Thursday, February 11, 2016

Book Review: Beauty, Beast, and Belladonna by Maia Chance (Fairy Tale Fatal Mysteries #3)



Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Wonderful working of fairy tales into a mystery
Cons: Only a beast would lists cons for this book
The Bottom Line:
Murder, fairytale
Again mixed to perfection
In this fun, fresh take




Who Is the Beastly Murderer?

For years, my favorite of the Disney Princess movies has been Beauty and the Beast, so when I saw that the third in Maia Chance’s Fairytale Fatal Mysteries was Beauty, Beast, and Belladonna, I was quite intrigued.  Turns out, this is a fantastic addition to the series.

The book opens in December of 1867, and it finds Ophelia Flax ready to use her savings to cross the ocean from France back to America.  However, through a series of circumstances, she finds herself coerced into not only delaying breaking up with her fiancĂ©e but going with him to his estate to participate in hunting season.  There, Ophelia gets the shock of her life when she finds that he intends for them to marry at the winter solstice in just a few days’ time.

There is a snow storm that first night, and a coach breaks down outside the mansion with some travelers who need lodging.  The next morning, one of those travelers is dead.  While the police quickly rule it natural causes, Ophelia is certain that the belladonna plants around the scene might have been used to poison him.  Meanwhile, the nearby village is a buzz with sightings of an ancient beast, reviving old legions that might predate the Beauty and the Beast fairytale.  Is this beast involved in the murder?  Or does one of Ophelia’s fellow guests hide a beastly heart?

This is one of those books that is hard to offer a teaser in just a couple of paragraphs.  However, the set up makes perfect sense as you are reading the book.  It didn’t take long to ensnare me into the story, and I never wanted to put the book down.  There are multiple facets to the plot, and the author does a wonderful job of juggling everything.  Yet the solution is perfectly logical and everything is wrapped up in the end.

Those who have been reading the series will know that there have been three main characters, and we’ve bounced around from one to the other as our third person viewpoint character to get the complete picture of the story.   One of those characters appears to be written out of the series at this point, but Ophelia and the other character are back.  They make a great team, coming at this puzzle from different angles that enhance the story that is being told.  And the third character?  I was actually surprised to find I didn’t miss them as much as I thought I would, although if they popped up in future installments, I wouldn’t complain.

There really are a limited number of returning characters, but a large cast of new characters.  I didn’t have a hard time keeping them straight, and I found them all very interesting.  As the book progresses, we get to know them quite well.

In keeping with the fairy tale featured, we get a very gothic setting with a castle in the French countryside.  That atmosphere adds to the charm of the story.

With how this book ends, I am already anxious to find out what kind of trouble Ophelia can find in future books.  The set up for her next adventure is here, and I want to see how that plays out.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Beauty, Beast, and Belladonna is another expertly crafted, fun, and creative twist on fairy tales that will also satisfy mystery fans.  If you are looking for something different in either genre, this series is for you.

Enjoy more magical mysteries with the rest of the Fairy Tale Fatal series.

NOTE: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Giveaway!

Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of this book to give away.  Because it is a physical book, the contest is limited to residence of the US.

Just leave me a comment with your e-mail address so I can get in touch with you if you win.  I will pick the winner next Thursday, February 18th, so please leave your comment before 12:01AM Pacific Time on 2/18.  You will have until midnight on 2/23 to get back to me, or I will choose a new winner on 2/24.

8 comments:

  1. Another good review. The book sounds good. skatzed@aol.com

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  2. This is a fun series. Now I can't wait to read this book. Thanks for the chance. frybbe@gmail.com

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  3. Thanks for another great review. I have this series on my TBR list but haven't started it. Thank you for a chance to win. doward1952@yahoo.com

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  4. Great review! I really enjoyed this one as well and it was my first book in the series so I was worried I'd have trouble keeping everyone straight but Chance did a great job. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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  5. I've been wondering, as I've read reviews, what happened to "x"!?! I can't wait to read this one too, thanks for the chance to win!
    JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

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  6. This sounds like a book I would really enjoy. Thanks for a chance to win a copy. elainehroberson@gmail.com

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  7. I have just heard about this series, if you're raving about it, then it must be good. I will have to look into getting the first book. Thanks for the revue and chance to win this copy.
    momzillasteel at gmail dot com

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  8. Sounds like another wonderful book in this series. Thanks for the review

    gibsonbk at hiwaay dot net

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