Bellamy and The Brute
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: March 13th 2017
Genres: Fairy Tales, Retelling, Young Adult
A fresh twist on a classic story, Bellamy and the Brute proves true love really is blind.
When Bellamy McGuire is offered a summer job babysitting for the wealthy Baldwin family, she’s reluctant to accept. After all, everyone in town knows about the mysterious happenings at the mansion on the hill—including the sudden disappearance of the Baldwin’s eldest son, Tate. The former football star and golden boy of Wellhollow Springs became a hermit at the age of sixteen, and no one has seen or heard from him since. Rumors abound as to why, with whisperings about a strange illness—one that causes deformity and turned him into a real-life monster. Bellamy wants to dismiss these rumors as gossip, but when she’s told that if she takes the job, she must promise to never, ever visit the third floor of the mansion, she begins to wonder if there really is some dark truth hidden there.
Tate’s condition may not be the only secret being kept at Baldwin House. There are gaps in the family’s financial history that don’t add up, and surprising connections with unscrupulous characters. At night there are strange noises, unexplained cold drafts, and the electricity cuts out. And then there are the rose petals on the staircase. The rose petals that no one but Bellamy seems to be able to see. The rose petals that form a trail leading right up to the 3 rd floor, past the portrait of a handsome young man, and down a dark hallway where she promised she would never, ever go…
As Bellamy works to unravel the mysteries of Baldwin House and uncover the truth about Tate, she realizes that she is in way over her head… in more ways than one. Can her bravery and determination help to right the wrongs of the past and free the young man whose story has captured her heart?
Tale as Old as Time … Made New: Retelling a Classic
Retelling a fairy tale is hardly a novel concept. There are certain stories that become so timeless, that the themes lend themselves well to being reused, revamped, and retold. As an author who has retold many classic fairy tales, I’ll admit that Beauty and the Beast was one I never wanted to touch. It’s been retold so many times that I wasn’t sure that I could offer a fresh enough perspective. But, as the old saying goes … “Never say never”. I promise, it’s an old saying, used well before Justin Bieber made it the title of a song/album/documentary.
When I decided to tackle the story of Beauty and the Beast, I gave a lot of thought to ways I could preserve many of the original themes and ideas, while telling a modern story for young adults. The result became Bellamy and the Brute, and I couldn’t be prouder of the way it turned out. As a fan of the original story and Disney movie, I thought it appropriate to share the differences and similarities between the original and my version. It is my hope that readers will find comfort in the familiar, while also discovering something completely new and original.
It is my opinion that the very essence of Beauty and the Beast lies in the heart of Belle, the heroine who sees past the Beast’s outer appearance to the man inside. Without her there can be no story. For me, it was important to preserve what makes Belle who she is, while turning her into a modern day teenager. And so, Belle from France, became Bellamy from small-town Georgia.
What’s the same: Bellamy (AKA Bell), is a bookworm with a heart of gold. She’s a bit of an outcast because of her father’s eccentricities, and doesn’t have very many friends. But she’s not a pushover … Bell is strong, and stands up for herself, and others, when it becomes necessary.
What’s different: The only true difference between Bellamy and Belle—aside from the obvious youth and modernization—is appearance. Bellamy is African-American, in a twist that I thought could add some much-needed diversity to the world of fairy tales and retellings. I am excited at the idea of using the essence of ‘Belle’ to create a heroine who offers representations to girls who don’t often get it, while still preserving what makes the ‘beauty’ of the story who she truly is … inwardly kind and loving.
In Bellamy and the Brute, ‘The Beast’ becomes Tate Baldwin (AKA The Brute). Just as important to the story as Belle, the ‘Beast’ needed to be wounded, deformed in some way, and spoiled. There is no ‘Beast’ without those characteristics.
What’s the same: Tate is part of the wealthiest family in town, making him like royalty (he might as well be a prince). He’s been cursed because of his arrogance and cruelty toward others … one person in particular. He’s physically deformed and has secluded himself in his mansion to escape the eyes and scorn of everyone in town.
What’s different: Tate is deformed, but he’s not an actual animal. His deformity manifests itself in his face only, which only makes his seclusion necessary because of his own pride. Tate also lives with an entire family, not by himself like Beast from the movie. However, he might as well live by himself, because he stays shut away in one wing of the house and is rarely ever seen.
Some of my favorite scenes from Beauty and the Beast portray Gaston hitting on Belle and getting shot down. And, of course, we all know that he goes from being an annoyance to an all-out threat. There was no way I could retell this story without including a Gaston-like character. Thus, Lincoln Burns was born.
What’s the same: Lincoln wants Bellamy … badly. Mostly because she’s the only girl in school not falling all over herself in his presence. It annoys him that she is so indifferent toward him, and never ceases to remind her how amazing he is and what an opportunity she’s missing out on by spurning him. He’s got big muscles and a tiny brain.
What’s different: Lincoln and Tate have a past history, which makes him even more of a threat when the poo hits the fan.
