A #WyrdAndWonder #RomanceTuesdays | featuring “Druid’s Moon” (a re-telling of ‘Beauty and the Beast’) by Deniz Bevan

Posted Tuesday, 3 May, 2022 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#RomanceTuesdays banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: Every so often I am blessed with Review Requests which come directly via my Review Policy on my blog. There are some months where I fall behind on my responses to the requests – due to life and work obligations – however, in this instance, I was wicked fascinated by this particular premise and as it fit into the stories, I was seeking out for our 5th Year of #WyrdAndWonder, I took a chance on the ARC being pitched would still be available to request. Thankfully I was granted the review opportunity and the book arrived in time to coordinate with my Wyrd And Wonder plans this May. I knew, too, with this being a re-telling of a beloved classic story (ie. “Beauty and the Beast”) this would fit in well with my Wyrd And Wonder takeover of #RomanceTuesdays which is a regular feature of my blog. 

I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher Dancing Lemur Press, LLC in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Why I enjoy fantastical re-tellings & am curious about werewolves:

Even before I realised there was a werewolf connection, I surmised it through the cover art! The only werewolf I truly have had any experience or knowledge of previously was Harry’s Uncle. Werewolves are typically on my list of creatures I’m not as comfortable reading about and thereby make choices case by case as I find stories which involve them. Now, when I realised this is a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast with a window into Druid & Celtic Histories and a potential curse unearthed by an archaeologist on a dig – wells, let’s just say that felt quite a fanciful new direction to take the original canon!

I have been reading re-tellings of Classic Literature ever since the very beginning of Jorie Loves A Story (9 years ago this past 31st of March) – which you can observe via my Story Vault as those stories are listed closer to the top of the list of archived reviews. I have also read variants of Beauty and the Beast previously whilst I LOVED seeing the rendition of the live-action film starring Emma Watson not so long ago now (2017 wasn’t it?). In fact, in that film the hardest scene for me to reconcile was when the ‘beast’ no longer had his fur! Even Mum agreed (as it was a surprise viewing with her) it was hard to shift past who he was before he transformed back into being a human because we all were lost in the story and had come to become quite fond of him in his beastly state of presence! Laughs. Which I believe is why Emma Watson’s character mentioned him growing a beard at the end and where he implied that would never happen! Laughs heartedly.

The key reason I LOVE retellings is because you get to see a different perspective on the original story and the original intentions for that story by the original author. The new variants of the Classics also offer new passageways into those characters’ and into those worlds; some even re-invent the whole experience if you take into account my listenings of the Jane Austen Dragons series! (see also Review) The beauty of course is finding which authors have an entrance point which first enchants you forward and then, entertains you the most whilst you take up residency in the new world they’ve created in homage to the original.

Now, once upon a time I had a huge interest in Archaeology, Anthropology and all routes interconnected to both disciplines — however, now I entertain those interests through reading Fiction and Non-Fiction alike and enjoy the adventures from afar. History has played a strong role in my life as well – which is why you’ve oft found me chasing down timescapes and windows of History through my extensive readings of Historical Fiction over the last nine years as well. And, yet I always feel there is something new to discover when you merge the past with the present and angle a story through the excavation of the past.

With werewolves – those are a bit trickier for me to feel cosy comfortable around – though, in truth, I am sure most of them are misunderstood or in the case of the one in Druid’s Moon – perhaps caught inside of a curse he/they cannot extract themselves from!? Ah. Alas, I felt this might be an interesting and intriguing story to add to my selections this #WyrdAndWonder and that is why it is being featured during my Wyrd And Wonder takeover of #RomanceTuesdays as in effect a Beast needs his Beauty and there lies the romance!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

A #WyrdAndWonder #RomanceTuesdays | featuring “Druid’s Moon” (a re-telling of ‘Beauty and the Beast’) by Deniz BevanDruid's Moon
by Deniz Bevan
Illustrator/Cover Designer: C.R. Wolfe
Source: Direct from Publisher

Beauty to his Beast…

Lyne Vanlith, an archaeologist who seeks a logical explanation to any mystery, discovers an ancient Druidic curse on her first dig. When the signs foretold by the curse descend on her, Lyne can’t find a reasonable interpretation.

