May 15 2017 10:02am

Lecia Cornwall’s Beauty and the Highland Beast Book Club Discussion Thread

Beauty and the Highland Beast by Lecia Cornwall

If you're a fan of fairytales or just love every iteration of the Beauty and the Beast trope, then you're going to love this month's Heroes and Heartbreakers E-Book Club selection, Lecia Cornwall's Beauty and the Highland Beast!

Once you've finished swooning over Fia and Dair's romance, come join us to talk about tropes, magic, and beastly heroes. (If you're not ready just yet, take a look at the non-spoiler-y First Look for Beauty and the Highland Beast.)

Note: The comments for this post will be made up ENTIRELY of SPOILERS and is intended as a place for fans to gather and discuss the book AFTER reading it, so if you have yet to finish, steer clear of anything after the jump. Go finish the book, then come back. (There’s also a non-spoiler-y Q&A with Lecia Cornwall, the author, if you're not yet ready to dive into talking about Beauty and the Highland Beast.)


***LAST CHANCE: Seriously, leave this post now if you haven’t finished Beauty and the Highland BeastThis is a post to discuss the entire book.***

Here's a quick synopsis of Beauty and the Highland Beast:

Powerful and dangerous highlander Dair Sinclair was once the favored son of his clan, The Sinclairs of Carraig Brigh. With Dair at the helm, Sinclair ships circled the globe bringing home incredible fortune. Until one deadly mission when Dair is captured, tortured and is unable to save his young cousin. He returns home breaking under the weight of his guilt and becomes known as the Madman of Carraig Brigh.

When a pagan healer predicts that only a virgin bride can heal his son’s body and mind, Dair’s father sets off to find the perfect wife for his son. At the castle of the fearsome McLeods, he meets lovely and kind Fia MacLeod.

Although Dair does his best to frighten Fia, she sees the man underneath the damage and uses her charm and special gifts to heal his mind and heart. Will Dair let Fia love him or is he cursed with madness forever?

  • The Beauty and the Beast trope is a well-known classic. What's your favorite twist on the trope in Cornwall's Beauty and the Highland Beast?
  • What do you make of Moire's “powers”?
  • Fia's gentleness is in direct conflict with her destructiveness—what's your favorite Fia scene?
  • Both Dair and Fia have “beastly” qualities according to their society—what qualities do they possess that you like the most?
  • What do you think of Fia's relationship with her sisters and father?
  • What do you think of Dair's relationship with his family and clan?

Haven't had the chance to read Beauty and the Highland Beast yet? If you're in the U.S. or Canada, sign up for our new E-Book of the Month program and get a FREE download of Beauty and the Highland Beast! (Offer ends May 29, 2017, at 11:59 p.m.)

Learn more about or order a copy of the books in Lecia Cornwall's Highland Fairytale series:

When A Laird Finds A Lass (Highland Fairytales #2)
The Lady and the Higlander (Highland Fairytales #3)


H&H Editor Picks:

Don’t miss our Q&A with author Lecia Cornwall!

