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The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist

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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 ca 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.


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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 ca 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.

30 review for The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lex Kent

    Sapphic Beauty and the Beast! When I saw the cover and title for this book I knew I had to read it. We aren’t supposed to judge or pick a book by its cover, but sometimes you just have to. I was completely sold already but then I realized that this was also a Beauty and the Beast retelling; I felt like I stuck gold. I’m such a sucker for retellings and B&B (the Disney version) which came out when I was a kid, holds a special place in my heart since it reminds me of my mother who loved it dearly. Sapphic Beauty and the Beast! When I saw the cover and title for this book I knew I had to read it. We aren’t supposed to judge or pick a book by its cover, but sometimes you just have to. I was completely sold already but then I realized that this was also a Beauty and the Beast retelling; I felt like I stuck gold. I’m such a sucker for retellings and B&B (the Disney version) which came out when I was a kid, holds a special place in my heart since it reminds me of my mother who loved it dearly. I’m happy to say that this held up under my pretty high expectations and I thought this was a good historical-fiction retelling of B&B. This is actually my second sapphic B&B retelling that I have read in the last couple of years. Thorn by Anna Burke was really good and one I would easily recommend. I did like Thorn a bit more than this book, but they were quite different. This book is not as fantastical or as dark as Thorn. Don’t get me wrong, this book is not a fluffy retelling and it definitely has some grit, but this also has a very historical-fiction feel to it. This book really has two parts. Part one is all about Celeste wanting to pursue her dreams of becoming a biologist, and her relationships with her friends and family. I do have to make clear that the first half has a slower pace. Think classic Victorian times historical-fiction novel that is about Celeste and her family and what they are going through. If you know B&B, you will know certain things that are going to happen. However, I still had to laugh at myself because the book takes a turn I did not see coming, yet I totally should have. I think it shows how much I was into the story and Langley’s writing. Part two is all about Celeste at the manor/castle and her time with the beast. While I enjoyed the whole book, this really is the part that we all are waiting to read about. Watching Celeste’s journey with the beast, how her emotions change from terror to friendship and maybe beyond, was well done and enjoyable to read. The romance was slow, sweet and a bit on the lighter side, but remember this is beauty and the best which means an actual beast, so the romance fits in just right for what the story is. One disappointment for me, and an issue I think some people will have, is that we don’t even meet the beast until the second half of the book. This is a slower moving book that needs some patience by the reader. I enjoyed the slower first half that doesn’t include the beast, but what bothered me is that we just don’t get enough time with them together. On the good side, and in hearing this bumped my review up to a full 4 stars, is that there is probably going to be a sequel. Once you take that into account, the slower beginning makes much more sense. Langley, really took the time to build this world up and as a reader I absolutely want more. The main story feels complete, but there are these little balls still left in the air that Langley could take and just run with for the sequel. Plus, the relationship between the mains is just beginning and I want to go on the journey of their possible love story. Overall, this is a very enjoyable sapphic Beauty and the Beast retelling. I was hooked from the beginning and even during the slower parts I just wanted to keep reading. Langley, writes well and this retelling feels like it does justice to the original while adding its own unique spin to it. This is a good book on its own, but if it is the start of a series like it appears to be, than I actually like it even more. I would easily recommend this to fans of retellings and historical-fiction books, as long as you don’t mind a book with a slower pace in parts. I can’t wait for book two! An ARC was given to me for a review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Pooja

    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- 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. Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley. This is my honest and voluntary review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    ☆Pelumi☆ (On major hiatus....still alive though)