And that’s even before a Beast rescues her from a monstrous sea-creature. She drops a grateful kiss on the snout of the Beast, who transforms into a man, Frederick Cunnick, Baron of Lansladron. Lyne is meant to be Beauty to his Beast—and break the curse forever.

Now both spellkeeper and monster are targeting Lyne. She must take up her legendary role, to defeat the curse and save Frederick—and herself. Instead of logic, for the first time, Lyne must trust her heart.

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Fairy-Tale Re-Telling, Mythological Fantasy, Fantasy Romance, Paranormal Romance (PNR)

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1939844866

on 5th September, 2022

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 173

Published by: Dancing Lemur Press, LLC (@DancingLemurPre)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #FantasyRomance, #ParanormalFantasy or #Fairytale Re-telling
as well as #BeautyAndTheBeast or #WyrdAndWonder

About Deniz Bevan

A firm believer in burning the candle at both ends, Deniz Bevan is generally writing a new novel while editing another and blogging about her reading and research adventures. Other days, she tries to stay off the web altogether, as she delves into the history, mystery, and romance of her characters’ lives.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

i admit, the cover art was a bit foreboding:

The werewolf on the cover felt less Beastly and more the beast from The Neverending Story! I never did get over that scene as a child or as an adult re-watching it because of how otherwordly vicioius that beast was and how difficult it was to process that originally as a child. I took a chance on the story though based on the premise through the synopsis as intitally the cover art seemed to place this story outside my usual wanderings and most likely in the ‘not my cuppa’ category. I’m thankful I took a chance on it though and didn’t let the artwork foreshadow my perceptions of the story or how the Beast in the novel would affect me as a reader. And, it needs to be said, I don’t generally let cover art sway my opinion one way or the other; but sometimes, the art is too realistic and beguiling like the one of this book.

my review of druid’s moon:

When I started reading this story, the opening scenes involved Lyne trying to impress her Professor with her knowledge about Druidic and Celtic histories as well as the methodology of her analysis of a lost scroll which was recently unearthed at their archaeological site. Which seems simple enough on the surface of it – but as I mentioned below, the words used to describe those early scenes and conversations made the path into the story a bit harder than I felt it would become for me. Also, I noted immediately how Lyne’s own interpretation of what the scroll was telling them differed greatly from her Professor and I could respect why – as who wants to admit that a fairytale was evolving right in front of them through an ancient scroll which might hold a clue to the past and to the fable?!

Lyne’s landlady Mrs Glick was quite the character! I almost had the sense she was more than she seemed and of course, you could tell she knew more than she let on, as well! Ha! Yet, I couldn’t surmise after such a short visitation with her why she was holding back the knowledge she had unless of course, part of the reason was the curse itself – the one Lyne and the Professor were so close to understanding now that they had most likely dug up the contents of it on the scroll! The Beast was soon introduced next, and I appreciated how Bevan was talking about both his human remnants and the animal he’d become as a duality of choice and experience. Where his humanity was becoming repressed and suppressed the longer he was a beast, there were portions of his mind which were still actively aware.

When we first learn what became of the man (Frederick) who is the Beast, your heart went out to him immediately as he has lived a cursed fate for five years! (the coincidence of that was not lost on me!) It felt hard to reconcile why someone would want to curse him when it felt like he was cursed due to his brothers’ own choices and shortened life; those details I presumed would be shaped and revealled lateron in the story but at first meeting, there was so much you want to understand but there is enough empathy shown for him to know he was not entirely without his own sentient thoughts.

There is something quite nefarious lurking in the background – the Beast is terrified of someone but they are just out of sight of the reader. Bevan mentions them in passing and even as we get our first introduction to who is behind the Beast’s transformation from man to animal; we’re short-changed on the explanation about who and what they are as we’re only given shorter clues about the control they have over him. It is hinted that they are of the sea, their murderously preoccupied and they do not suffer fools or anyone who doesn’t obey their orders. That much is clear but what motivates them and what led to this encased isolation of the caves!? That remains a perplexing mystery!