The home of the Beast is as important to the story as the characters. With furniture coming alive and plotting to help Beast win Belle’s heart, it added life and vibrancy to the tale. Because Bellamy and the Brute has a bit of a darker, almost horror-ish feel to it, some changes had to be made with the backdrop of the house, while still making it an important part of the story.
What’s the same: The house is still a mansion—as close to being a castle without actually being a castle as possible. It’s a bit gothic and haunting, while still being beautiful. There’s still a painting of ‘The Beast’ in his former appearance, which Bellamy stumbles upon in part of the story. There are still forbidden areas of the house, and there are consequences if Bellamy ever decides to venture there.
What’s different: Talking furniture doesn’t translate as well into a modern reboot as one might like, so I had to approach the ‘magical’ aspect of the story a bit differently. Baldwin House is haunted by two very angry spirits who leave trails of rose petals everywhere they go. Why? You’ll have to read Bellamy and the Brute to find out!
10 Things I Love About Beauty and the Beast
Boy meets girl. Boy is a total jerk (and a bit of an animal). Girl looks deeper to see that boy isn’t what he seems. Boy resists at first, but girl is too kind and inwardly beautiful … boy falls in love with girl. Girl realizes she loves boy even though he’s a beast.
The tale is a classic one, and the concept of a beauty falling in love with a beast, despite his falls, one that we can all identify with. There’s a reason that the tale of Beauty and the Beast continues to be retold through the ages. Something about it makes us believe in true love … because if Belle can learn to love the Beast, then it truly must be real … as well as undiscriminating.
In honor of the release of Bellamy and the Brute, as well as the movie remake of Beauty and the Beast, here are 10 things I love about one of my favorite movies of all time.
- Gaston. Okay, so I know he’s the villain, and we’re supposed to hate the bad guy. But hear me out. Gaston is one of my favorite Disney villains, because you really don’t see him coming. Most bad guys make themselves known as the antagonists from the jump … they hate the hero or heroine for (fill in the blank) reason, and want to destroy them. But, really, all Gaston wants is for Belle to recognize his perfection. What starts off as a seemingly stupid and harmless annoyance, becomes dangerous by the time all is said and done. I think it’s a testament to how villains are made in real life … ignorance that gains strength over time.
- The Music. Because, who doesn’t sing along to ‘Be Our Guest’ or cry when they hear ‘Beauty and the Beast’ In a movie like Beauty and the Beast, the music must be acknowledged, and these songs are truly iconic.
- Maurice (Bell’s Dad). Because he was just so darn loveable and I couldn’t help but see a bit of my own father in him. I just wanted to give him a big ole hug!
- Mrs. Potts. Because Angela Lansbury (voice of Mrs. Potts) is an angel from heaven and her rendition of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ brings tears to my eyes. Every. Time.
- Beast’s House & Library. Sure, the castle of the beast is presented as sort of sinister when Belle first approaches. But, as an adult, I can’t help but watch the movie again and appreciate the architecture, as well as the décor and furniture. And that library? Yasssss!
- Bell’s iconic yellow/gold gown. Because I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t wrap bedsheets around myself and twirl around pretending to wear that beautiful ball gown. Easily THE most iconic princess outfit of them all. Yes, more iconic than Cinderella’s. Sorry, Cinders.
- The scene where all the talking furniture goes against Gaston and his gang. This was one of the most epic battles of Disney history, and possibly the funniest. The part where the talking armoire leaps down to crush someone while emitting an opera-like cry? Comedic gold, I tell ya!
- The Waltz. One of the most romantic things I’ve ever seen was Belle and Beast waltzing in that beautiful ballroom. Le, sigh!
- Belle. What’s not to like about a strong, smart heroine. Belle wasn’t just beautiful on the outside. She was truly kind and generous, while also reminding the people around her that she wasn’t to be trifled with. Gaston, especially. She was not weakling, and she checked Gaston on his B.S. every chance she got. Plus, she was a bookworm, giving me someone to relate to as a kid, being the girl with her nose always in a book and all.
- Lumiere and Cogsworth. We all know the movie is about Belle and Beast and their epic romance … but I have to say I was also really into the bromance between a talking candlestick and talking clock. The banter, the arguing, the working together to get their mutual friend a girlfriend so they could all be human again … let’s keep it real. Those two were the real MVPs of Beauty and the Beast.
Ever since she first read books like Chronicles of Narnia or Goosebumps, Alicia has been a lover of mind-bending fiction. Wherever imagination takes her, she is more than happy to call that place her home. With several Fantasy and Science Fiction titles under her belt, Alicia strives to write multicultural characters and stories that touch the heart. V-Card, the first book of the Sharing Spaces series, was her first Contemporary Romance.
The mother of three and wife to a soldier, she loves chocolate, coffee, and of course good books. When not writing, you can usually find her with her nose in a book, shopping for shoes and fabulous jewelry, or spending time with her loving family.
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