Aspiring young naturalist Celeste Rossan is determined to live a life of adventure and scientific discovery. But when her father loses everything, Celeste’s hopes of ever leaving her home town are dashed… until she sees a narrow opportunity to escape to Paris and attend the 1867 Exposition Universelle.
Celeste seizes her chance, but the elements overwhelm her before she can make it five miles. In desperation, she seeks refuge in an abandoned chateau only to find herself trapped inside the den of an unknown species: a predator with an intelligence that rivals any human.
It’s the discovery of a lifetime. Or, it will be, if Celeste can earn the beast’s trust without losing her nerve – or her heart – to her in the process.
The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist is a queer historical fantasy for adventurers of all ages.
Available on NetGalley
I received an eARC in return for an honest review, all opinions are my own. Thanks to NetGalley and the author and publisher for the opportunity. What an absolute delight. I have read many historical fantasy stories and many fairy tale adaptations, and this is one of the best. A lovely sapphic retelling of Beauty and the Beast, this independently published novel is absolutely enthralling - I devoured it in only two reading sessions. Elements of the French fairy tale are in evidence, but the story unfolds primarily as the misadventures of an aspiring young natural scientist under rather unfortunate circumstances. The world building, relationships, and details in this book were very lovingly presented, and well executed. There are strong themes which explore the ideas of acceptance, humanity, and difficult love. The writing is lush and evocative of Marie Brennan’s Lady Trent series. The practical descriptions of life in this time period are evocative of Mercedes Lackey’s Elemental Magician series. I adore both of those series so this was a very pleasant read, and one I will come back to. As it is a little spooky, this would also be an excellent fall read, especially to curl up with a nice cup of something warm.
Thank you to Netgalley for giving me an eARC in exchange for my honest review, I appreciate it! The Misadventures of An Amateur Naturalist by Ceinwen Langley is a queer retelling of Beauty & The Beast, and I enjoyed every chapter of it! Although it has its underlying inspirations, the characters and world building don’t feel conventional/reused. Celeste our MC, is a girl living in the 19th century, who is an aspiring naturalist. Her passion for this field of work, alongside with her personality make her a great protagonist, and you can’t do anything but root for her on her journey of independence and her adventures and investigations. I really enjoyed reading about her and the other characters (who I don’t want to spoil anything about!), and the way this novel is written really helped me immerse myself in the story. The romance in this book is very well written, and I need more queer romances in historical fiction novels like this one! Overall, this book was very enjoyable, and I cannot wait to read the next book in this series when it comes out.
I found this book thoroughly enjoyable. I rated it a 5/5, it includes two of my favorite types of books to read, queer and historical. It was extremely well written and had my hooked for the majority of the story, I will definitely read more from this author in the future!
3.75/5 ⭐ I went into this wholly unwitting and with no expectations - curious about the description and enticed by the lovely cover design - but Celeste's unlikely escapades turned out to be such an unexpected delight! I hadn't dipped into a historical fiction-fantasy hybrid in a while and The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist definitely reignited my enthusiasm for this literary cross-section - Celeste is largely a really likeable and relatable character and it's hard not to cheer her on as you watch her evolve and learn from her errors as she is driven to make difficult choices. It's also easy to get drawn into her naturalist passions and endearing eccentricities, and the picturesque exposition and her love for the diversity of the earth's legion of creatures - and documenting what she considers to be unthinkable, world-changing discoveries - make for a pretty enveloping, engaging reading experience. The plot is a little predictable every now and then and some of her decisions could conceivably raise a few brows, but the repurposed lesbian beauty-and-the-beast-style romance is well-developed and believably carried out, and the ending leaves enough undisclosed that I'd be happy to stay tuned to the central couple's ensuing exploits. Thank you to NetGalley and Feed the Writer Press for kindly passing on this ARC! 💫
This book was given to me by the author in exchange for a review! Wow...there are so many things I loved about this book. It was a wonderful beautifully written story of a girl desperate for independence. This book came off as a queer retelling of Beauty and the Beast. The abandoned chateau, the French setting and the beast that’s cursed. Celeste is an amateur naturalist hoping for recognition for her work. She is fascinated when she comes across a killing of red deer. Interested in a new species, Celeste begins investigating. When her family is in financial ruin she accepts her friend’s marriage proposal. She runs away and makes everyone believe that she’s dead! She comes across an abandoned castle there only to find its occupied by a beast! The two strike a friendship and well...I’ll let you read it! I loved Celeste’s character, her development was amazing and the romance well developed. The beginning was a little slow, but I truly loved learning about Bridget and Eloise in the flashbacks! I’m so glad this is a series! Can’t wait to see what Celeste discovers next! 4.5/5 ⭐️
Because the world is too wide and varied not to explore" Autor: Ceinwen Langley Puntuación:⭐⭐⭐.75 Nivel de Inglés: B1-B2 (Inglés Británico) Género: Historical Fiction, LGTBTQIA, Young Adult REVIEW: Thanks to Netgalley and the author for giving me the opportunity to read the book in exchange for my honest opinion. This book tells us about Celeste, a girl in 1800 who wants to be a Naturalist, she likes science a lot and being able to discover new things. He has a good life until one day his dad goes bankrupt and his world falls apart along with his dream of meeting the best Naturalists. It is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast but with LGTBTQIA representation and it is well posed, only that I lacked more suspense and it was somewhat predictable. The beginning was a bit lazy but after the middle it gets interesting. I like the author's pen makes you get into the world I create as well as understand the anguish of the characters. I loved meeting Celeste, she is a super strong woman but there were decisions that could have been made differently but at the same time I understand why I take them and the time in which I lived was very conservative. I feel like the love story is missing something to make it feel more real but it was still good. I recommend them if you like retellings and the author is independent so I wish her a lot of success and I would love a second part. . . . RESEÑA: Gracias a Netgalley y a la autora por darme la oportunidad de leer el libro a cambio de mi opinión honesta. Este libro nos habla de Celeste una chica en 1800 que quiere ser Naturalista, le gusta mucho la ciencia y poder descubrir nuevas cosas. Tiene una vida buena hasta que un día su papá cae en quiebra y su mundo se viene abajo junto con su sueño de conocer a los mejores Naturalistas. Es un retelling de la Bella y la Bestia pero con representación LGTBTQIA y esta bien planteado solo que me falto más suspenso y era algo predecible. El principio fue algo flojo pero después de la mitad se pone interesante. Me gusto la pluma de la autora hace que te metas en el mundo que creo así como entender la angustia de los personajes. Me encantó conocer a Celeste es una mujer super fuerte pero había decisiones que podrían haberlas hecho diferentes pero a la vez entiendo porque las tomo y la época en la que vivía era muy conservadora. La historia de amor siento que le falta algo para que lo sintiera más real pero aun así estuvo bien. Se los recomiendo si les gustan los retellings y la autora es independiente así que le deseo mucho éxito y me encantaría una segunda parte.
