Author: Tara Lain
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 06/08/2016
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Contemporary, Gay Romance
A Pennymaker Tale
Is beauty only skin deep?
Chemist Dr. Robert “Belle” Belleterre loves flowers, green trees, his best friend Judy, and “his baby:” the new face cream he developed to help put his father’s small cosmetics company on the map. Sadly he gets no help from his alcoholic, gambling-addicted father, who loses Belle in a poker game to Magnus Strong, the CEO of Beauty, Inc., the largest American cosmetics company—a man infamous for his scarred ugliness.
Belle finds himself uprooted from his home, living in a wildly crazy apartment in New York owned by Mr. Pennymaker, and completely unprepared for his mad attraction to the charismatic Strong. Feeling like a traitor, Belle fights his passion, only to see more and more of the goodness and humility hidden by Strong’s ugly face. But when Belle’s family starts manipulating his life again, the odds turn against happiness for beautiful Belle and his beloved beast.
Beauty, Inc. is a modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast. While it is set in modern times and in a modern setting, Ms. Lain still managed to infuse the fantasy feeling many fairy tales embody. You will need to suspend a bit of reality for this one to work, but it is so worth it in the end.
My interpretation of the spirit of this story can be summed up in a few words. “Looks are only skin deep, but true beauty comes from the soul and this ugly beast is the most beautiful of all the lands!” Ms. Lain did a fantastic job bringing this fairy tale to life.
I am a sucker for retellings of these fantasies and I am a sucker for Ms. Lain’s writing style. When combined, Beauty, Inc. was a very satisfying read with the perfect ending that left me smiling for hours after I was done. Belle and Magnus, and hell, the entire supporting cast, were great characters. There were good guys and bad guys and great guys and despicable guys and through it all, there was heart and love and hope. Belle’s family embodied the idea of sloth and addiction and self-centered narcissism. When viewed in contrast to Magnus, they were the perfect way for the author to show the reader that beauty means nothing when not backed up by actions. There was no question that I was pulling for Magnus to show Belle what he was missing and to give him all the love he deserved! And there was no question that Magnus deserved just as much love in return. I know I am gusing, but I really loved Ms. Lain’s take on this classic tale!
I truly enjoyed reading this addition to the Pennymaker tales and can’t wait for the next story. I really hope to learn more about Mr. P himself and am eager to know which Fairy Tale will be twisted next!
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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