The curse in this retelling hinges against the Cockerell family and the legend of the beast – which of course is complicated by the archaeologists who are intentionally looking for Druidic ruins and artifacts. Lady Cockerell – the current tenant of the estate is quite the woman! She has a fierce personality and suffers no fools or fairytales; as according to her the gossip was growing out of control in her village about the supposed supernatural reasons why things were happening around her estate. Yet, I also found Professor Meadwell – Lyne’s supervisor to be a bit of a biased character himself wherein he wasn’t much for folklore as he was hard facts and evidence. A lot of the darker points are happening in the background – where Bevan shifts points-of-view to the Beast and thereby, allows the reader to learn more about the creature who controls him, as originally I thought it might have been a person but as you move further into the context of the story it feels more like a sea creature or a sea witch whose immortal and yet restricted in movement.

I admit, the creature in question who is controlling the Beast isn’t my favourite choice, but it does make sense in the scheme of things of who could have an overreach of manipulation as well as a hunger which never satisfies. Though Bevan does foreshadow the revelation early-on there was a moment where I thought it was going to go into a different direction – where that foreshadowing might have been a false clue towards the truth. Strangely when Lyne first meets Frederick, I felt it was a bit anticlimactic the way it was written. I suppose I was expecting something else entirely to happen to where they could finally meet each other rather than how it was delivered.

I found myself struggling to stay connected to the storyline as a lot of the story has an issue with pacing and with action. It became a very drawn-out story where you had hoped to find a reward for the slow-brewing romance and the suspense surrounding the curse itself. For me, I felt the story broke apart a bit in regard to the back-histories of the curse, the families involved in the curse itself and what caused the transformation of the Beast. There was enough to keep you entertained but it was the delivery of the facts which were a bit muddling. Even the final sequences leading into the finale were hard to get through because there was a lot of back-and-forth between different characters and in the end, you didn’t quite feel like there was an epic showdown against the villains of the story.

The quieter moments of the novel were my favourites – when Frederick and Lyne were discusses ordinary life and hours; such as how he was struggling to reconcile what had happened against the will of his conscience and how Lyne was left in the dark about her own ancestry which unlocked memories for her to contemplate all over again. Their times spent together were a good segue from the horror of what waited for them to resolve at the Cockerell estate. The only truly curious bit for me was the fact this is called Druid’s Moon and the Druids are referenced early-on in the story and yet, the Druids never took an active role in the plot! The title only becomes centre-focus at the very end of the story – which was a bit surprising as well as the context of its inclusion was not explained either.

on the fantastical & fairy tale retelling styling of deniz bevan:

The words and phrases Bevan used to create the texture of her novel were a bit difficult to process for me whilst I first started reading the novel. Some of the words felt a bit out of place with how she was developing the foundation of the story and others just felt like the wrong ones to use in certain moments. They were all creatively different than most of the words regularly used in stories and although, I know that holds a lot of merit towards the writer and how she transfuses her thoughts through her own selection of words, I just felt it made the opening passages a bit more muddled than they needed to be; because of this though – it took me longer to feel connected to her characters.

I felt there was better traction once Mrs Glick and the Beast were introduced – as I found my footing in the story at those intersections. From that moment forward, the story started to take shape for me and although, this became a bit of a faster read than usual – I was intrigued by the potential history as she would reveal lateron about both the curse and the transitions between the curse of the past and the re-attachment of it into the present. And, of course this story isn’t without its hardships as being the beast in this storyline is a harder line to tow than the original – wherein, he lived in a castle and had his worldly possessions with him. In this variant, Bevan chose to take a different route – she made her Beast far more animal-like and had him living in a cave at the bidding of his mistress who was the witch who cursed him. Towards that end, there are some harder hitting scenes about his treatment and what he had to endure as a man trapped within the fur of a beast he cannot escape without help of a Beauty.

A lot of the information happens off-scene – I had hoped there was more descriptive and perception of the creature controlling the Beast however, that isn’t how Bevan wrote it to play out. She draws you deeper into the story and only alludes to the creature through the habits and routines of the Beast whilst giving clues to how hard it is for the Beast to remain a man within the Beast – which I felt was well-played on her part as it is a transformational transition for him. I felt this also slowed the pacing down quite a bit as it takes longer than you thought it might for the curse to play out in the story – as it hinges on a document and certain events which must happen in a specific order of sequence.