Adorable, smart and witty MC.. Quirky animal sidekick… To die for library in an abandoned chateau… Queer Historical Regency Fantasy/Romance.. Yes, please! The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist by Ceinwen Langley @feedthewriter I LOVED this book! It’s characters are endearing, the setting is romantic and the writing delightful. Celeste is an amateur naturalist, happy to spend her days sketching animals and dreaming of finding a mentor in Paris at the 1867 Exposition Universelle. When her family loses everything, Celeste finds the perfect solution to save them all, or is it? Lost in a snowstorm she soon discovers, not only do things rarely goes as planned, but they aren’t alway what they seem either. The realness of the tasks completed upon first staying in the chateau was something I enjoyed and appreciated, I can’t expand on that without spoilers! I’m so happy this is first in a series because I can’t wait to read about Celeste’s next adventure!! This is one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read in a long time. Regency romance readers (low steam factor) and anyone who loves strong, witty, female MC’s will love this book. Thank you to NetGalley and Ceinwen Langley for this free, digital ARC copy in exchange for my honest review.
A passionate & ambitious protagonist you can't help but adore and root for, featuring notes of Beauty & the Beast. Synopsis: 1866, France: Celeste Rossan is well known for her eccentric predilections; she would tenfold prefer to be absconded in the forest, kneeling in mud, sketching bugs, than dancing and enduring insipid small talk. description Double underline on the, 'No men,' part is you catch my drift... Although a scioness of a well established wealthy family, she has no interest in the traditional life that would thereof follow; marriage, drawing rooms, and children. description Much unlike her sister, Genevieve, who would like nothing as much as to do all the above with Etienne, their childhood friend and local most coveted/ eligible bachelor. No, playing house is not in the cards for Celeste, who aspires to travel the world, have grand adventures, and make significant discoveries as a Naturalist. description The not so small concern is how she will attain a mentor due to her gender, but she is comforted by the notion that surely her family wealth may provide some aid in terms of persuasion. Her plans are however thwarted when her father’s shipping business, description is waylaid by a crisis; suddenly the family business is ‘in the red’. Three ships were lost and as a result money gets tight and they have to move to an unfashionable side of town into an cramped apartment and rent out their home. An opportunity to save her family from ruin presents itself, and she resolves to consign herself to a life she never wanted, but as the reality of what she would be subjecting herself to becomes clear and begins to cement in stone, Celeste will be faced with choosing a subdued, but safe future, or taking a frightening risk that may very well be the gateway to a grand adventure. description There is a lot more to the story, but I won't divulge it, as I believe it is best experienced first hand! What Charmed: ♡The narrative voice is engaging, witty, and occasionally quippy. I just got sucked into the story right away. ♡Celeste! I just adored her, she is a protagonist that is easy to admire and root for. description ♡Compelling conflict, I really felt torn on what the best decision was- it was not obvious- well it was, but it was not easy, and 'twas something many individuals had to contend with due to society and it's conventional expectations. Especially with Lucile Lajoie. The Brass Tacks: ➭I have a poor track record with books that have stunning covers, and I do declare that I found this story just as beautiful on the inside as on the outside. Even when I had to put this book down due to the real world, I kept finding my mind muling over the story and eager to return to it, which from my diagnosed ADD standpoint is a credit to it's enthralling narrative. I will admit this is my first LGBT Historical Romance, and now I feel utterly chagrined to have not righted that oversight sooner- that was some heteronormative BS on my part- not cash money of me at all! My Guncles raised me better, and I shall strive to round out my HRs diversity more. In short, I simply adored this, and I believe it is an excellent start to the series. I will be awaiting the sequel to our heroine's misadventures on bated breath! description I highly recommend! I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley for an honest review.
This book is so incredible. The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist is a lesbian Beauty and the Beast retelling set in 19th century France, about a girl trying to prove herself as a naturalist by investigating a beast in her forest. I thoroughly missed historical fiction, and it was such a relief to come back to it with such a great novel. Queer historical fantasy is my favorite subgenre of literature, and it has yet to let me down. Amateur Naturalist a slow burn and more character-heavy, but I loved following Celeste through her journey and figuring out the mystery behind the beast. Everything about the beast was fascinating, actually, and I sincerely hope there will be a sequel.
WOW! This book was touching! Basically it follows a rich french girl and how she wishes to become a naturalist. Her dad looses the money and she has to marry her brotherly friend, then she runs away a day before her marriage and comes across this beast, and the beast tells her more and takes care of her, overall it was a fun read. Though the end was quite a bit unexpected! I wish there was more, like I NEED MORE! It's so good My rating ♪5 out of 5♪
Fun fairytale retailing of the Beauty and the Beast. I love to find great independent novelists and I enjoyed this one a lot. I highly recommend it to all who like historical fantasy in the 1800s. I really enjoyed that the people which are normally portrayed negatively in the traditional and Disney tale were sympathetic characters here and that the tragedy came from the situation more than anything. It made for very emotional drama. And the setting, motives and characters really work very well.
This was really fun to read. I thought it was really well written. I liked the characters and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for the chance to read this in exchange for an honest review #The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist #NetGalley
Thank you to Feed the Writer Press via Netgalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own I absolutely loved this book. I did not want to put it down, i read it in under three dys. It’s an easy read, one to get you out of a reading slump. And I absolutely needed it. The world-building, character-building and story-building was beautiful, I really really enjoyed the premise of Old French Society with pretty women. Other than the beautiful cover, the other part that got me hooked was the fact that: It’s a retelling of beauty and the beast BUT SAPPHIC. Please I would read any and every sapphic retelling of a fairytale. It was perfect to read during pride month. the ending was beautiful and complete. I look forward to a sequel from the author and i look forward to the hard copy later in the year! I would recommend this book to anyone who loves sapphic relationships and wants to read something easy
An incredibly cute Beauty and the Beast retelling with a lesbian love story in the front. Our heroine, Celeste is curious and nature-oriented, as she wishes to become a naturalist. She admires Darwin and wants to become like him, to embark on travels to faraway lands in order to discover new and exciting creatures, without knowing that these adventures were close by. A refreshing twist to the classic fairytale.
I really enjoyed this novel! The synopsis describes it as a sapphic Beauty and The Beast retelling, though this part only starts at around 40%. I found it quite important that the plot took its time, so I could be emotionally involved. The humorous tone and witty main character Celeste made me love the beginning as well. It's very easy to read and reads rather modern, which I didn't mind at all. The interactions between the Beast and Celeste were so wholesome and their relationship became my favourite part of this novel. I just wanted to see more of those two together. I also liked learning more about the past of our love interest. This book also discusses finding your own identity, which I loved. I severely enjoyed my time reading this book and I hope you pick it up, because I want a sequel!
