Do you love fairy tales? This is Beauty and the Beast meets Pride and Prejudice meets the Bible, with a side of Cinderella, Jane Eyre, and Ruth. It’s everything I love about fairy tales rolled into a well-written historical fiction book for young adults. It’s a book I wish I had written. 🙂
Annabel is our Beauty who ends up living in the home of the not-so-Beast through unfortunate family circumstances. You know the story, but it is spun in such a way that while you know where the story will end up, you’re not sure quite how its going to get there.
What would you do if you didn’t have access to a Bible? What if all you had to rely on were Sunday sermons? Would that bother you? What if you were a girl and the priest taught that all women were evil temptresses? Would that sour your view on God?
Annabel’s dearest wish is to be able to read the Bible for herself. She believes there is more to God than what she hears at church on Sunday. She wants to read the Bible so badly, that her goal in life is to become a nun so she can study it all day.
One theme in the book is God’s sovereignty. Why does He allow bad things to happen? Does He really care? Is He really sovereign? We go along with Annabel as she asks these questions and discovers the answers.
I love what Annabel says to one of the other characters,
“It’s true I may seem not to have any reason to be happy, but I’ve been reading the Holy Scriptures and I’ve learned much about God’s faithfulness.”
an example of 1 Peter 3:15,
“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
It’s a fairy tale, so there is an evil villain. In this particular story, the evil villain wants to possess Annabel and tries to do so on many occasions. Not of the scenes are graphic, but parental guidance may be needed with younger readers.
I love that the author herself defined the social issues in the book:
“I also wanted to explore how it would feel to desperately desire to read the Bible, and to finally get the opportunity to read it for the first time. I explored concepts of discrimination, of unfair treatment based on a person’s appearance, and the interesting concept of owing respect and honor to an earthly lord, as well as a heavenly lord.”
Did I mention the book has won awards too? If you like fairy tales, or romance, or historical novels then this is a good choice for readers of any age. I couldn’t put it down.