    Retelling of beauty and the beast but make it Sapphic?? *hyperventilating*

  4. 4 out of 5

    akacya ♡̷̷ˎˊ

    Thank you to NetGalley and the author for a complimentary ARC in exchange for a review. This did not affect my rating in any way. Celeste Rossan is a naturalist—at least, an amateur one, aspiring to be the real thing. However, that dream becomes out-of-reach when her father loses all of his money and she’s pressured into a marriage she never wanted. She runs away, only to find a unique beast in the forest, who, over time, she learns isn’t as bad as she initially thought. This had a GREAT backstor Thank you to NetGalley and the author for a complimentary ARC in exchange for a review. This did not affect my rating in any way. Celeste Rossan is a naturalist—at least, an amateur one, aspiring to be the real thing. However, that dream becomes out-of-reach when her father loses all of his money and she’s pressured into a marriage she never wanted. She runs away, only to find a unique beast in the forest, who, over time, she learns isn’t as bad as she initially thought. This had a GREAT backstory which really helped me get into Celeste’s mind and her situation. I loved the writing style, too! If you love retellings and slowburn sapphic novels, look no further!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Renaissance Kate

    I thought the cover was pretty so I requested this, and now I'm excited to read it! 🌱 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 thought the cover was pretty so I requested this, and now I'm excited to read it! 🌱 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.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Gabriella

    [Rating: somewhere between 4.5 and 5] Oh wow! This book is a wild ride and I’m so happy I got to go on this journey with Celeste. Yes, it’s a (somewhat loose) sapphic retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but it’s also so much more. For better or for worse, I was completely immersed in this book, and it’ll be one of my standout reads of the year. Set in 1860s France, this book follows Celeste Rossan, a 17-year-old aspiring naturalist who dreams of attending the Exposition Universelle in Paris. She’ [Rating: somewhere between 4.5 and 5] Oh wow! This book is a wild ride and I’m so happy I got to go on this journey with Celeste. Yes, it’s a (somewhat loose) sapphic retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but it’s also so much more. For better or for worse, I was completely immersed in this book, and it’ll be one of my standout reads of the year. Set in 1860s France, this book follows Celeste Rossan, a 17-year-old aspiring naturalist who dreams of attending the Exposition Universelle in Paris. She’s a well-developed main character whose fears, flaws, and desires we get to know intimately. She lives in the town of La Baie Doree alongside her widowed father and stylish sister Genevieve, and we're also introduced to a large cast of side characters, all of whom are well-actualized and most of whom are likable. When her good friend Etienne, who enjoys hunting, sees signs of a mysterious new creature in the forest, Celeste is determined to work with him to find the beast and thus gain acclaim as a naturalist. The “Misadventures” part of the title is not to be taken lightly. Celeste constantly finds herself in situations that sent my anxiety through the roof. The first ~40% of the book focuses on her misadventures in her hometown, and during this part I got so anxious I wasn’t sure how much more I could take. The secondhand embarrassment, the dread, a certain god-awful side character…whew! While it wasn’t always pleasant to read this part, my heightened emotional state speaks to the strength in Langley’s writing. The remaining ~60% is set in an abandoned manor, where Celeste eventually meets the Beast. When she first arrives at the manor, (imo) it takes a bit too long to get to the point. About 10%(?) of the book involves Celeste meandering around the manor, trying to glean information while only observing the Beast from a distance (though there is an intensely lovable side character to help make this part more enjoyable). When Celeste and the Beast finally start communicating, they’re so sweet and lovely with each other! Many scenes reminded me of a historical One Last Stop, because the main character takes on a detective role to solve the mystery of her new friend’s existence (and for other wonderful reasons that I’ll let you discover on your own)! I loved the budding relationship between Celeste and the Beast so much! There’s a skill in crafting a potential romance between a human and a mysterious creature that doesn’t feel weird and off, and I think Langley did a wonderful job walking that fine line. I ADORED the moment Celeste realizes her feelings for the Beast! It’s so clever and well-done, and when she finally admits it, I SWOONED. Trust me, it’s the sweetest, most tender thing and is not weird at all. For several reasons, I’m so glad this book is the first in a series. First, the Celeste/Beast relationship is just beginning, I love their dynamic so much, and I can’t wait to read more about them! Second, so much of this book is focused on setting the scene, and I think some plot points suffered a bit. Future books in the series would be able to build on this well-crafted world and answer some lingering questions. Third, I’m hoping for changes to some of Celeste’s attitudes. In this book she kind of turns her nose up at femininity and tries to figure out how to cater to the men of her desired profession. While I realize the necessity of this attitude given the time period, I’m hoping that in the second book Celeste will meet some badass women scientists and learn to embrace a more feminist attitude (just like she starts to question whether hunting for sport is okay)! In short, this book left a great impression on me and I’ve found a new gem in Langley’s writing! I can’t wait to read the next book in the series! content warnings: animal violence/hunting, animal death, blood, coerced marriage, death of a loved one, gore, guilt, hallucinations, manipulation, memory loss, misogyny, gun violence I received an ARC from Feed the Writer Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jena

    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 was 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 read 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 really 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.