I received this book for free for an honest review from netgalley #netgalley I love me some WLW writing and this book had that and much more. Intrigue and adventure was at the heart of the story.
The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist is an absolute delight! I am always on the lookout for LGBTQ+ historical fiction, and this is one of the best I have read. I adored this story!
Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourite Disney movies so I requested this booking NetGalley and I am so glad I got accepted! . I loved everything about this book! The characters were engaging (also feminist woman in the Victorian era trying to pave her way in a patriarchal society. YES. PLEASE), the setting was beautiful and I loved seeing Celeste and the Beast’s relationship mature and see them gain more trust in each other. I really liked how this book was sapphic, I think it added a nice twist to a well known story and it also allowed the book to explore different themes that the original could not. I did find some parts a bit drawn out towards the beginning but that’s my only critique! I really hope there’s a sequel to this book, Celeste is now one of my favourite characters and I need more content! I’ll definitely be recommending this book to everyone now!!
*An eARC of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.* Rating: 3.5/5 Stars What drew me to this book was the stunning cover art, what kept me was the story. I love Celeste as a main character. She is motivated, strong, and passionate and really sticks to her guns. I did not go into this book knowing that is was a Beauty and the Beast re-telling. And I didn't catch on until about halfway through... I was enthralled by the struggles that Celeste overcame, that she never compromised on what she wanted, and was always true to herself. This is an inspiring story for young adults as well as older ones who can't always find what it is they are looking for. I was a little thrown off by the pacing of the book, and wish we had more time with Celeste and "the Beast." The development of the romance left me wanting a little bit more by the end. Overall, I would absolutely recommend this book to someone who is looking for a more 'modern' fairy-tale retelling, a historical fiction with just a *hint* of magic, and/or Sapphic main characters.
A beautiful twist on the Beauty and the Beast tale. Celeste is confident and determined to get what she wants. She fights for what she believes in, even if it’s against all of society, and it makes her a wonderful character to follow. Incredibly done! I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving a free copy.
This was delightful. I think this is by far my favorite retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It has taken notes of the original fairytale but woven them into something original and fascinating. This is a sapphic historical retelling of Beauty and the Beast but with some significant changes (gender aside), Celeste the main character is a highly enthusiastic amateur naturalist who wants more than anything to travel the world studying animals. However, family circumstances put a damper on that dream and she ends up lost in the forest and with a mysterious 'beast' in an abandoned castle. Celeste was a brilliant main character. I loved her narrative and way of looking at the world and how she unrelentlessly went after what she wanted and wasn't ashamed of it. The Beast was also an interesting character as was The Owl and essentially every character mentioned, even the ones who were barely in it felt well-rounded and interesting. I really appreciated the character of Etienne, who took a sharp left turn from his counterpart in the original story and it was fascinating and really fitted the story. I adored the ending, I think it fitted the novel incredibly well but do wish we'd gotten to see a few more adventures. I really loved this book and would be keen to read more from this author. I revieved an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
4.5/5 I really loved it, I really like how the autor did the retelling and how it's not like other retelling about the beauty and the beast.However,I think that the relationship of Bridgette and Celeste it's not very explored and it did have so much potential,nevertheless I really liked the book.
Historical fiction is not my cup of tea but I adored every part of this book. The character development, world building, and prose was thoroughly enjoyable I knew I would be preordering it as soon I finished it. Each character had a unique voice and even the slow start was engaging enough to keep me reading. It's hard to review this book simply because there was so much I loved about it I'm hard pressed to find something to critique.
The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist stole my heart. That’s it. That’s the review. Ceinwen Langley has a way for historical fiction unlike anything I've ever read. This book was wonderfully written. The time period really came alive with her descriptions and the characters left a lasting impression. It's a wonderful spin on the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast. Its so rare to see queer characters in historical fiction, and well written ones at that. Langley perfectly captures the struggles of a young girl struggling with her sexuality in Celeste. It's also rare to see a sapphic relationship that plays a huge role in the story that doesn't end in flames. I can say that Celeste is a character that I will look up to forever, with her headstrong personality and love for her family. She's a well written character who will capture every reader's heart. Overall, this book was one of my favourite historical fiction reads, and I cannot wait to hold it in my hands. The release date cannot come soon enough, and I’m counting down the days. Thank you to NetGalley and Feed The Writer Press for letting me review this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist was an exceptional surprise of a read! When I read the description for this book I was automatically excited, I'm not much for retellings but when I read this was going to be sapphic beauty and the beast I said sign me up! This book was incredibly written as well as easy to follow. I fell in love with Celeste and her fun personality she really made the book for me. I hope others get to experience this book and enjoy it as much as I did. Thank you to netgalley for providing me this arc in exchange for an honest review.
Beauty & the Beast has always been one of my favorite fairytales and this was a great reimagining/retelling of it! Celeste has always wanted to be a naturalist, so she's delighted that she, her father, and her sister will be in Paris for the 1867 Exposition Universelle. However, when a series of unfortunate events leaves her family with nothing and she becomes trapped in life not of her own choosing - Celeste escapes and finds a chateau with an unusual barn owl and an even stranger beast. I loved Celeste was a die-hard naturalist. I found her misadventures to be quite entertaining. My only compliant is while the idea of a mysterious Beast gets introduced fairly early, the Beast herself doesn't make an appearance until about halfway into the book. So there is a bit of a wait to get to the main parts of the synopsis, but it was worth the wait! Ceinwen Langley delivers a sapphic Beauty and the Beast story that adds a few new twists to the tale! The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist is an emotional tale about finding a place to belong and choosing your own life's adventure (or misadventure). It was definitely worth the read! Many thanks to NetGalley, Feed the Writer Press, and Ceinwen Langley for an eARC of The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist! I really appreciate the opportunity to read it.
This book was absolutely fantastic! The ending!!! I adored the main character, Celeste! She was strong, and motivated. This Beauty and the Beast retelling was so unique, and I absolutely loved it. It definitely had me wanting more though! 5/5 stars!!
