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Beauty: A Novel Hardcover – May 28, 1996


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 199 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; 1st edition (May 28, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517701529
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517701522
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,404,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Revisionist fairy tales with a message are definitely a '90s thing, and Wilson's lightweight but strained debut is a retelling of the classic story of Beauty and the Beast. The latter is Leland Crompton, a rich recluse who lives on a remote estate in New Hampshire's White Mountains, writing mysteries under the nom de plume of Harris Bellefleur and hiding his grotesquely deformed face. Yet family tradition dictates that his portrait must be painted, and Alix Miller, aka Beauty, is the latest of her family of artists to accept the commission. Of course, Alix, who narrates, has an unworthy boyfriend-oblivious and selfish photojournalist Mark. And, of course, she is ready for true love. Wilson spins her tale with some skill, but her stilted dialogue is clunky with platitudes ("You know that the friends of adversity are friends forever"). Leland is an appealing character, however. With his generosity and his gracefulness as he skates, he demonstrates that real beauty is active, found in movement and deed, not in the static medium of a portrait. His self-effacing humor is refreshing: When posing for Alix, he quips, "As you can see, I have no bad side." In opting for a weeper of an ending, however, Wilson pushes her love story over the brink into the kind of bathos that only romance addicts will embrace. Major ad/promo; first serial to Good Housekeeping.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

YA-This novel based on the fairy tale "Beauty and the Beast" makes no attempt to duplicate the fantasy and magic of Robin McKinley's Beauty (HarperCollins, 1978), but the love story told is equally compelling. This is a Beauty of the '90s, facing her beloved father's death from cancer and involved with a handsome man wrapped up in his career. Beauty, an artist, meets Beast, a reclusive writer, when she is asked to paint his portrait. She ultimately proclaims her love for him, but he rejects her; the final metamorphosis of Beast is not a physical, but an emotional one: he must recognize that he is lovable in spite of his misshapen face and body. YAs will enjoy this romance, and will be challenged by the issues it addresses: how one can be a loving daughter or son to a dying parent, and how one faces the possibility of conceiving a child who may be born with a severe genetic defect. Finally, how does one get beyond appearance to find the heart and soul of a person?-Molly Connally, Kings Park Library, Fairfax County, VA
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

I hated the ending.
Amazon Customer
Today's romance novels focus too much on external beauty and not enough on internal beauty.
N. Timmons
The characters and plot were engrossing and fit well with the Beauty and the Beast theme.
"celes1"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By "estrella87" on September 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
The characters in this book are so real, so well-written, you will be taken in. I read this book in an obsessed and feverish 4 hours! I couldn't put it down for a second. I was completely surprised at Leland Crompton's personality. Someone so cruelly treated most of his life was delightful and like a breath of fresh air to me. Lee seemed to be a man made purely of feeling. I guess the reason why I absolutely fell in love with Leland's character is because there aren't many people like him. I am fortunate to know one. Someone with such a beautiful heart that it makes him seem even more beautiful outside than he already is. Is it really our appearance (the clothing and makeup) that makes us beautiful, or could it be our personality that brings out our true beauty? Time has a way of changing our appearance but our hearts will always be the same. If you fall in love (can you even call it that?) with someone only because of the way they look, I ask you this: when time takes their beauty away and all that is left is their personality - a personality that you may have always had trouble tolerating but put up with because of their physical appearance - what will you do? Their wealth and beauty, and the physical pleasure will not always be enough. Just something to think about. Something, I am sure, Alix didn't think of when she began her relationship with her previous lovers and with Mark. She realized it, but stayed with him because she had likely not been with better men and was herself somewhat shallow. She had always focused on appearance...until Leland. He showed her what true beauty is made of. :-) Read it! You won't be able to put it down, I promise.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Catherine Alexander on April 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
I found this book when it was first for sale, in hardcover, in January 1997. I was attracted by the title, the beautiful cover, and the description, in that order. I was not disappointed -- sometimes you CAN judge a book by its cover!

Don't be turned away by snarky reviewers who, in many cases, have mis-read the book, gotten facts wrong, missed plot points, overlooked character descriptions, and can't restrain themselves from spoiling the ending. This is a beautiful love story, and is worth reading. My biggest disappointment is in how soon it was over.

I just got through re-reading this book for the first time in years. I still love it, and feel very lucky to have the hard-cover first edition. I sent the author a letter fourteen years ago, telling her how much I enjoyed it, and she sent me a handwritten thank-you which I still use as a bookmark.

Maybe you have to be a little older (as in, not a teenager or 20-something) to appreciate this book. Life IS complicated, smart women DO make bad choices with men, and not getting a happy ending doesn't mean the journey wasn't worth it. I give it two thumbs up!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By D. Phillips on May 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book had me right up until the last chapter. Then I went from totally loving it to totally hating it! I loved everything about it (enchanting characters you could empathize with, beautiful descriptions of winter scenes, engaging plot). I thought it had a magical quality, in spite of the modern setting, but then it all went right out the window in the last 13 pages. (I know this was supposed to be a modern, updated telling of the classic, but was the depressing ending REALLY necessary?) If you want to enjoy this book, DON'T read the last chapter, and just pretend they lived happily ever after!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Marcus on August 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
I have known about this book for a few years now, but not until I discovered an old tape of a CBS movie called, "Beauty" did I bother to do research on Amazon to gather more information about the book.
I enjoyed the book, and I read the other comments reviewers made before I started writing mine. I was very distressed to read that some people were offended by the book, and those reviews really did make me think.
I enjoyed the shyness of the characters and their getting to know each other. I think that the book was very honest in its desciptions of how someone reacts to another who looks so different even though we all tell ourselves that we have better manners than to stare or be shocked.
I hated the ending and I don't know why Ms. Wilson felt the need to hurt the characters that way. I just don't get the trend of romance writers to write "down" endings. Is it to make the story be more realistic? Who cares? We aren't reading romances for the realism. We read them to renew our belief in ourselves and in love, and this book did a good job for me in that respect except for the ending.
I would still recommend this book, but like people have said previously, you can readily skip or ignore the last few pages. Just pretend that Lee and Alix are snuggled up in their home, sitting by the fire, enjoying each others company. It works for me.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Christy Leigh Stewart on July 16, 2010
Format: Paperback
I'll love any book that has a disfigured leading character, and what was good about this book was that instead of it being 'At first, I was taken aback but I can see the beauty there. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder' it was 'He's ugly. No, ugly ugly.' Aside from that, the leading lady was the right amount of feminine to make her believable and not annoying. So that makes for two winning characters in my book.

Lastly, the book is a great realistic version of a re-told fairy tale and despite the mood it left me in, I appreciate the short journey.
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