because why SHOULDN’T the boy fall in love with the ugly girl?
Publisher: Fated Hearts Publishing
Publication Date: March 29, 2018
One of my favorite Disney movies of all times is Beauty and the Beast, so it comes as no surprise that when I heard Don’t Look At Me is a reverse retelling of Beauty and the Beast, I knew I had to read it.
Haven Quinn is a newscaster in Stratford. Although it is the career she wanted, the timing of it is less than ideal especially when she gets out of work at 3AM. Recently, there has been a string of slashings in the area. Women are being attacked and left horribly scarred. One night while leaving work and walking to her car alone, Haven becomes the slasher’s next victim. Only this time, she got the worst of his brutality. Left with many scars all over her face, including a deep puncture wound has left Haven terribly wounded and feeling like she looks like a beast. She becomes a hermit in her own home afraid to be among people because of her hideous looks.
Quest Vescovi is back in town after the death of his grandfather. A grandfather whom he has not seen or spoken to since he was a young boy because Quest’s father and him had a falling out. His grandfather left his bookstore to Quest and a will which states he needed to keep the bookstore open for five years in order to get his inheritance. Quest is also going through his own turmoil after being less than honorably discharged from the army. Like Haven, he has his own scars he is dealing with only his scars are in the inside.
Haven and Quest are both scarred in their own way. Can they both be what each other needs to open up and learn how to accept themselves for who they actually are?
There are no words to express how much I loved this story. It was heartfelt and often times, emotional. Haven is a survivor. Imagine being brutally attacked and disfigured just walking to your car. The emotions that you would go through knowing you will never look the same way again. The media puts so much emphasis on beauty and what women should look like that it comes as no surprise that Haven feels ugly, like a beast, afraid to show herself to people in fear of what they may think of her. In a lot of ways, I am sure most women can relate to Haven and the inner turmoil she goes through when it comes to looks/beauty. Also, unlike the Disney classic, Haven is not so much a beast in action and mannerisms. She is very sweet and down to earth, kind and loving. She is such a well thought out character that you can’t help but to root for her and want her to be happy.
Quest is battling his own demons, but he can’t help feeling an attraction to Haven. He sees beneath her scars to the beautiful woman she truly is. Little by little he gets her to open up to him and they start to fall in love. Quest, I sometimes felt, acted older than his 25 years. I guess in part that is due to being in the military and overseas and also because of what he went through while being overseas. In a way, the military forces you to grow up. What can I say about Quest? He is every girls dream guy. He is sweet and kind. He does have a bit of a dark side to him, but that just makes him all the more endearing. He is a man’s man with a lot of heart. He doesn’t find it easy to open up about his past, but with Haven it is different. He can be himself and in the process he slowly begins to heal.
The mystery of the slasher does come out eventually. I did have my own thought on who it could be and he was quite creepy.
One other aspect I loved about the story is it takes place in NJ and PA. I live in NJ so it was nice hearing about the towns and also the Poconos area of PA. I also got a huge thrill about the mentioning of classic novels and then out of nowhere one of my all time favorite romance books was mentioned in the story. I was like “Yes! J.P. Grider you have fantastic taste in books!”
All in all, Don’t Look At Me is such a wonderful modern day tale of Beauty and The Beast that should not be missed. For me it was a 5 star read. The story broke my heart shattering it to a million pieces, only to be pieced back together again little by little. If you love emotional stories with a sweet and tender romance that slowly builds as the main characters get to know one another, then you will fall in love with this story just like I did.
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