FicCentral received a free copy of this book from Itching for Books.
Series: Once Upon A Time Today
Publisher: Half-Faerie Publishing (Self-Published) on November 13, 2013
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (Adult)
Movie director Kerrin Mayham has an eye for beauty. Now her years of struggling on the indie film circuit are about to pay off. She's the front-runner to win Golden Pinnacle's Director of the Year. Winning will mean generous financial backing for her next project, and the most bankable actors in the industry are already signaling interest in the leading role. How will she decide which Adonis is right for the part of Demion Glass?
In this contemporary retelling of the eponymous Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, Kerrin's journey leads her to discover a deeper meaning of beauty.
Beautiful Beautiful, a contemporary fairytale novella, is the first release in Heidi Garrett's new Once Upon a Time Today collection. (Adult language & situations, no explicit sex)
Kerrin has made the climb from intern to actress to director, and while her hard work and vision has paid off, she’s finally getting the industry recognition she deserves. With her prestigious award comes new opportunities, including working with a big budget studio and screen testing the most beautiful man she’s ever laid eyes on.
Anthony is a mystery. While he seems simple and unassuming, there are hints of shadows, from the way they hardly speak with each other to his frequent stays in the restroom — where one (along with Kerrin) can only assume he’s indulging in illicit drugs. Though if the book cover is any indication, I can certainly understand why Kerrin doesn’t question anything at first. In fact, I’m pretty sure it was the cover that had me so intrigued in the first place.
The story is told from Kerrin’s point of view in the form of a fantastical fairy tale in which she indulges her daughter. Witches, never-ending spiral staircases, and fantasy foretell each real-world chapter that follows, hinting at danger and deceit. At first, I thought it was an interesting way to introduce the story, though by the time I was halfway through, I was tempted to skip those scenes altogether. They just felt so unnecessary and took me out of the moment too often.
However, the classification of “romance” for this story is extremely misleading. Kerrin’s relationship with Anthony is absolutely casual; he shows up, they go to bed, and he leaves in the morning. As even the smallest details of their coupling are not shared with readers, it’s impossible to gain any real perspective of the true nature of their relationship. In fact, aside from knowing he’s to-die-for gorgeous, we’re not told much about him until after he shows a much darker side. Even then, the facts are shared by the police, not Kerrin or Anthony himself. As for romance, the part where finally our princess does end up with a prince, it is practically non-existent. Sure, we know from the fact that Kerrin’s essentially telling her daughter her own story that there is a happily ever after. But the only semi-romantic scene is when Kerrin is finally asked out on a date by the true Prince Charming — someone we barely get a glimpse of before the story ends.
Had the story not been so short, I doubt I would have even finished it. Far from being a romance (as it was billed), it’s one woman’s cautionary tale relating how she very nearly fell into a trap before finding her happily ever after — an event that is mentioned but doesn’t play out for us in the book. I went in expecting quite a bit more than I got, or at least expecting some romance, and I was ultimately disappointed.