From the Author
This combination of Pride and Prejudice and Beauty and the Beast is based on the original French fairy tale by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve (publishedin 1740) and the abridged and rewritten version by Jeanne-Marie Leprince deBeaumont (published in 1756). The abridged version by Beaumont would have been the version popular in Jane Austen's day. The story of Beauty and the Beast has parallels to the Greek story of Cupid and Psyche, with its hidden or disguised lover.
Beauty and the Beast remains a popular story because it deals with so many important themes:Love, Community, Sacrifice, Identity and Exile.
I enjoyed highlighting these themes in my favorite story - Pride and Prejudice. In Jane Austen's original, Darcy is misunderstood, just as the Beast is. I made the decision to make him scarred and bitter rather than to make him an actual creature. I wanted the fairy magic to be subtle.
From the Inside Flap
Her eyes flashed with anger. "No, sir.I will not." She snatched her hand away from him.
He frowned, stunned by her response. "And this is your reply?"
"What other reply did you expect?"
"I thought you were anticipating my address. You flirted with me!"
"I did not!"
"But our conversations -"
"Nothing more than the minimum of civility, I assure you. From the beginning of our acquaintance, I did not like you. I found you proud and overbearing. And then when I heard how you treated Mr. Wickham -"
"Is he a favourite of yours?"
"No," she said hotly."But he has told me about your wife."
Mr. Darcy felt anger rise in his chest. "What did he tell you?"
"That you married her for her dowry."
Her words condemned him."I did," he admitted. "What else did he tell you?"
"That you beat her and some say you killed her."
He growled, stepping closer and grabbed her arms. "Then why did I risk my life to save her from a fire?"
She trembled, but her bright eyes challenged him, egging him onward. "I don't know."
He leaned forward until his lips were only an inch from hers. "If I am such a monster, I suggest you do what I wish. Marry me."
She spat in his face."I would rather die."
Her words were like a knife to his heart. His voice hardened and his grip tightened. He had the means of coercing her and he would use them. "And what of your family? Do you care so little for them?"
"You would ruin them to get what you want?"