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The cover of Beauty and the Beast offers the single word that best describes the adventure to be found within its award-winning pages. You see, this telling is one that is “reimagined” by Rebecca Hammond Yager. So it is that through Yager’s re-imaginings, readers will enter into a world of mystery, a land that is forever night, but that is lit by the magic of flora and fauna. The base story of Beauty and the Beast is, of course, well-known. But Yager’s rendition shrouds the Beast’s kingdom in new mysteries. As Beauty dreams of the Prince, she becomes convinced that the man she meets in her sleeping hours is one-and-the-same as the Beast whose castle she now shares. Surrounded by wild animals, and stories of spells cast that leave others crying for her to free them, Beauty is reminded, time and again, to: “Take not counsel from your eyes alone.” Indeed, some truths are deeper than the surface might suggest.
The world Rebecca Hammond Yager creates in Beauty and the Beast is colorful and magical. The story itself is “new” and different in the midst of the retellings that have gone before it. But it is the insight—the bits of wisdom Yager offers that set her reimagining apart. For example, concerned for Beauty, as she intends to marry the Beast, her father tries to warn her off. But Beauty knows something more. She knows that many men are beasts that “hide behind masks of gentility and civility,” with “handsome faces and impeccable manners,” yet “their true natures will eventually be revealed by all their ugliness.” By contrast, Beauty’s Beast also “wears a mask,” but she tells her father, “I have already seen behind it, and what I saw was beautiful.” And because Beauty is able to see beyond her own eyes, to take counsel from her heart, she’s able to reveal a genuine traitor before it’s to late, opening the way to follow her heart.