4 stars. The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist is a unique, queer retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Going into it, I was a little worried that it wasn't going to be very original, as Beauty and the Beast is perhaps the most commonly retold fairytale, but this book changed enough details from the original text to make this a new and exciting story. All the changes in this book were welcome, and the characters were quite well written as well. On the topic of characters, I will say that I wasn't initially sure how to feel about Etienne, as unlike his Disney counterpart, Gaston, he's very sympathizable. Although I liked how 3 dimensional a character he was, I found it to be a bit of an issue when Celeste left home. Obviously, I understand that she did not love him romantically, and therefore didn't want to marry him, but considering it was her best option and benefitted her family, it made her running away seem a bit rash. But then she left home and flourished, as expected, so I understand her decision. Again, without mentioning any major spoilers, I was a little confused about how to feel about Etienne at the end of the book. He was still a well rounded character I felt bad for, but he also felt like the closest thing to a villain this book had (not because he was evil, just because his goals stood in the way of Celeste's). Luckily, I found that during the confrontation he didn't stray too far from the character he had been established as and I liked the way this book concluded. Even though there were a few moments were I wasn't sure how to feel about Etienne, I'd much rather a book with 3 dimensional characters that occasionally gets confusing (as to who you should mainly be sympathizing with) than a book with flat characters who oppose the protagonist. On to my thoughts about the romance. To put it simply I was very impressed by it. This book does start kind of slow, and since the love interests did not interact until about the 50% mark, I was worried the romance was going to be rushed, but it wasn't. Celeste and "the Beast's" conversations felt genuine and you could sense the connection they had as people. Their relationship was really strongly written, and as a whole I really liked this author's writing style. Onto my last note, which is minor, but I think worthy of mentioning. I appreciate that the author acknowledged at the start of the book that the land this was written on is Aboriginal land. This is something people are starting to acknowledge more and more as of late, but I'd never seen an author mention it in a book's acknowledgments, so I was impressed to see this. Overall, this was a really enjoyable and dynamic Beauty and the Beast retelling that I'd recommend to any YA fantasy readers.
Thank you netgalley for providing an ARC in exchange for a review. I started reading this book, expecting a nice story about a young woman from a 19th century who wants to become a naturalist, and it turned out even better than expected. As someone who loves biology and animals, I really related to Céleste, the main character. I loved reading about her sketches and her theories on animals! The characters are well written, and the plot is very good. It took me some time to understand that this is a retelling of a well known tale. And it's a very good retelling, especially because it's sapphic. This story also has very nice feminist vibes, and the cutest owl.
The misadventures of an amateur naturalist by Ceinwen Langley is a story that comes out in 2 months! It is a LGBTQIA+ retelling of the fairytale Beauty and the Beast. The misadventures of an amateur naturalist follows Celeste, who aspires to one day be a natural scientist. She dreams of going to Paris to a gathering of other natural scientists and finding a mentor to study under. Something that would be quite difficult considering she's a women-a disadvantage in the 1800s which is the time period the book is set in. However, Celeste is determined to go through with it and do her best. That is, until her family's fortune and situation takes a turn for the worst. Now forced into a situation that threatens all of her dreams she makes a few wrong turns and ends up stumbling upon something beyond anything she'd ever imagined. Rating: 5/5 I remember watching Beauty and the Beast, the live action, when it first came out in theaters. I loved the movie and fell in love with the story. I remember reading so many different retellings of the story and yet now i can't remember any of their names. This story however, it's a story that has creeped it's way i to my heart. It's a story that i can see myself rereading over and over again. And not only because it's an LGBTQIA+ retelling and thus i can connect to it more. So many retellings of fairytales stick close to the original stories and there's nothing wrong with that, but it always leaves me wanting more. The misadventures of an amateur naturalist is that more. Ceinwen Langley took a classic fairytale and truly made it their own. They completely rewrote a classic fairytale and they did splendidly. I fell in love with the main character and her cliche not like other girls' portrayals. I fell in love with the way Langley described everything, with their writing style. I really loved the pacing of this story, i couldn't put it down. I simply devoured this book, finishing it in a few hours. It gave you enough clues and yet at the same ti.e not enough. Honestly this story was so we'll written that I really can't think of any complaints. I could say so much more about this story but then this review would just turn into me rambling on and on. Overall thoughts are that this is a book that will stick with me for a long time. I definitely recommend reading this book especially if you are a fan of fairytale retellings.
As a reader hugely interested in fantasy and historical fiction AND a member of the alphabet mafia (read: gay), I was so keen to read this! Thanks to Feed the Writer Press at NetGalley for this eARC 😍 3.5/5 ⭐️ I’ve been in a reading slump for a long while. I wanted to read historical fiction but have been so put off by the inevitable boy-girl romance sprinkled in that I don’t care one ounce to know about. I suppose I could just skip over those parts, but why should I when lesbian historical fiction exists? Not to mention I love me some fairytale retellings! “My little finch.” Can I adopt this pet name? It's the sweetest. There are so many endearing little phrases like this littered through the book, it was very enchanting. The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist follows Celeste, a budding natural scientist (naturalist: my wife confused this with a nudist). She wants ever so much to go to Paris and find a mentor to study under even though she wears skirts instead of trousers (a grievous disadvantage in the 1800s, to be sure). When her family loses everything and things take a turn that threatens her much-loved independence, she takes some miscalculated steps that lead to something much greater. Celeste was a joy as a protagonist, if a little cliche in her not-like-other-girls fashion (not complaining, I found her dirty skirts and awkward persona quite lovely – I like a black sheep character). I do wish she was more aware of her feelings for her childhood muse earlier on, but that’s just because her description of how she felt about holding hands was so darn cute. The beast's personality and the chateau itself were both painted so well and revealed in compelling ways. The conflicts the characters faced were paced so that I couldn't just put the book down – I had too many questions! - - - I looked up far too many words I didn’t know, and I’m not sure if that’s a side effect of my reading slump, but my vocabulary still isn’t terribly limited so I doubt it. I’m very glad my kindle has a dictionary, anyway. My worst quibble is that the end didn’t last long enough! I loved the dynamic between beauty and her beast but when it shifted to human, though it was the same, it was different and I really wanted more of it. The beauty and the dandy, denying love no more. I suppose it could lead into a sequel; I'd read it. Come to think of it, she didn't seem to give much thought after this to her family back home, whether they were really taken care of. A little too convenient? I suppose some of that comes at the expense of "killing your darlings" though. Overall, a charming and fun read! Ceinwen has other books that I will definitely be indulging in after this lovely introduction to her writing.
Oh my gd. This might be my favorite fairy tale rewrite ever. This story is the beauty and the beast everyone should know. Historical fiction in 1833 France + magic and curses and beasts was so not what I was expecting when I picked this book but wow am I glad that the author wrote it. First off, the cast of characters is just amazing. Celeste, the protagonist, is just such an interesting character. She’s funny and sweet and her work as an amateur naturalist is so good. I love how she makes difficult choices to keep herself and her family safe, even when she wishes she could do otherwise. Etienne is loosely based on Gaston but he’s actually like a good man and loves Celeste and just wants to give her a happy life, so I had a harder time simply writing him off. He deserves his happy ending too and I truly hope he gets it. The writing is really well done, it’s a nicely paced book with just the right amount of clues to who the beast really is. It’s a fast read that will leave you smiling through both happy and sad tears. Honestly this story was just perfect, I have zero complaints. I would love to see a sequel one day so fingers crossed for that!
