick was a perfect lady destined to marry a wealthy lord, until betrayal left her family penniless. Though she’s lost friends, fortune, and respectability, Althea has gained a scandalous plan. If she can learn to seduce, she can obtain power over men and return to Society on her terms. She even has the perfect teacher in mind, a man whose sense of honor and dark good looks belie his nickname: Beast.
But desire like this can’t be taught
Benedict Trewlove may not know his parentage but he knows where he belongs—on the dark side of London, offering protection wherever it’s needed. Yet no woman has ever made such an outrageous request as this mysterious beauty. Althea is out of place amongst vice and sin, even if she offers a wicked temptation he can’t resist. But as the truth of his origin emerges at last, it will take a fierce, wild love to overcome their pasts.
Review: I haven't read many Lorraine Heath novels, but I heard really good things about this book and couldn't resist reading something with both "Beauty" and "Beast" in the title (even though I haven't read the other books in the series, which ended up not really needing to matter that much). Although, I was somewhat disappointed that this didn't end up being a true Beauty and the Beast re-telling, though it had some similarities to the original fairy tale.
Althea isn't the most exciting heroine, nor is she the most dynamic character, but I can't say anything overtly negative about her either. I did love how well she handled her fall from society, rolling up her shirt sleeves and getting to work. And her desire to create a new place for herself in society, one where she and no one else would control what happened to her. I was rooting for her the entire time, even if she wasn't an altogether memorable heroine.
The person who completely made the book a win for me was our hero Benedict. I mean, how can you possibly resist a man whose entire purpose in life is to rescue vulnerable populations and stop bad guys? You can't. I love his connections with the women whose safety he ensured and whom he cared for. He was a wonderfully genuine hero whose brawn didn't translate to refusing to show his emotions, like it so often does with our tough-guy heroes. Plus, his interactions with his family made him all the more adorable.
A sweet historical with all the feels you can possible handle.