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The Rose and the Mask: A Beauty and the Beast Retelling by [Leybourne, Victoria]
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The Rose and the Mask: A Beauty and the Beast Retelling Kindle Edition

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Kindle Edition, 1 Mar 2017
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Length: 340 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Language: English

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Product Description

A thieving beauty. A glass rose. A monstrous curse. Among the glittering masks of Venice, is anything quite what it seems?

Faustina is a beauty and a thief, not necessarily in that order. She doesn’t believe in magic, just luck, and hers has run out. The last thing she needs is to get roped into a ridiculous revenge plot by her brother—especially when that brother is Giacomo Casanova, Venice’s most notorious libertine.

Benedetto Bellini has never been particularly lucky. The fact that he’s under a beastly curse proves that. Now he’s got a second problem, one that’s washed up on his island in its undergarments and attempted to steal his silverware. He finds Faustina intriguing and infuriating in equal measure. And, thanks to the curse, he’s stuck with her.

Faustina doesn’t know what to make of the sweet, shy and deeply irritating man holding her captive. Does he have something sinister in mind, or is he just trying to keep her safe? And why won’t he take off his mask?

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2807 KB
  • Print Length: 340 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #97,284 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 4.1 out of 5 stars 16 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A familiar story in 18th century Venice 5 March 2017
By Tushmit - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. I’ve followed this book over the course of various development on the author’s blog, and I’ll be honest, that does color my opinion of this book; but for the purposes of this review, I’ll try to stick outline what I think makes this book unique from others in its genre.

This is one of those fairy-tale retellings, which might be a genre of its own. As far as what kind of fairy-tale retelling this is, I suppose you could classify it under the category “historical re-contextualization”. The story takes place in 18th century Venice. Well, actually, given the nature of the Beauty and the Beast-type story, a large part of the story takes place in a palazzo away from Venice, but when the story does take the reader to Venice, the author really tries to take us to Venice. The canals, the boats, and of course, the Carnevale. I actually expected to see more of Venice, since I was aware from the author’s blog that she had done her research; but to that end, the end of this novel teases the next one which could potentially incorporate even more Venice.

This is, as the cover claims, first and foremost a Beauty and the Beast retelling. As far as BatB retellings go, you might wonder how it deals with some of the BatB elements like – does she get Stockholm Syndrome, why her father leaves her with the Beast, why does she leave and fail to return, etc. The Stockholm Syndrome aspect was handled really well in this reimagining, because, as the blurb states, Faustina gets stuck on the island with the “Beast” because of the curse, and she has to be very careful because she doesn’t know if he’s insisting she can’t leave because the curse is real, or because he is inventing a story to serve more devious purposes. The “Beast”, Benedetto, at first is actually kind of happy that the curse trapped a pretty lady along with him (though he feels guilty for selfishly feeling happy at her misfortune), but that was before he discovers that she was attempting to rob him. Now he’s stuck with a thief. This set-up also a great way to deal with the other troubling BatB elements like how everyone is manipulating Beauty to fall in love with the Beast.

As for Beauty’s father, in this version, she is (essentially) an orphan. But speaking of “historical re-contextualization”, she is actually the sister of Giacomo Casanova, a notorious figure from Venetian history. Readers may be familiar with him from his media portrayals by Heath Ledger and David Tennant. And it so happens that the real Giacomo Casanova did indeed have a sister called Faustina Maddalena, who died at age 5. So call this a “what if” story if you will. But Giacomo makes a big flamboyant appearance in this book and his presence is infuriating and entertaining in equal measure. He doesn’t exactly play the same role as Beauty’s father, but he does engineer scenarios that create the necessary effect, and his motives are just as infuriating and entertaining by equal measure.

And finally, one of the more subtle things about this book is how the author deals with the gender roles. It’s subtle, but the gender roles between Faustina and Benedetto are swapped on many occasions. Faustina is the thief, doing business with shady dealers in shady pubs/osterias, climbing out of windows, walking along ledges, dropping from balconies to the ground. Benedetto is a type-A/OCD personality, keeping his palazzo neat and tidy and efficient and functional. He cooks and cleans with utmost precision (and actually makes a wide variety of Italian dishes over the course of the book). But it’s not a complete gender flip either; there are plenty of scenes in which Faustina, out of boredom tries to help him with his gardening and pig farming, and can’t match his strength. But the best part is that the gender roles aren’t actually ever brought up or addressed. The small flips are slipped into the narrative.

