3 “Go to the devil.” Stars!
“They must have the forbidden fruit, or paradise will not be paradise for them.” ~Alexander Pushkin, Eugene Onegin
is my first book by Georgia Le Carre. This is a modern-esque and fairytale-like take on Beauty and the Beast
where both our hero and heroine are emotionally fragile and scarred. The story is dark, gritty, painful and harsh – a far cry from the Disney version we all know and love.
Lena Seagull was raised in a log cabin located somewhere in remote Russia. Her home was ruled by her tyrant father who was cold, detached, dictatorial and abusive. Lena experienced horrific harsh realities never really knowing what love and security truly felt like. As Lena grew up she watched her sisters all be sold off by her father and she was left wondering when her day would come. It eventually did and Lena was sent off leaving only her brother behind with their father. Lena was now at the mercy of the unknown. She is eventually smuggled into England and brought to the secluded Broughton Castle. Lena is met by friendly staff; however, she soon discovers that her purpose is to serve her new master. She is there to fulfill his base desires, to be nothing more than a common whore who is discarded when she is not needed. From one harsh reality to another.
"Have you ever done something shameful to survive?" I asked defiantly.
"Yes." His voice was unemotional and cold.
I was shocked. I had not really expected him to answer me. "What?" I whispered.
"I bought you."
Guy Hawke is a billionaire who was disfigured in a tragic accident. He is broken, scarred and lives in a lonely dark abyss overcome by his pain and anger. His loneliness and perhaps the need to fulfill his biological desires lead him register with a sex slave internet site. Despite his guilt over his actions, Guy never stops the envelopes that showcase different slaves from arriving at his home. He never is tempted to buy one of the slaves until the envelope with Lena’s pictures and profile arrives. Once he sees the Russian beauty, Guy is compelled to have her. He puts up a hardened outer shell in order to justify his actions. Right or wrong Guy will own Lena.
Right from the onset Lena and Guy have an undeniable connection. Guy wants to give her more but how can he when he knows there is no way she would fall in love with the monster he has become. With so many secrets, lies and betrayals between them, can the beauty fall in love with the beast?
One of the things I enjoyed about this book was Ms. Le Carre’s style of writing. I found it very vivid and compelling. I was swiftly entranced with the narrative and was completely enraptured with the beginning of the book about Lena and her family. Lena’s upbringing was tragic and I so desperately wanted to see her find a slice of happiness after all she had endured. What Lena is forced to withstand is so horrifying and the author does an amazing job depicting her journey and setting the stage for a tale where our heroine overcomes all odds. With all this being stated, I did have some issues with the book, particularly with the choices the author made when it came to the overall story arc and the direction of this unconventional and messed up tale.
Once Lena is brought to Guy in England there were so many moments that left me perplexed and that I felt came straight out of left field. I am a reader that does not mind over-the-top storylines that can be unbelievable at times; however, this book had me suspending my disbelief at a level that was even too much for me. Everything from their first sexual interaction, to the discovery of Guy’s big secret and the events that follow the revelation had my head spinning. It felt like there was way too much going on with not enough time spent hashing out all the complexities of the story the author was trying to create. Further, towards the end there is a mad rush to clue everything up and give the reader a desired ending. It was all too fast leaving me no time to become emotionally connected with the characters or all they had experienced. Perhaps if there was less going on and more attention to detail was provided I would have rated this one a little higher.
All in all, if you are a lover of darker romances with a bit of an edge, Disfigured Love
may be a book you would enjoy. While I may have had my issues with the story, the writing itself is well done. There is no doubt that Ms. Le Carre is a talented author. I will certainly be reading more books by her.