  8. 5 out of 5

    patri

    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 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! 💫

  9. 4 out of 5

    monty ☀️

    *e-ARC provided through NetGalley* this book was so beautiful, it's hard to describe. I wanted to give it 3 stars in the beginning, but up until the end it just kept getting better and better, and when I tell you the ending was absolutely phenomenal- that's when I knew this book would become one of my favorites. although it was hard for me to immerse myself in this story in the beginning, because of how slow it felt, after the 50% mark I truly couldn't put it down. I absolutely loved how perfec *e-ARC provided through NetGalley* this book was so beautiful, it's hard to describe. I wanted to give it 3 stars in the beginning, but up until the end it just kept getting better and better, and when I tell you the ending was absolutely phenomenal- that's when I knew this book would become one of my favorites. although it was hard for me to immerse myself in this story in the beginning, because of how slow it felt, after the 50% mark I truly couldn't put it down. I absolutely loved how perfectly constructed and lovable, the main character celeste was, because that's what I value the most, as a character-driven reader. "The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist" was truly one of the- if not the most beautifully written and poetic books I've ever read. it made me feel so many emotions, which is rare for me. for the last 10% of the story, I was looking at the pages wide and teary-eyed, and I'm not sure I even blinked. it was all just so overwhelmingly romantic and sweet, the only word I can think of to describe it is "lovely." I regret not having had read this ARC the second I received it, because maybe then it would've felt even more special, somehow? nonetheless, this beautiful sapphic story is definitely something I recommend to everyone. it might not be for everyone, but I know that people who appreciate beauty in words, characters, or the atmosphere of books will absolutely adore this.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Cami Correch

    Beauty and the beast but sapphic? yes please.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Dooley

    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 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

  12. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist in exchange for an honest review. First off, I am so, so, down for lesbian Beauty and the Beast. If the straights get 50 new BatB retellings every year, we should at least get this one. Amateur Naturalist was fun, but never quite lived up to my expectations. For starters, the "Celeste is overwhelmed by the elements and has to seek shelter" thing described in the description doesn't happen until about the 40 Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist in exchange for an honest review. First off, I am so, so, down for lesbian Beauty and the Beast. If the straights get 50 new BatB retellings every year, we should at least get this one. Amateur Naturalist was fun, but never quite lived up to my expectations. For starters, the "Celeste is overwhelmed by the elements and has to seek shelter" thing described in the description doesn't happen until about the 40% part meaning we don't even get to meet the Beast until halfway through the book. Once the BatB stuff is introduced, it also all plays out rather predictably for a retelling. This was sweet, I'm happy it exists, but it was also fairly average.

  13. 4 out of 5

    rita ❧

    Thank you to Feed the Writer Press via NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review. 3/5. The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist is a YA historical sapphic retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It follows our main character, Celeste Rossan (an amateur naturalist), as she tries to track a mysterious beast in the woods. Let me start by saying that the writing is stunning. Seriously some of the best writing I've seen in a while. This is undoubtedly a very original retelling and t Thank you to Feed the Writer Press via NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review. 3/5. The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist is a YA historical sapphic retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It follows our main character, Celeste Rossan (an amateur naturalist), as she tries to track a mysterious beast in the woods. Let me start by saying that the writing is stunning. Seriously some of the best writing I've seen in a while. This is undoubtedly a very original retelling and the character dynamics are *chef's kiss*. My biggest problem with this book is that Celeste and the Beast didn't meet until 47% in. There was a big focus on Celeste's life as an amateur naturalist - which is fine and I enjoyed reading about it - but I did expect them to meet sooner. As a result, the first half wasn't as interesting to me as the second half. I love historical fiction, and reading about life back then - as well as how gender roles and sexuality were viewed at the time - was immensely interesting to me. I adored reading about Bridgette and Eloise in particular. The sapphic romance was lovely, I just wish we had spent more time with them. Overall, it was an enjoyable read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Maddie