There were a few things in the book I wasn’t completely clear on. There are things about Venetian culture I don’t fully understand. For example, I don’t fully understand where Venetians draw the line of propriety. They definitely seem much more liberal than their British contemporaries (I’m thinking of Regency-era Britain), but at the same time, there are scandals caused comparatively harmless scenarios. Also, this book had quite an interesting take on “magic”, but I wish it had been explored more. I got the sense that maybe the use of magic in this book is perhaps building up to a bigger picture, so maybe I have to wait till the next book to get that full picture.

Now, for recommending this book: I certainly recommend to anyone who likes fairy-tale retellings, or BatB-themed stories. I wouldn’t classify this book as YA (I suppose because none of the characters are teenagers), but it’s appropriate for young readers, especially those who like those YA romances with a light dusting of fantasy. I would recommend it to anyone who likes historical romances. There is definitely a rom-com vibe to the story (but like a well written one with very enjoyable dialogue), because the middle is all about the interactions between Faustina and Benedetto, their snarky conversations, and the gradual respect and attraction that develops. At the same time, it’s definitely not a “steamy” kind of romance. (Is it weird that I associate historical romances with steamy romances?)

This book leaves off with a teaser about a companion novel, which is also going to be a fairy-tale retelling. I won’t say which one in this review, but you’ll figure it out pretty easily. ;)
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars against her better judgement. DUring this heist 20 March 2017
By Sydney - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Rose and the Mask was a pleasant unexpected discovery today. I got on Goodreads to just check updates and here was someone interested in reading a Beauty and the Beast retelling I hadn't heard of. And the e-book was just a couple dollars. so I thougt why not. WHat then happened was a very delighful and different retelling of Beauty and the Beast that I ended up reading in a day.

One of the lovely and unique aspects of this retelling is that it is set in Venice and all the names are much more foreign than other stories I've encountered. They all seem magical and lyrical that i just think it adds something to it.

Our Beauty is a little more rough around the edges than the typical one we encounter where she's a thief and proud of it. So when her brother asks her to enact a crazy revenge robbing, she agrees, against her better judgement. DUring this heist, she finds herself drawn to a beautiful rose tree that is impossibly made of glass but full of detail. But of course the warning to not touch it comes after she touches it. And now she finds herself linked to this island and estate due to some curse that means if she leaves she will experience extreme pain and potentially death.

The "Beast" Benedetto is a great character. The book explores mulitple POV so we get insight into his thoughts and how much turmoil he is in over this curse and this new predicament with Faustina, our heroine and resident "Beauty".

Their relationship is completely full and i just love how their dynamic grows throughout the story. While the cast of characters was rather small, it still had characters that seemed fleshed out even if the only appeared briefly for one or two chapters.

I thought the twist of how the curse came about was unexpected. I had given it some thougth but not enough to peg the correct caster. Though I was pleasantly surprised by the last few chapters with how the curse ended.

Also I totally saw the sequel coming as soon as I met Chiara. Just saying.

Highly recommend this to fans of Fairy-Tale retellings
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Perfect Romance 26 April 2017
By Kindle Customer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved everything about this book. It was romantic, tasteful, and imaginative. The story was full of surprises and plot twists. I loved the Beauty and the Beast retelling. It was refreshing. The characters all meshed together and had a delightful chemistry. The hero and heroine were a perfect match. Their love developed naturally and charismatically. And, Venice is such a beautiful setting for this story. I loved the mischief and intrigue Casanova brought. He was like the comic relief. An interesting weave of lore, history and magic.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really Good! 9 March 2017
By Nic1785 - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this story over several days; I wished I had the time to read it in one sitting. The details were amazing and the characters made you feel deeply for them. The setting was Venice, Italy; I'm taking a trip there for the first time in a couple of months and author made excited to see if some of the grand description she wrote about in novel are there!
1.0 out of 5 stars Beauty and the Beat retelling? I think not. 13 June 2017
By RICHARD E. LEE - Published on
Verified Purchase
Save your money. The majority of the book is boring and wordy while the ending completely falls apart. The ending and rules of the magic completely undermine the purpose of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, not to mention the story itself. The supposed beast is wishy washy and has no back bone while the beauty is in name only. The addition of Casanova also seemed very out of place. There are better batb retellings and reimagining's, which is what this is (not the former), and better books period.