The Misadventures Of An Amateur Naturalist is a sapphic retelling of Beauty And The Beast. I loved the writing style in this book. It is elegant and perfectly fitted the time period the story is set in. The characters were all 3 dimensional which made the story even more enjoyable. This is BatB with but with more of a nature element. Celeste Rossan adores nature whereas Belle, her equivalent, adores reading and literature. The only issue I have with this book is that I was 40% of the way through for the plot that is described in the synopsis to begin. The synopsis states that “she sees a narrow opportunity to escape to Paris” and this doesn’t unfold until almost half way through. As well as this I was 50% of the way through before the love interest was introduced. This wasn’t my biggest issue i personally just prefer to have met the love interest earlier in the books so I have more time to form an opinion. This book was entertaining and enjoyable
**This is the actual review for The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist I promise** The moment I find a book that gives me even a tiny whiff of Beauty and the Beast I will instantly go for it. That, initially, is what drew me to Ceinwen Langley’s ‘The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist’. The sapphic lean was’t a bad add-on either—give me queer retelling a of anything and I’ll bite. But this book is so much more than the nods to Beauty and the Beast. It’s plot is wholly original and includes a cast of characters who can hold their own. In 18th century France, Celeste Rossan is a young, independent woman whose mind is always on science and the natural world around her. Nothing would please her more than to spend her days in the forest sketching and studying animals while her sister was bred for a softer life. When financial ruin strikes her family, Celeste enters into an engagement she does not anticipate nor is it something she wants. Her fiancé—sweet, caring Éntienne—would’ve been perfect for her sister, who could actually love him beyond that of a brother. Desperate for a way out that would still keep her father and sister protected, Celeste fakes her death and sets off on a half cocked journey. Barely a few miles from town she is caught in a blizzard and attacked by wolves, only to be saved by an odd little barn owl and a beast. Faced with a completely new discovery, Celeste studies the beast and before long she finds herself falling for her. I loved Misadventures so much. I was never bored, always intrigued by the beast and her life in the chateau. I was able to guess several things just based on the bare bones connection to so many other renditions of Beauty and the Beast, but beyond that I was constantly surprised and even when my guesses were wrong I was enjoying myself. The beast was so peculiar and I found that while she was described often as fox like I couldn’t get this image out of my head of the mutation. Fox-like but also sort of lemur-ish? And large enough to ride on? 10/10 must cuddle. By no means is Celeste a perfect character, but I found her very relatable. I found myself longing for Eloise and Brigette along with Celeste, how she felt about the journal. Brigette dressing like a man and “feeling right”? Ugh, still my queer gender fluid heart. I’ve already recommended this book to a bunch of my friends, been texting my best friend while reading and had so much fun waxing poetic about The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist.
Celeste Rossan is an aspiring amateur naturalist, but when her father goes bankrupt, her dreams seem ever farther away. Her only recourse is to try and track a mysterious beast in the woods. Firstly, the cover is beautiful. The writing is just as lovely. This is a sapphic retelling of Beauty and the Beast that puts enough enough of a spin on the familiar story that I was well-entertained. The heroine Celeste is endearing, and even minor characters are extremely well-drawn. The 'villain' is three-dimensional. There was also a certain grittiness to the story that I really enjoyed, especially in the section set in the beast's house. It helps blend historical realism with the more fantastical elements. That grittiness also means that plot threads go untied, elements remain tragic and unfixable, and realism prevails. My only complaint is that it takes us a rather long time to actually meet the beast. Still, an excellent read that I highly recommend.
Similar in subject and feeling to Frances Hardinge's The Lie Tree, but lighter and less fraught, with the addition of queer themes and romance elements. A retelling of Beauty and The Beast that makes the Gaston character actually pretty nice? Unthinkable!
This book was such a sweet read. Overall I had fun reading and found myself very invested in Celeste and the beast's relationship, and was interested in all the other characters introduced in the beginning of the book. I will say in my opinion that it is very slow-paced for the most part, which isn't a bad thing to me, but I know some people don't like slow reads. There were a couple aspects of the book that I wasn't thrilled about which were that you have to get through around 40% of the book for Celeste to even meet the beast, and 50% for their first conversation. I wouldn't say that the buildup to that is unimportant, but I think going in expecting a beast and not seeing her until 40% in disappointed me a little. And while I know the main character is very science minded, I would have liked to know more about the magic/curse that made the beast, although that does like it's going to be addressed eventually. That being said I did not dislike reading the beginning chapters, and the book was distinctly split into two parts that I think were separated well. Celeste is a very enjoyable character, and I appreciated that you could see both her flaws and the positive aspects of her character front and center. I thought the romance between Celeste and the beast was very subtle and sweet as it built up. The ending was satisfying while still leaving it open for the sequel, which J I will most likely be picking up.
<i>Thank you to Feed the Writer Press via Netgalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own </i> Rating: 3.5/5 stars! The MIsadventures of an Amateur Naturalist is a great sapphic Beauty and the Beast retelling. I really liked Celeste as a main character. She was brave, smart and very likeable. Throughout the story we see her overcome many obstacles but she always stayed true to herself. I liked learning about the Beast's back story and how she came to be a Beast. I did enjoy Celeste and the beast's relationship but I did not like how they only got to interact at the 50% mark. However, the relationship did feel genuine and you could see the connection between the two love interests. I really enjoyed the author's writing style and I felt as though the whole book was very well developed. I would recommend this book to fans of the Historical romance genre!
I went into this book with a high expectation for it, and I must say, I was not disappointed at all! What drew me to this book when I first chanced upon it on Netgalley was specifically its title as it contained the word, “Naturalist”. When I read the blurb and learned that it was Historical Fiction as well, I was sold! The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist, is the story of Celeste, lover of animals and of sketching said animals, who dreams of becoming a professional naturalist, but is suddenly struck by misfortune over a single night. In the hopes of picking up her broken dreams, she launches unto a plan that pulls her into a world that is unfamiliar from her own, scientific one. Through the story of Celeste, we are taken into a tale of what it means and feels to sacrifice one’s dreams; of the guilt and confusion in choosing one’s passion over one’s family. What I loved about this book was that it was actually a queer retelling of Beauty of and the Beast, but the story veered off a lot from the original one, thus giving it its own unique charm. Set in 1800’s France, the story portrays themes of shattered dreams, sacrifices, self-discovery, challenging the norm, lost love, and many more. The plot was very engaging and exciting, and this made me have a hard time putting the book down, despite it containing parts where the pacing of the story seemed to slow down a bit. The interactions and conversations between Celeste and the various characters such as her sister Genevieve, friends, and her Aunt Lucile allowed us to see in better light the prejudices and “priorities” the people held at that time (and maybe even today), such as money, power, and positions in society. The aspect that I absolutely loved about this book was the passion that Celeste had to the natural world; that aspect of her trying being so in love with creatures both small and big that she actually tries to capture each species in detail through her talent in drawing. And the fact that the book mentioned Charles Darwin, and mildly incorporating his theory into the story was also fun to read about. The author also did well in describing the setting of the forest and the creatures that reside within it, allowing us to visualize the wonders of the natural world through Celeste’s eyes. In conclusion, The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist is one of my best read books for this year! It combines things I love such as a historical setting, science, and an ambitious character who gives the readers a laugh from time to time. I highly recommend this book for anything who enjoys fairytale retellings; this book is sure to give you feels by twisting your heart with both sadness and joy!
