Bellamy and the Brute by Alicia Michaels
Published: March 13th 2017 by Clean Teen Publishing
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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 that has caused deformity…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 3rd floor of the mansion, she begins to wonder if there really is some dark truth being 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 3rd 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?
This month I’ve been reading mainly retellings, and this one so far is probably my favorite of the month. There have been a lot of Beauty and the Beast retellings lately, especially thanks to Disney’s live adaption that was released this past March. I like that Michaels put her own spin to the original and made it very fresh.
This is set during modern day society in a little town in Georgia (very Riverdaleesque). Bellamy is a high school student just trying to survive since everyone thinks her father is crazy and makes fun of her for it. To help out with finances around the house, Bellamy takes a summer job as a nanny for the Baldwin family. (Remember that movie with Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer? Beastly? Kinda got that vibe a little bit) Once she starts working there is really when the plot starts to take shape and move along. As much as I enjoyed the book, it almost seemed as if it was on a rotating checklist. For a few chapters we will focus on the relationship between Bellamy and Tate. Then we will rotate to the ghosts haunting the house. Then we will go back to Bellamy and Tate for awhile. Then back to the mystery. You get the idea. Overall though Michaels tied everything up very neatly and all the different checklists merged into one for the climax. The ending kind of dragged a little bit for me after everything was resolved, but the author sets it up for the next book. Thankfully, the author didn’t leave us on a cliffhanger it’s more of a Nancy Drew type of situation where each book will be it’s own mystery for our MC’s to unravel.
Overall, I really enjoyed how Michaels interwove the original story with her own. She gave us just the right amount of elements from the original that we love and gave her own spin to make a fresh new story. Also, I liked how Bellamy is a person of color and not just your stereotypical white girl with blonde hair main character with parental issues. I also liked how then the author incorporated an inter-racial relationship. As I am part of one myself, it made the story a bit more relatable (minus the ghost seeing part).