First Look: Lecia Cornwall’s When a Laird Finds a Lass

First Look: Lecia Cornwall’s The Lady and the Highlander

Top 5 Highlanders in Romance







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Jennifer Proffitt
1. JenniferProffitt
Oh my gosh, I love this book! I LOVE the beauty and the beast trope so much and I can't wait to see more of this clan :)
Jen Wattley
2. JenWattley
My favorite Fia scene is right at the start of the novel. Her destructive cat Beelzebub runs into the house and causes havoc, scratches up multiple men. Fia in contrast, though sort of clumsy is such a delight and very gentle. Her natural ability to heal and nurture is fascinating when juxtaposed with her somewhat clumsy nature, but she isn't afraid to stand up for herself either which is very refreshing about her.
Elizabeth Halliday
3. Ibbitts
I'm usually not a fan of fairy tales, but there's something compelling about this tale in general, and this book in particular. I'm also not a fan of witches, as a rule, but this book, again, proves to be an exception. I really liked "Beauty and the Highland Beast" and will be recommending it to others. I love the way both Fia and Moire show kindness to others, regardless of how they are treated in turn, and the dignity with which they stand up to the opposition they face.
My favorite Fia scene is the first night, when she sings Dair out of the nightmare. My favorite Dair scene was when he realized that, as an experienced seaman, he could overcome any attempt Logan made to prevent him from returning to his home and clan. Both of them were able to overcome great obstacles because they had confidence in themselves.
My only real disappointment was in realizing so early on (Dair's first vision of Jeannie) that Logan was the villian of the piece. It took some of the suspense out of the story for me, but it was just a logical conclusion - Supposition #1: Dair is not mad. Ergo, supposition #2: Who else is going to look just like Jeannie? It had to be her twin.
In the end Fia wasn't a witch and Dair wasn't a beast. I was a bit disappointed that the Sinclair clan didn't have more faith in Dair - and in Chief Padraig - for knowing who the best heir for the clan would be. Fia's relationship with her Father and Sisters was a bit puzzling to me, but I suppose one would be a little mouse if one had no self-confidence.
That "love" would be the catalyst for both Dair and Fia to really begin caring for themselves when they realized that they cared for each other, was like a ... fairy tale.
Tina Mason
4. ratchet409
I do love fairy tale retellings and I had high hopes for this one, but I am on the fence as to how I feel after finishing reading. The main characters as both are flawed and must overcome both internal and external forces as they find their way to each other. How the author writes this process though, did not pull me in. I found myself intrigued during certain scenes (ie: where Fia is healing fearsome clansmen of scratches inflicted by Bel - I had hoped this would lead to a more interesting interaction between Fia and Dair) but totally bored during whole swaths of the book.
In general, what I liked about this book:
> The Highland setting
> Fia's cat Beelezebub and the shenanigans he causes
> English John and his forthright manner
What I didn't like about this book:
> I couldn't connect with either Dair or Fia. Fia was too naive and Dair's "madness" was overdone. How many times must he be compared to an "old man" because he relies on a cane?
> Fia flinging herself at Dair. That's just cliche.
> Logan being the obvious villain.
That being said, this book had really good potential but ended up falling short for me.
5. LC
I'm usually a big fan of fairy tale adaptations. I love to see the different ways in which authors can bend or twist a traditional tale without losing the point of the original. That being said, I didn't feel like this book was an actual fairy tale. Sure, the premise vaguely reflected a small part of the Beauty and the Beast storyline in that the male lead was physically and emotionally damaged, but that's where the resemblence ended for me. None of the other characters or storyline follow the original at all. To me, this book was simply a historical romance, which is fine, but don't bill it as a fairy tale because it's not. All of the talk about witches was just fluff and can just as easily be explained by the superstitions and prejucices of the time period. Again, back to this being simply a historical romance rather than a fairy tale. There is no actual magic in this book.
That being said, the book was enjoyable enough when viewed in the historical romance category. Dair with his boatloads of survivor guilt and physical injuries is believably damaged and in need of reminding that there is still life to live even after a horrific trajedy. Fia, the damaged, often overlooked and overprotected sister, makes a decent fit for Dair because she can be believably empathetic to his physical suffering and is in dire need of getting some breathing room from her family. The cat is hilarious. The villains of the piece seemed a bit contrived to me. It makes sense that Logan would hold a grudge against Dair for his twin's death but the way he goes about attempting to get his revenge is completely convoluted. The priest is just a jerk. Why he didn't return to France on his own ages ago is beyond me since he clearly hated being in Scotland. I thought it was funny how the sisters banded together to ensure that Fia got her happily ever after but the way in which it came about seemed unnecessarily complicated. All in all, the book was enjoyable if you didn't expect too much more than historical romance.
6. hfowler
My favorite twist on the trope in Cornwall's Beauty and the Highland Beast was that Fia also had scars and insecurities to overcome in order to let Dair into her heart.
Moire's “powers” give us an insight into what healers like her and Fia dealt with during that time period in history. It is like it didn't matter how much they helped people if you were a healer than at some point you risked being accused of witchcraft.
My favorite Fia scene was when she went after what she really wanted, which was Dair. When she goes to his room at night that first time to claim her desires was passionate and powerful. I loved how strong she was and confident in what she wanted and was not afraid to fight for it.
Now my absolute favorite scene in the whole story was when the men were trying to get past Bel who was protecting the barn. It was hilarious that they bribed him with food and then throughout the story, these big strong warrior types were always bribing the cat.
The qualities that Fia and Dair have that I liked the most was Dair had a deep-seated desire to protect Fia, fearing that he would be the cause for her to be harmed at some point. Because of this Fia had a tough road ahead to win his trust and his passion. Her traits that I liked the most was that she didn't stop fighting for what she wanted. She was strong and independent and she didn't let Dair's rough exterior demeanor scare her away. They complemented each other. By showing her he saw only her beauty, he is also (unconsciously) proving to himself that he can also be loved and desired regardless of how he looks.
What do you think of Fia's relationship with her sisters and father?I think Fia's relationship with her sisters was a highlight of the story. They are so close yet so very different. I love how they step up to help Fia win the chance to marry Dair at the very end. Their plotting was quite inventive. Fia's relationship with her father was a bit sad. He was so protective of her that he didn't truly see her for who she really was until she came home at the end.
What do you think of Dair's relationship with his family and clan? Dair's relationship with his clan was interesting to watch. With English John and Angus, they never stopped caring about him and fighting for him. Dair's father tried to accept him for how he was now, but you could see through their interactions that I think the father actually believed he was mad and flawed, though he was stubborn in that he refused to accept that Dair shouldn't be his heir. He fought for his son in his own way, and what happens to the father was sad. I wanted him to see Dair and Fia have a happy ending especially when he pretty much said near the beginning that Fia was not the wife for him and if she didn't succeed in healing that she just might be in danger like all of other healers that came and died in the hopes of healing Dair.
Heather Waters
7. HeatherWaters
@JenWattley -- Her natural ability to heal and nurture is fascinating when juxtaposed with her somewhat clumsy nature, but she isn't afraid to stand up for herself either which is very refreshing about her. <-- Well said! She's a fully realized character you can't help but be charmed by.