    4.5 STARS firstly, i would like to thank the author and netgalley for providing me with an arc in exchange for an honest review. secondly, please read this book! i can’t stress how lovely it was. i haven’t read many beauty and the beast retellings, but most of them fall short from the original story, and i was worried that this one would. spoiler alert: it didn’t. it was gritty at times and wholesome at others, and always kept me hooked. i loved the plot and characters, and found myself laughing 4.5 STARS firstly, i would like to thank the author and netgalley for providing me with an arc in exchange for an honest review. secondly, please read this book! i can’t stress how lovely it was. i haven’t read many beauty and the beast retellings, but most of them fall short from the original story, and i was worried that this one would. spoiler alert: it didn’t. it was gritty at times and wholesome at others, and always kept me hooked. i loved the plot and characters, and found myself laughing with them. it was also surprisingly creative for a retelling. (also IT’S SAPPHIC!). the book was genuinely difficult to put down, and i’m so grateful that i got the opportunity to read it

  15. 4 out of 5

    inês

    The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist (quite the mouthful title) was a tad disappointing, but not entirely uninteresting. For a retailing, it was nice to see added representation and the erasure of certain aspects that could've irked those that know the original story (Gaston's mere existence, for example, and the so-called Stockholm syndrome). In that aspect, the story has an almost "lighter" feeling to it. while still exploring the various challenges queer people and also women of the era The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist (quite the mouthful title) was a tad disappointing, but not entirely uninteresting. For a retailing, it was nice to see added representation and the erasure of certain aspects that could've irked those that know the original story (Gaston's mere existence, for example, and the so-called Stockholm syndrome). In that aspect, the story has an almost "lighter" feeling to it. while still exploring the various challenges queer people and also women of the era had to face. It was more heavily focused on Celeste's journey to become a Naturalist than I expected, which resulted in exhausting descriptions in some scenes. The fact that she truly only met the beast halfway through the book also vexed me - sure, I wasn't promised a love story from the start, but when you're aware of the original, and when you've read about 10 chapters of a young woman suffering, struggling to find her right place in the world, long sentences hardly feel interesting, only tiring. By far my favourite part of the book was Celeste exploring the Beast's past life. I found it more thrilling, almost enchanting - it was set in the Versailles! which I'm aware wasn't the cleanest place, but it surely was portrayed as such - and even wished that we could've had the book telling that story instead of the retelling. Instead, we travelled through journal entries and conversations. Everything else I did not specific mention was simply nice. There was no extensive list of characters, and although I found the pacing quite slow most of the time, the dialogue and the little details are still worth a mention.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Colleen Corgel

