This collection consists of one long story (that of the title) and two shorter ones. The common theme seems to be the taking of beauty at face value and the failure to look inside the person for what is really there. It was less, `Beauty and the Beast' than, `Beauty IS the Beast.' Due perhaps to nature of the theme, I found the characters shallow and distasteful. The people were deeply selfish and greedy, and as beauty faded, so did their thoughts of love.
The stories successfully employed a traditional folk tale style of language and were very imaginative. I would have preferred it though, if the author had stuck to conventions of punctuation, particularly when using direct speech. I found this very distracting though others might not. There was also an occasional tendency to use homophones and a randomness to the use or lack of use of the semicolon that I couldn't get on with. In the first story, Bitter is the Salt, there were far too many uses of the name Zachary, often 6 or 7 to the page. It's so distracting that you actually start to count! I feel the author has great potential in the creation of a `new Gothic' folk tale genre but needs some editing and punctuation help on the way.