I went into this story with no expectations, and was pleasantly surprised. While the plot was a little predictable and the beginning a little bit difficult for me to get into, once the plot picked up and Celeste was in the middle of her adventure the story was lovely. Beauty and the Beast retold for sure. I really enjoyed the beast’s backstory. Thanks Netgalley for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
I really enjoyed this story! I’m not sure how I managed to miss the fact that it’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling, but I somehow did and, while that made for a nice revelation partway through, I enjoyed The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist all for its own sake too. The start is perhaps a little on the slower side when you consider it as part of the fuller story — there’s a lot of time spent in Celeste’s life before she goes off on her ‘misadventures’ (about 30-40%?) — but I really enjoyed Langley’s writing style and the details of the character’s lives and changing fortunes in their small French town, so I had no problem with enjoying the journey. I liked the way Langley treated the retelling aspect. She gave the ‘Gaston’ character a full, complex personality of his own and made him a really likeable character (with his own weaknesses too, obviously). It made Celeste’s choices far more complicated and her inner conflict really understandable. I could even have stood for him to be a little less likeable, to really draw out the conflict when he and Celeste reunite. I also liked that the ‘Beast’ was treated more along the lines of the pre-Disney versions — outwardly monstrous, but kind and polite — it’s a story about seeing past appearances, not trying to ‘fix’ some handsome but angry, abusive asshat the way a lot of BatB retellings seem to do. The romance in The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist is important — how could it not be? — but I really appreciated that Langley didn’t just make it about Celeste choosing between two suitors. She’s got her own dreams and ambitions, and a harsh reality getting in the way. It’s as much about Celeste making decisions about her own future and what she considers worth sacrificing too. And since I’ve held off as long as I possibly can: Look at that cover! Look at it!! The artist has done such a beautiful job on this book. A great story and interesting retelling, with really well-rounded characters. I’d highly recommend The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist and look forward to seeing more from the author.
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an arc of this book. This was such a great book so I'm very glad my request for an arc of this book got accepted. I would first like to note that I like how the author of the book acknowledged that the book was written on Aboriginal lands: "This novel was written in Whadjuk Noongar country. The author would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land, and to pay her respects to Elders past, present and emerging. Sovereignty was never ceded. Always was, always will be Aboriginal land." I loved the main character, Celeste. She is a brave young woman, driven by curiousity. She is a very relatable and in my opinion likable character, as her emotions and behaviour felt very realistic to me (so e.g. when she was in a situation where we would all be terrified and we would freeze, she would as well. She wouldn't go on to play some kind of foolish hero). Going into the story I didn't know this was a Beauty and the Beast retelling, but I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered this about the book. I think the author did a good job incorporating this into the story, though I do think the magic aspect (at least I assume it is magic) came a bit out of nowhere. Maybe we will see more of this in the sequels to this book. The plot of the book was relatively simple, but still enjoyable. The first third of the book was a bit difficult for me to get through, because we didn't get to see much action, but afterwards the book picked up pace and the story became more interesting. I also thought the romance was well worked out and not at all rushed, which I'm very glad about. Obviously the romance was a bit weird, with this being a Beauty and the Beast retelling, but that was to be expected. Over all the romance was pretty good. Finally, I really liked the end of the book. It was a bit of an open end, in the sense that it makes me very curious to read about what Celeste's next adventures will be. But the end also brought closure and left me satisfied. Over all I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend you pick this up once it comes out September 1st.
Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC! This book was such a page-turner! I found myself almost immediately invested in Celeste and her life, and just had to know how things were going to end up. I must have devoured a majority of it in two sittings. The beauty studying the beast is a refreshing take on the iconic story, and the sapphic element even more so. I did find their romance predictable at times, but that's almost to be expected with a retelling, so I didn't mind it much. The only element that bothered me was the ending. I thought it was a little too lacking to match up with the rest of the book; things are over and done with quite quickly. Also, there's a sort of discordance between science and magic in the book, especially the ending, and I would've loved to see that explored a little more. But, all in all, I really enjoyed this book!
I really really liked this! The writing is vivid and immersive. And the story was absolutely delightful! It is quite predictable since it’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling, but it’s still a cute and well-told story. I did want more development of the Beast’s character, but I’m sure we get to explore that in the sequel, because apparently it’s a series. I am super excited to continue Celeste’s adventure in the next book and see if she’s able to pursue her dream job! Thanks to the author and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Thank you Netgalley for the ARC. I enjoyed this queer retelling of Beauty and the Beast, even though the ending wasn’t 100% what I was suspecting.
Thank you to Ceinwen Langley and Feed the Writer Press for a copy of this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review! Okay... the first thing I thought after finishing this book (and after thinking "wow I love women") was: I need the sequel NOW! I went into reading this book with zero expectations, and I was definitely pleasantly surprised in every way. The plot was original despite it being retelling of Beauty and the Beast, the main and side characters had tons of depth, and the relationship between the two love interests was sweet, authentic, and extremely believable (not to mention SAPPHIC!!!!) I loved how complex Celeste's motivations were, and I didn't expect to get so invested in her relationships with the other characters, especially Etienne, Genevieve, and her father. I felt emotionally attached to all the characters within the first quarter of the book, and I really felt the main character's conflict throughout. Not only that, the added layer of history and science made this retelling super unique. Celeste's dream of being a naturalist was charming and it was expertly woven into the story. I could tell the author did research into the time period, especially the setting in France, and every detail felt very seamless and well thought out. This book definitely had the whimsical, romantic, and Parisian vibes I expect from a fairytale retelling! The writing was beautiful, very enchanting and easy to get lost in. The pacing between parts 1 and 2 was fluid, and I felt equally engaged in both halves of the story. I loved Celeste's journey in unraveling the mystery behind the beast, as well as her own discovery of her sexuality and her emotions/plans regarding her future. I also liked the moral grayness of the characters and the main character's development of her values throughout the book. Importantly.... LOVED the gayness of this book, absolutely 10/10 retelling for the girls. This book has definitely made my list of pleasantly surprising reads, and even my list of favorite reads of 2021! I really hope we see more of these characters in the future, and I'd love to see a sequel ahhh I love these two girls so much and want to see more science adventures in the future.
What a fantastic take on beauty and the beast! The writing is really well done, it’s a nicely paced book with just the right amount of clues to who the beast really is. It’s a fast read that will leave you thinking about the story well after reading the last page.