    3.75 Well, I had fun with this one. This is another retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and with a queer Belle and Beast. Interestingly, this time we focus more on our Belle character, following her as she strives towards her dreams and goals. We don't even really meet our Beast until about 2/3rds of the way through the book. Also, all the elements of the original tale are there, but with some fun twists that are kind of refreshing. Celeste is a charming, beautiful, and quirky young woman who dre 3.75 Well, I had fun with this one. This is another retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and with a queer Belle and Beast. Interestingly, this time we focus more on our Belle character, following her as she strives towards her dreams and goals. We don't even really meet our Beast until about 2/3rds of the way through the book. Also, all the elements of the original tale are there, but with some fun twists that are kind of refreshing. Celeste is a charming, beautiful, and quirky young woman who dreams of being a naturalist. She and her sister are primed to go on a promised trip to Paris, where Celeste hopes to show off her findings, but circumstance makes it impossible. In fact, she is forced to be engaged her longtime childhood friend because of a misunderstanding, and is subjugated to his overbearing and cruel mother. With her dreams squashed, she runs away and ends up in a seemingly abandoned chateau where she gets sick. That's when she meets the Beast, a monstrous being who as smart and charming as she is horrifying to look at. Celeste is fascinated by the Beast and soon feelings stronger than a scientist interviewing her subject arise. I really enjoy this Belle and Beast pairing. Celeste is as quirky and charming as her Disney counterpart, and the Beast is actually as kind and smart as Celeste, but because she hasn't actually interacted with people in over a hundred years she has to re-learn people. Beast's backstory is quite tragic, but it really wasn't explained how she could become human again, I think. I did re-read some sections of the book, but it kind of is hand waved away as the Beast forgetting most of her transformation. There are other fun nods to the Disney version and the original, but it avoids making the Beast cruel by kind of making her just indifferent, then intrigued by Celeste, which is a nice dynamic. Celeste is endlessly fascinated with the Beast, but the Beast really doesn't care to much at the beginning. This looks like it could start a small series, and because the book kind of ends with the Beast and Celeste kind of facing the future together, I'd love to see what they do next. I love their chemistry and I love that Celeste is such an adorkable nerd with a bit of steel in her. I would love to explore more of that as well. Love this retelling. *I received this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Karli

    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 f 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

  18. 4 out of 5

    Potterhead Aanya

    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♪ 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♪

  19. 4 out of 5

    eliana j

    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 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 ca 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 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!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Marije

    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 cede 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.

  21. 5 out of 5

    KC

    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 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.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Betty

    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 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.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Peter DeWolf

    Throughly enjoyable. Celeste Rossan is a 17-year-old young woman living in La Baie Dorée (a small town on the coast of Brittany (1)) who considers herself to be an amateur naturalist (2) and aspires to go pro. But, in 1866, how is it possible for a woman to do such a thing? (3) The first half of the book is a historical novel, laying out Celeste's situation with her family, the hard times they fall into when "three ships are lost" and her father is ruined, Celeste's friends, and the (completely un Throughly enjoyable. Celeste Rossan is a 17-year-old young woman living in La Baie Dorée (a small town on the coast of Brittany (1)) who considers herself to be an amateur naturalist (2) and aspires to go pro. But, in 1866, how is it possible for a woman to do such a thing? (3) The first half of the book is a historical novel, laying out Celeste's situation with her family, the hard times they fall into when "three ships are lost" and her father is ruined, Celeste's friends, and the (completely unwelcome) betrothal she agrees to in order to save her family. When she runs away on Christmas Eve during a snowstorm, gets lost in the forest, and is amazingly rescued by the "beast" that she's been trying to "discover", having detected signs of it in her naturalist explorations, she ends up at the ruined Estate de la Rose, which had been abandoned and forgotten since 1733. And now we are in a retelling of Beauty and the Beast - with twists. The original folktale has a merchant who loses his fortune when his ships sink, steals a Rose to give to his daughter, and is forced to give his most beautiful daughter to a beast in order to atone. Obviously, this is not the identical setup, but you can certainly see the threads of it. That's as much of the plot you will get from me; no spoilers. It's a lovely tale. I really enjoyed seeing the relationship between Celeste and the Beast develop from terror to curiosity to friendship to, perhaps, something more. This is labeled as "Celeste Rossan Book 1", so there could/should be a sequel. This a complete story, but I can easily see more - including an actual romance. I read this book in 1 sitting, ending at about 2 o'clock this morning. I will definitely read a sequel. 1 La Baie Dorée ("Golden Bay") is northwest of the village of Belnau, which is northwest of the larger town of Monabet; a distance of 12 km separates the three fictional communities. Farther inland is Rennes (the capital of Brittany),which is 250 km from La Baie Dorée. That would place La Baie Dorée on the coast of Brittany, WNW of Rennes. There also appears to be substantial forest to the East of that location. Q.E.D. 2 A "naturalist" is a scientist who studies "natural history" - biology, focusing on observation, rather than experimentation. 3 Female scientists did exist at that time. The first sapphic romance I read this year - The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics - was set earlier in 19th century but had a similar premise; how could a woman ever become an astronomer, although, as it turns out, there were some very distinguished female astronomers before then. I can't actually name any female naturalists of the time. I am sure there must have been - and not knowing them is my failing - but surely they were far scarcer then males. In any case, the conceit in both of these novels is that young women are "expected" to get married and have children and leave the science to the mensfolk.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Maddie Boyd

    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 gorge 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 depictions 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!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Christina Clouse

    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 stor 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.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    *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 *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.

