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on 15 March 1998
Reading this book, I was hard pressed to figure out who the "beast" of the title really was. True, the "hero" was disfigured and met his lady only under cover of darkness, but the lady in question was no true beauty, either. Much is made of her physical beauty, but she is a very spoiled, sheltered, and selfish 18-year-old with a VERY teenagerish outlook on life. Much is made of her honesty, but she hardly thinks twice about lying to her family and husband about a shipboard romance. Much is made over her desire to make something of her life, but she ends up mooning over her lost love, being cruel to those who love her, and then--pregnant. There is the requisite happy ending, but by that time I was so annoyed with the foolishness of both of them, I really didn't care. In terms of plot, though, the first half of the book is dynamite, a great set-up. The arrival in Marseilles is an expertly written piece of work. And Ivory is true to her characters, even if they do annoy the heck out of you. I won't be keeping this one, but I will remember it.
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on 18 June 1998
This was the first Judith Ivory book that I have read. The book started out strong and held my attention throughout Louise and Charles' voyage. The dialouge was interesting and the love scenes were excellent!! However, once the two characters reached land, they seemed to lose the qualities which made them so great. Charles becomes ineffectual and self-conscious, while Louise becomes a veritable shrew. There are moments where the old characters do shine through (the bathroom scene and the garden party). I found the scene where Charles gives Louise a black pearl necklace particularly poignant. The characters do seem to collect themselves and move towards a heroic ending. Which is, if a little anti-climatic, still happily ever after.
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on 30 July 1999
I found this novel somewhat lacking. It seemed to be missing the beautiful prose found in her books written under the name of Judy Cuevas. Furthermore, I did not find the characters in this book attractive. It seams all of Night/Cuevas' characters are flawed, yet I usually find this endearing. These characters, however are not very endearing, nor memorable. Perhaps, it is the lack of careful self analysis that is found in some of here other books, such as Dance and Black Silk.
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on 28 November 1997
Beauty and the Beast has long been my favourite fairy tale -- still, I was curious to know how Ms. Ivory could possibly put the magic into a story told and re-told in such endless and varied combinations. Yet she wove the tale of Charles and Louise with such skill and insight I was caught up in the "magic" from page one. Of particular interest to me was her well-researched commentary on the uses of Ambergris and Jasmine, and the figurative parallellism of these essences to Charles and Louise, respectively. Clever, clever girl! Do give us another Beast like Charles d'Harcourt -- he was thoroughly, absolutely, painfully lovable.
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on 25 January 1999
This was also my first novel by Ms. Ivory and I couldn't put it down. It is very intelligently written, with witty dialogue, great character development, sensual and fast paced. Yes, both characters were not "perfect", but together their imperfections complimented each other. This book was both funny and "hot", I highly recommend it if you're a fan of Jill Barnett or Brenda Joyce.
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on 19 February 1998
BEAST is a terrifically intelligent, terrifically sensuous book, one that explores not only how love begins but what makes it deepen and last. And it's also just a flat out great story...fast, sexy, and exciting. PS: I just got hold of an ARC for Ivory's next book, SLEEPING BEAUTY, and it's as beautiful as BEAST. Nobody writes to provoke both the senses and the mind like Ivory.
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on 5 May 1999
I found the scenes on board ship very good, I thought that Charles and Louise would have some explosive interaction once they reached land. However, he turned into a wimp and she never got over herself. They had promise, but they didn't deliver.
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on 7 December 2016
It was reasonably well written, and dealing with the French/English languages was well done, but the book didn't break the mold and felt mostly contrived. The writing was good - the characters and plot were lacking.
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on 10 April 1997
Judith Ivory's BEAST is smart, sexy and incredibly touching -my favorite combination. Her voice is one of a kind, which makes BEAST a real must-read.
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