@Ibbitts -- Glad to hear you enjoyed! This line of yours really stuck out to me: That "love" would be the catalyst for both Dair and Fia to really begin caring for themselves when they realized that they cared for each other, was like a ... fairy tale. <-- Yes! Wonderful to see them growing as people as well as falling in love.
8. catsyreader
There were a lot of cool things about this book, and a few things that bugged me a lot--so, good for a book club discussion!
First of all, I'm so in love with that cover, and the fading transition between her skirt and the grass.
Second, there was plenty of lightness to balance out some of the darker themes, like the cat (of course!) and Fia's father like a sitcom dad with all his daughter. The balance of light tone and dark themes worked really well for a fairy tale.
Third, I liked the interplay between religion and paganism, such as when (if I remember right) Dair was reluctant to publicly endorse the festival. As a devout Catholic, though, I was disappointed to have religious extremism be the source of evil especially because it's so overdone (and while the horror over the villain cross-dressing is probably historically accurate, it felt really clunky given everything going on with trans rights in our society).
I was a little confused as to why for something called a fairy tale, there wasn't much magic beyond the setup of the Goddess taking over Moire's mouth to get the plot started. It would have been way more interesting, for example, to have Dair's hallucinations of Jeannie be a haunting rather than a trick played by Logan. It would have made for a much more intimate and internal story for Dair and Fia to be struggling with their own trauma and figuring out that Dair is being haunted (or something). From the opening chapter I thought most of the action would take place at Dair's sickbed, with the hero and heroine slowly learning to trust and love each other. Instead, we find out Dair's pretty much fine except at night, and it's more of an insta-lust story where the plot is moved along by scheming villains. As you might be able to tell from my turns of phrase, not my favorite kind of romance! Did anyone else think the story turned out different from what the beginning indicated, or am I just running away with my own expectations?
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