DeButy and the Beast
Author Linda Jones has written a series of books based on well-known fables, the latest of which is DeButy & the Beast. Now, you’d think that DeButy would be the heroine and The Beast, her eventual true love. But the author has put a fresh and funny twist on this theme, for Dr. Julian DeButy is so handsome, he’s beautiful. Anya Sedley, just rescued from surviving shipwrecked twelve years on a Caribbean Island, is known as The Beast of Rose Hill for her wild ways.
Raised a pagan, Anya was trained as a Love Goddess and is experienced in all the ways there are to please a man. On Puerto Sirena, she was royalty and was revered. Back home in North Carolina, she refuses to wear conventional clothing (when she dresses at all), lets her long red hair go wild, and is no innocent virgin – Anya spent the last several years as concubine to Sebastian, the island’s young king.
Anya’s grandmother has just about had it with the girl. In two months’ time, Anya will come into her inheritance and Mrs. Sedley fears the open and naïve girl will fall victim to men only after her fortune. To circumvent this, Mrs. Sedley approaches Julain DeButy and asks him to marry her granddaughter. What’s in it for him? Julian is a research scientist and wants to travel the world but is hampered by his lack of funding. Mrs. Sedley promises him a ship, crew, and all the money he’ll ever need if he’ll just marry Anya and turn her into some kind of lady before he sets sail.
Julian is a doctor who doesn’t like working with patients. He’d rather devote his life to research. He’s a stuffed shirt intellectual and has sworn off sex. He plans to remain abstinent for the remainder of his life, having been convinced by experts that physical indulgence is bad for one’s health. He had never planned to marry, so Mrs. Sedley’s offer looks pretty good to him. He marries Anya, then leaves her two months later, forever.
As for Anya, she misses her old life. Her parents died in the shipwreck, so she has been raised by an English pirate and native princess and speaks several languages. She has returned from a free place of sun and sand and no inhibitions to be told she must conform, must dress a certain way, must take a husband. When her grandmother explains the situation and introduces Anya to Julian, the young woman is at first offended. Then she gets a good look at Julian. To see if he measures up, she reaches for his crotch, gets a good hand hold, declares him more than adequate husband material, then agrees to the match.
They marry. Anya anticipates she’ll be able to seduce her handsome, well-endowed husband into bed in no time flat. Julian, while captivated by his young wife’s beauty and intelligence, is determined to remain faithful to his vow and refuses to so much as kiss Anya. But time and mutual respect and love begin to erode the barriers they have each built and when they do come together, they are deeply in love.
Julian is a fabulous hero. Anya marries him because he has kind eyes and she knows he will never hurt her. And he is kind, and he never does hurt her. Julian does everything he can to make Anya happy and when he realizes he has fallen in love with her, he tells her so. Anya is smart and feisty, but also rational and clever. She changes her tactics when she realizes seduction won’t work. When she falls in love with Julian, she tells him so and tries very hard to be a good wife to him so he’ll take her with him when he leaves.
Together, Anya and Julian are a wonderful romantic couple. They are sweet and tender with each other and the love scenes are very nice. The book has some funny and evocative moments, too, as Anya tries desperately to fit into her new life, even while there are some who call her beast and whore. She has made no bones of the fact that she was trained in how to please a man sexually and is thrilled to have found such a sensuous match in Julian.
There are a couple of villains, one of whom gets her comeuppance in a very funny way. There is also a large cast of secondary characters, and more than one love story going on, all of which have a certain charm to them. Since this is part of the The Faerie Tale Romance series, I just sort of went with that, and had a very enjoyable ride.
DeButy & the Beast isn’t perfect, but it offers up Julian and Anya, two characters I liked a lot. In spite of its silly title and pornoesque clinch cover, I very much encourage you to give it a try.