This book was such a sweet read. Overall I had fun reading and found myself very invested in Celeste and the beast's relationship, and was interested in all the other characters introduced in the beginning of the book. I will say in my opinion that it is very slow-paced for the most part, which isn't a bad thing to me, but I know some people don't like slow reads. There were a couple aspects of the book that I wasn't thrilled about which were that you have to get through around 40% of the book for Celeste to even meet the beast, and 50% for their first conversation. I wouldn't say that the buildup to that is unimportant, but I think going in expecting a beast and not seeing her until 40% in disappointed me a little. And while I know the main character is very science minded, I would have liked to know more about the magic/curse that made the beast, although that does like it's going to be addressed eventually. That being said I did not dislike reading the beginning chapters, and the book was distinctly split into two parts that I think were separated well. Celeste is a very enjoyable character, and I appreciated that you could see both her flaws and the positive aspects of her character front and center. I thought the romance between Celeste and the beast was very subtle and sweet as it built up. The ending was satisfying while still leaving it open for the sequel. My tiktok about this book: https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMdXcGN7T/
trigger warning <spoiler> emotional abuse, gaslighting, emotional blackmail, trauma, being transformed, gun violence, animal death </spoiler> Celeste is an amateur naturalist, and her dream will come true when she travels with her family to Paris, to visit a grand exhibition and search for a mentor. But then her father announces he's bankrupt, and everything changes. I was able to read the first half of this book in one go, and I believe that was good as it might have dragged a bit for me otherwise, because till then the focus of the plot was on marraige stuff. I loved the second half, and maybe there even is a trans character in there. I am not sure, it's not said in modern terms. The writing has some modern words in it, especially when Celeste is cursing, but I didn't mind. It fit, somehow. While I would have liked to be told what happened to another character, it is mentioned why the characters don't have more information and can't obtain them. Maybe an authorial comment at the very end would have been nice, framing it like stuff they were able to figure out later on, without going in too deep how that happened. I liked it, and I think if you're looking for a different take on the Beauty and the Beast, you will, too. The arc was provided by netgalley.
A Queer retelling of beauty and the beast: what more do you need to know? While the time before Celeste meets the beast is longer than I'd like- leaving less time for the romantic leads to develop their relationship. But the time spent with them, and the time spent with the protagonist: Celeste was enjoyable to read. I think Celeste is a good protagonist which an interesting motivation unlike other retellings of this fairy tale I've read. Overall, it's a well put together YA novel that I can see many people falling for!
I'm definitely going to struggle to write a coherent review for this book because HOLY HELL it was perfect. This story kept me hooked for days, completely addicted to its gripping, mysterious and emotional twists and turns. A perfect mix of hearty historical fiction and swoon-worthy-slow-burn romance, this fresh take on Beauty and the Beast ticked all my boxes (and made some fresh ones which I will now demand of every book I read henceforth). Langley's writing is superb throughout, layering gorgeous descriptive prose with insanely quick wit. I savoured the stunning depcitions of the glorious abandoned mansion, the winding, claustrophobic forests and the insanely tangible descriptions of the animals. My favourite character was the Beast, mainly her dialogue was written so incredibly well. The descriptions of her expressions while making some of the funniest quips in the book were legendary. Langley brought Celeste to life in every conceivable way; her character made sense to me. Celeste is deeply selfish, naive and does some dumb stuff but it all makes complete sense for her to make the decisions she does. I loved her, rooted for her and related to her so strongly. I would recommend this STUNNING book to anyone who wants a mysterious, escapist novel but doesn't want to work hard for it. Langley has done ALL the work here, all you have to do is snuggle up and be swept away. Thank you so so much to Ceinwen Langley and to NetGalley for this e-arc, I'm eternally grateful!
Not at all what I was expecting but an absolute treat nonetheless. Full of magic, intrigue, and romance. This book is perfect for fans of The Strange Case of the Alchemists Daughter.
Sapphic Beauty and the Beast. That is the main plot point of this book. I greatly enjoyed the main character, Celeste, and her journey to become a Naturalist in 1860s France. Even though it was a fairytale retelling, there was enough new elements and new spins to keep the plot interesting along with even a few plot twists I was not expecting. My only criticism was that it started slightly slower than I normally enjoy in books, but I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves a good fairytale! Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and this is my honest and voluntary opinion.
This review honestly only needs to be six words long to convince someone to read this book: Sapphic Beauty and the Beast retelling. Need I say more? But if you (for some reason) need more information: this book follows Celeste, who (as the title suggests) is an amateur naturalist. She has her sights set on travelling to Paris to impress a professional naturalist into accepting her as a student, when her father goes bankrupt and she is forced to consider alternate options for success. Her only option: finding the elusive beast in the woods. I am a sucker for any beauty and the beast retelling and this one was so fresh and different! It took all the best parts of a beauty and the best retelling and added three dimensional characters, a lovely setting, and have I mentioned it’s sapphic??? I have seen a lot of reviews saying that the beginning is slow, and while I don’t disagree, I enjoyed the plot before we met the beast as well. The writing style was easy to read, and I liked Celeste as a character. I thought I would be able to relate to her less than other Belle renditions because she was more science focused (while I always loved belle due to her love of reading and books) but the author did a great job of putting me into celeste’s shoes and made me passionate about science despite hating it irl. Overall I recommend this book to fans of historical fiction, fantasy, and anyone who (like me) has an obsession with beauty and the beast.
The first half took me a while to get through, I’ll not lie. I think I was so focused on the beauty and beast comparison that I couldn’t focus on other things. But after reading the book and analyzing it in its entirety, this was such a refreshing take on the Beauty and Beast trope! It takes the basic aspect and then changes everything else so none of the secondary characters fit into any of the characters you know. I loved the family dynamic between Celeste and her family, but also Bridgette and Guillaume. I was a little bit worried that the romance was going to be Insta-love because we were introduced to the love interest half-way into the story, but it actually progressed in a super realistic way and it was adorable! I thoroughly enjoyed my reading experience and I would recommend this to anyone.
Celeste Rossan doesn’t want a life of marriage and kids. She wants to make a name for herself. She wants to explore and see the world. I like how her character is written. She’s a girl who struggles in her time period to be able to be taken seriously. Yet she will do anything to be listened to. She’s an aspiring naturalist. This story focuses on her survival instincts after seeking refuge in a seemingly abandoned chateau after finding a way to escape her current life. Along with the focus on a strange beast that she first learns of before the chateau and then later has several encounters with at the chateau. Celeste discovers the story behind the chateau and those who once lived within it. She’s a science girl who learns that not everything has a scientific explanation. How some things are just what they are. The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist is a wonderfully written sapphic retelling of Beauty and the Beast.