  27. 5 out of 5

    emma

    Thank you NetGalley and Ceinwen Langley for providing me with an e-arc of this book. 4/5 stars. This was such a delight to read! It made me smile, laugh and anxious at some points. The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist follow Celeste and her dreams become a naturalist rather like Charles Darwin, however; her plans are quickly forgotten when her father loses all his money. As a distraction Celeste looks for the monster she has seen markings of in the forest. I really liked all the characters Thank you NetGalley and Ceinwen Langley for providing me with an e-arc of this book. 4/5 stars. This was such a delight to read! It made me smile, laugh and anxious at some points. The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist follow Celeste and her dreams become a naturalist rather like Charles Darwin, however; her plans are quickly forgotten when her father loses all his money. As a distraction Celeste looks for the monster she has seen markings of in the forest. I really liked all the characters in this book none of them were boring and all of them served a purpose. Celeste was a delightful narrator and the prose flowed very well. This story made me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. On the other hand, the pacing slowed down in the middle and sped up too quickly at the end hence why I did not give this book 5 stars. As far as Beauty and the Beast retellings go this is the best one I’ve read so far.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lulu

    Rating: 4*s As soon as I heard there was a sapphic retelling of beauty and the beast coming out I literally screamed and instantly requested this book on NetGalley, and I'm so happy it didn't disappoint !! This was an absolutely enchanting tale, the writing was beautiful and it really captured that whimsical fairytale feeling but at the same time felt more quirky and with a little twist. The pacing of the story is a little slow and did require some patience whilst reading because I was so eager to Rating: 4*s As soon as I heard there was a sapphic retelling of beauty and the beast coming out I literally screamed and instantly requested this book on NetGalley, and I'm so happy it didn't disappoint !! This was an absolutely enchanting tale, the writing was beautiful and it really captured that whimsical fairytale feeling but at the same time felt more quirky and with a little twist. The pacing of the story is a little slow and did require some patience whilst reading because I was so eager to meet the beast, but I actually appreciated the fact that it took a little longer because it gave time to build up Celeste's character and made her a really strong and enjoyable character to read about. I wish there could have been a little more romance because what was there felt really sweet and special, but perhaps if there comes to be a sequel that could fix that ;) Overall a great book, 10/10 would recommend !! Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review

  29. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Thank you to Feed the Writer Press and Netgalley for the ARC. 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. Thank you to Feed the Writer Press and Netgalley for the ARC. 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.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Diana Green

    This was a unique and clever retelling of Beauty and the Beast, with the added bonus of a wlw relationship at the heart of the story. I liked how it read as historical fantasy, rather than otherworldly fairy tale, because that set it apart from other versions. I thought the setting was well crafted, and I really enjoyed the development of trust and love between Celeste and her "beast". On the flip side, I found some of the plot elements contrived and unconvincing, especially toward the end, when This was a unique and clever retelling of Beauty and the Beast, with the added bonus of a wlw relationship at the heart of the story. I liked how it read as historical fantasy, rather than otherworldly fairy tale, because that set it apart from other versions. I thought the setting was well crafted, and I really enjoyed the development of trust and love between Celeste and her "beast". On the flip side, I found some of the plot elements contrived and unconvincing, especially toward the end, when certain parts were rushed through that definitely needed more development. Also, this novel needs another pass by a copyeditor. The number of typos became a bit distracting. Despite my minor complaints, this was a well-written, thoughtful, and quite original take on a classic tale. I will be looking forward to the sequel.

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