Blue Beard by Barri Bryan
New Concepts Publishing
Historical Romantic Comedy
ISBN 1-58608-
Reviewed by Cassie



Former prostitute Mavis Donovan is rescued and married by Baptist preacher Dennis Douglas.  Twenty years and two daughters later, Dennis disappears and Mavis takes the girls, Abbey and Bea, West.  On the way they stop at a line shack to stay and meet an odd man, Mr. Rump L. Stilskin, who gets them stuck there.  Rancher Tobias Perkins doesnít want squatters on his property, so he sends accountant Wesley Wiseman and ranch foreman Hank Heartly to sort out the situation, and chaos ensues.

Blue Beard is a fractured fairy tale retelling of the story of Rumplestilskin.  The Old West dialogue, with its stilted phrasing and ridiculous comparisons, is amusing, as are the character names.  I enjoyed the sparring scenes between Mavis and Tobias as well.  The problem with Blue Beard, however, is that there are too many characters and stories going on at one time.  None of them are able to be adequately explored and resolved because of this.  Also, some of the charactersí motivations arenít entirely clear, which further confused me.  I applaud Barri Bryan for choosing Rumplestilskin (one of my favorite childhood stories) to retell, but I think this story would have been better served as a novelette or full novel.


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