4.5/5 stars! This is easily the best Sapphic retelling of Beauty and the Beast that I have come across, which is high praise considering the other two (In The Vanisher's Palace and Thorn) are also excellent. Every character was sympathetic, motivations were clear, relationships were strong and sweet, and despite the implausibility of the curse at the center of the B&B tale (as noted by several of the characters), it was treated very well. I only didn't give this five stars because I was conflicted about the "realism" aspects which made it a more "modern" story, but also a deeply sad one. For instance: (view spoiler) As a minor point, I find that Sapphic books can sometimes have very one-dimensional male characters, but I felt like this book did a fantastic job of having well-rounded, sweet male characters. Etienne is an especially shining example. Thank you to NetGalley for providing me an ARC for an honest review!
If I told you there was a sapphic historical fiction retelling of beauty and the beast, would you take it? Of course you would. And you certainly wouldn't be disappointed. This book is excellent for fans of sapphic retellings, A Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, and Gail Carriger.
Lately there has been a craze for fairy retellings and I have been gobbling them all up when I come across them. This book was no different. The Beauty and the Beast story has been one of my most, if not favorite, Western fairy tales, and I have read various adaptations of this timeless classic. I will say the pros of this book first for me. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the book was set in late 1800s France and the theme of a naturalist was exciting, to say the least, especially with the concept of a young woman trying to be one during that time period. Darwin's ideas certainly brought much excitement to people, scientists or not, and for a woman to be interested in such a thing at the time was definitely unheard of. It was great fun to see how Celeste observed and interacted with the world around her in a much different fashion than her friends or family through a curious scientific eye. I think I would have loved to have been her friend, much like her friend Angie who also supported her discoveries and scientific mind (and their love pastries and adventure stories!). I think we would have all gotten along just fine. And the beast too, was a curious creature. I was surprised at how much more animalistic this beast was compared to others I've read about. Sure, she could read and hold intellectual conversations but she was just as any other wild creature, in a sense. I would have also enjoyed her company. Admittedly, I was completely surprised by the character of Etienne by the end, but I am glad at how thing rather turned out overall for all major parties involved. I think my only problem with this book was the minor thing of all the French in it. It's a cultural gap with me only knowing English, but it took me some time to figure out how I wanted to pronounce a lot of the words in the book. A guide of some sort would've been nice. The ending also felt a bit rushed. I feel some further closure for all characters involved would've been nice. I would have liked to have seen how Celeste's family and friends had ended up, though like the lover of the beast, I suppose they had to remain in the past and everyone had to go on to the future. Although only the author can say, I hope that everyone in the story found at least a bit of happiness in the end, whatever it may be. Also, the snippets shared here and there about Clement Orleans were fun to read, and I know I would've subscribed to read about his adventures and perhaps share them with my own Angie as well. I would definitely recommend this book to my friends who also enjoy fairy tale retellings as much as I do. It was a fun read, unique in its ideas, and I am glad I came across it when I did.
This was an absolutely delightful read. I'm always yearning for queer retellings of classics and fairytales, and this one certainly did not disappoint! In The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist, we follow seventeen year-old Celeste on her journey of becoming a professional naturalist. Set in 1800s France, Celeste has yet to realize that the world is not always kind to young women following their dreams. Reality strikes when her father loses the family fortune. She is backed into a corner, and begrudgingly accepts a proposal from her wealthy childhood best friend in order to rehabilitate her father and sister. The night before her wedding, though, Celeste realizes that the situation isn't fair to anyone. Streaking off into the night, what she finds in the forest may change the course of her life. The characters in this novel were lovely, and I found it difficult to dislike any of them. They were all wonderfully developed, and I greatly enjoyed seeing Celeste slowly morph into a decisive young woman throughout the book. Even the side characters seemed to each hold a piece of the author's heart. The romance was also incredibly well-developed. Definitely one of my favorite wlw reads of the year so far. The emotions felt so real and relatable. Most importantly, the author managed to keep the book unique. With retellings of classic stories, it's incredibly easy for the plot and pacing to get muddled as the author tries to put their own twist on the story. However, Langley successfully keeps the loveable aspects of the original tale without compromising her own details. I would highly recommend this book! Love love loved it.
This book was thoroughly delightful. It follows Celeste, who, like the title says, is an amateur naturalist, who goes from rich to being poor. A series of events conspire so she leaves town to pursue her freedom, but she gets caught in a blizzard and so stays at a the chateau of a beast she's been wanting to study, and then stays there longer in order to study it further. This book had a bunch of twists and turns and was engaging throughout. I liked the dual falling in love, the slow falling in love with the figure in front of her and the falling in love with a historical figure, which added a twist to the beauty-and-the-beast retelling, beyond the queer twist. I wish that she would have gotten some closure with her parents and friends from her past life, that she could have visited them or something. The slow-burn romance was done nicely. The writing was excellent, I particularly liked the scenes where she imagined flashes of her future if she followed a certain route, and there was a good deal of humor. Overall, I heartily recommend this book.
I read this book in one sitting. Okay, that’s a lie. I started this book last night, fell asleep when I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer, and then rolled over this morning and picked it up again immediately. I got halfway through the book before I placed a pre-order for the hardcover copy (releasing on September 1, 2021!). Every cup of tea I made to drink while I read The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist went cold, because I could not for the life of me stop reading for long enough to drink them. Did Ceinwen Langley look into my brain and create a book specifically designed for me and everyone like me – namely, people with excellent taste? I think so. The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist is full to the brim of gutsy women who make bold choices, who go after their own happiness with both hands. It’s got monster women. It’s got smart women. It’s got… everything I could ever want. If I had to classify this book, I would call it historical romance fiction with a dollop of fantasy. If you look at it askance, it’s a lesbian retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Which – I’m already on board with. Even if that was all you told me, I would be all over it like a rash. But this book is so much more than that. The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist tells the story of Celeste, a young, wealthy French woman who dreams of attending science spectaculars and learning alongside the greatest minds of her generation. She’s a naturalist, she studies animals and insects and other things besides, and she has great dreams of travelling the world, learning everything there is to know. But her father is keeping a secret from her, and that secret is big enough to destroy all her hopes – until she is proposed to by the perfect man. Except she doesn’t love him. She doesn’t love any man. Girl, same. So she escapes. She runs, straight into the den of a beast, unlike any she or anyone else has ever seen before. Do you see where I’m going with this? This book is so well-written and the characters are so wonderfully fleshed-out that I truly felt like I was experiencing everything alongside them. I adore Celeste and admire her bold and brave choices. The conversation between her and the beast were a perfect dance – I would have read chapter upon chapter of their banter. I will say this - the book starts slow. The main action of the story doesn't really start until halfway through the book. But, to me, that is not a negative. I got a solid introduction to Celeste and her family and friends, her past, and her story. She is, after all, the reason I wanted to keep reading. I think her tale will resonate with a lot of people who don't fit the way society wants them to fit. There is so much heart in the pages of this book, and it’s definitely a story I will read again and again. The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist has wormed its way into my favourites shelf and I am absolutely beseeching you to give it a read. You will not be disappointed. Five glowing, shining stars. Thank you to NetGalley and Feed the Writer Press for providing me with this ARC.