At the heart of the story is a very horrific and violent re-telling of Beauty and the Beast but it is tempered by the deft hand Bevan has at preventing those bits from becoming an over-reach within her novel. She holds back the gruesome details and although, there are mentions of the darker elements in the storyline, she blessedly doesn’t let them overtake her scenes and sequences. I also felt Mrs Glick and the Council should have been fleshed out a bit more as that was one of the more appealling aspects of the story in the background.

Elements of the Fantastical:

→ Events mentioned in the curse brought into contemporary reality and cross-shared by Lyne and the team at the archeological site but not as widely known or observed outside that area

→ Werewolves and Witches – the relationship when one is controlled beyond their own natures

→ Sea Monsters – the kind which Jack Sparrow would endure to fight as well

↓ Off-page Violence – relating to how the Beast survives and what he is forced to do by the witch

The werewolves in this novel were unlike others I had perceived in other stories; they weren’t able to shift and change between beast and man as easily as other wolves. Plus, they weren’t as restrictive as some I’ve read about as well – as this parlayed into the Beauty and the Beast canon, I felt those changes were indictive of the origins within the fairytale itself and thus, altered to fit how this variant of the tale was retold. I did appreciate seeing the werewolf complex explored once Frederick was able to be more man than beast – as there was a lot of introspection shared.

I was grateful a lot of the violence and/or violent acts remained off-page for most of the novel. They were referenced but they weren’t grittily described either – you knew people died but you weren’t given imagery to process which I felt was a blessing given it was carried out by the Beast. In this variant of course, the Beast is very much a creature of the darkness overruled by his own instincts as a man and controlled completely by the creature who transformed him.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

This review is courtesy of the publisher:

Dancing Lemur Press, LLC

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Curiously, do you read PNR (Paranormal Romance) or stories within Fantasy itself which feature werewolves or retold tales? If so, which are your favourites to see re-spun by contemporary authors and which creatures of Fantasy do you find yourself warming towards the most in those stories!?

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Reading this story contributed to my #WyrdAndWonder Year 5:

#WyrdAndWonder Year 5 banner created by Jorie in Canva.


Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Enjoying my fantastical reviews about the worlds of Fantasy?

Ever since the beginning of Jorie Loves A Story, I have embarked on a Quest to seek out stories within the worlds of Fantasy which would heighten my awareness of the genre and give me wicked good reads – across the subniches of a genre I’ve loved since I was seventeen. Every May, I happily co-host @WyrdAndWonder – whilst throughout the months of the year, I regularly read & discuss the Fantasy reads I am discovering.

Visit my full archive for ALL my #EnterTheFantastic wanderings! As well as take a walkabout through my archives for #WyrdAndWonder – or take a walkabout through my archive for everything deemed wickedly fantastical!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

{SOURCES: Cover art of “Druid’s Moon”, book synopsis and author biography were all provided by Dancing Lemur Press, LLC and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded due to the codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: #RomanceTuesdays Wyrd And Wonder banner, #WyrdAndWonder Year 5 Book Review badge and banner as well as the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2022.

I’m a social reader | I tweet my reading life

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #WyrdAndWonder

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

read more >> | Visit my Story Vault of Book Reviews | Policies & Review Requests | Contact Jorie


Posted Tuesday, 3 May, 2022 by jorielov in #WyrdAndWonder, After the Canon, ARC | Galley Copy, Book Review (non-blog tour), Fairy Tale Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Fantasy Romance, Folklore and Mythology, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, Paranormal Romance, Re-Told Tales, Romance Fiction, Supernatural Fiction

All posts on my blog are open to new comments & commentary!
I try to visit your blog in return as I believe in ‘Bloggers Commenting Back
(which originated as a community via Readers Wonderland).

Comments are moderated. Once your comment is approved for the first time, your comments thereafter will be recognised and automatically approved. All comments are reviewed and continue to be moderated after automated approval. By using the comment form you are consenting with the storage and handling of your personal data by this website.

Once you use the comment form, if your comment receives a reply (this only applies to those who leave comments by email), there is a courtesy notification set to send you a reply ticket. It is at your discretion if you want to return to re-respond and/or to continue the conversation established. This is a courtesy for commenters to know when their comments have been replied by either the blog's owner or a visitor to the blog who wanted to add to the conversation. Your email address is hidden and never shared. Read my Privacy Policy.

Leave a Reply

(Enter your URL then click here to include a link to one of your blog posts.)