Book Review – Billy and the Beast by Eli Easton

Ever After, New York #3
Publisher: Pinkerton Road LLC
Pages: 216
Characters: Billy/Aaron
POV: 1st
Genre: Contemporary, Fairytale Retelling, Series

A stolen rose leads Billy to the Beast of his dreams…

The rose is so perfectly pink and delightfully fragrant, so temptingly within reach through the bars of the locked gate. One snip later, and a masked man from Billy’s darkest fantasies grabs his arm.

Billy’s punishment for the theft? To toil in the estate’s horribly overgrown garden for the summer. Only this summer job comes with a mystery. Who is the sexy, scarred, irascible man who lives at Malfleur, and what dark secret from his past is he hiding?

The Beast believes he deserves his self-imposed exile for the crime he committed one awful, reckless night—a night he can’t even remember. He believes no one can love the ruin of a man that survived that cursed accident.

He didn’t count on Billy Martin.

BILLY & THE BEAST is a contemporary retelling of Beauty and the Beast that features a rich playboy recovering from a near-fatal accident, a web of dark secrets and gaslighting, a gothic estate, a happy Labrador retriever, and a plucky young man who adores mysteries & monsters.

This book is part of the EVER AFTER, NEW YORK series of contemporary gay romance fairy tales, but it can be read as a stand-alone.

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I’m already a huge fan of this author and this story reminds me why. I loved Billy and Aaron and their contemporary retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Not only is this story about their friendship and love, but the plot has a wonderful mix of drama and action. Although I’d worked out who the bad guy was, and what he’d one, I was still on the edge of my seat as Billy and Aaron fight for not only their future together, but their lives.

I loved how this story fitted into the setting of Ever After, New York with the references to people and places of the other book I’ve read in the series. Mrs Delphi leaves me more curious about who exactly she is with each new story I read, especially as she knows what to say to nudge people into where they need to be.

I love Billy. He’s so full of life and enthusiasm, despite everything going on in his life. I liked the parallels with him bringing Aaron’s garden back to life, and transforming Aaron along with it. I always appreciate a fellow geek and the references to movie monsters, and graphic novels were wonderfully done. The description of the garden was very vivid, and easy to visualise. I loved the language the author used, and the nods to fairy stories within the prose.

Poor Aaron. He’s so caught in a lie of who he is and what he’s done. He needed someone to come along and see through the scars to who he truly is. I love how he falls for Billy but is at first in denial and how Billy convinces him to take back his life.

Jack is wonderful and a character in his own right. I loved how he’s not only an intrinsic part of Aaron’s life, but soon becomes important to Billy too. I liked Billy’s mother. She’s a good person who needs help to overcome her own demons. I enjoyed seeing her come into her own .

I hated the bad guy—trying to avoid spoilers—and along with Billy got a bad vibe from him as soon as he showed up. I was very pleased with everything catches up with him, although I was seriously worried for both Aaron and Billy. The author writes fabulous action scenes, and I loved how both he and Billy were able to break free of the net of lies tightening around them.

The ending was a perfect HEA to a very satisfying read.

5 out of 5 stars.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
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