I appreciate a good retelling of an old tale. Beast tells the story of Ashleigh Dalton, the plus-size person in her group of friends. She’s mid-thirties, successful in her career as an analyst for the government; looking from the outside in you would think she’s got it all together – except she’s just found out that her boyfriend of three years just married his ‘other’ girlfriend of six months. Lt. Christopher Jameson, 6’7” – 302lbs, Special Ops Marine, works in the same building as Ashleigh. After meeting in the company gym, the sparks fly between these two.
I’ve read some of Pace’s other work and I think that there’s a lot of story telling talent there, so it was with a pleasant surprise that I saw this recent publication and I literally couldn’t wait to sit back and relax with Ashleigh and Christopher.
Ashleigh is one of the most immature characters I’ve read in a long time, and I didn’t see a substantial change by the end. I should have suspected when she introduced herself to Christopher she not only gave him her name, she also gave him the spelled version ‘with a gh’. Really, you’re over 12 – that should have already fallen out of your introductory vocabulary. But I digress. After finding out about her very good looking boyfriend’s betrayal, Ashleigh decides that she’ll start losing weight because she’s realized that good looking men don’t want size 22 women (umm…gentlemen – is that true?). There’s a whole backstory about the Ashleigh’s behavior with her ex-boyfriend that I found very disturbing. After going to the gym a few mornings, the guy with the nice butt and great legs wearing a hoodie begins leaving his workout music for Ashleigh to enjoy setting the foundation for her and Christopher’s growing friendship.
Christopher is a country boy through and through. He’s got the drawl and the homegrown manners that make his Mom proud. His friends, who are all Special Ops, call him Beast –not because of his misshaped facial aesthetics due to bilateral cleft palate– but because he’s a beast on the field of combat. I really, really liked Christopher and I thought he could do so much better than Ashleigh. (*spoiler*) One of Ashley’s many problems is not that she’s a foodie, but that she’s bulimic, and I’m not convinced that’s a topic handled well in this romance novel even more so complicated by pregnancy. There are so many issues surrounding that and none of them were addressed with the gravity that they deserved.
There were quite a few other things that I struggled with Ashleigh and Christopher’s behavior. The first time that they have sex, she tells him that she’s on the pill (remember she’s been ‘on the pill’ ONLY with a cheating ex-boyfriend) and Christopher says okay. You know what – you deserve what you get! I got past that. Because of her disease, Ashley’s a liar when it comes to her food binges especially after finding out that she’s been diagnosed with a life threatening illness. The list goes on and on of all the things I just couldn’t connect with and didn’t understand how a relatively mature businesswoman would feel and act the way Ashleigh did.
Her best friends, Kendra and Lance, offered some interesting side commentary but in the end, I didn’t care. Kendra could have been a good friend but she wasn’t given the chance. Her single-dimension role was to be the pretty perfect friend who didn’t have anything else too offer. Lance got on my nerves with his excitable ‘screaming’, he was too over-the-top effeminate for my taste. Christopher’s family was the typical hillbilly folks who just couldn’t understand the government that Christopher served and Ashleigh worked for, but they were smart enough to just want Christopher happy (insert a plethora of sarcasm).
I really wanted to enjoy this story but I just couldn’t, I found this story to be more twisted than fairytale.
Happy Reading Folks!
Beastby Pepper PaceRelease Date: September 22, 2012