Things that I want:
Okay so I always want more Beauty and the Beast romance retellings… but so many of the novels we have take “Beast” and make classical external ugliness and turn it into internal ugliness instead so that the hero can still be painfully attractive to the heroine.
And I dig that. I do.
But also how about this:
A “gentle giant hero” whose size, and rough, dark features cause him to be bullied as a child, and mocked as an adult. High Society, to which he rightly belongs, might pander to his face because of his name. But behind his back gossips call him “The Beast of Balmore” and baseless rumors about a violent, monster like nature start to spread. Mothers hide their daughters rather than put them in his path as potential wives. Better a live Countess than a savaged Marchioness.
Heartbroken, and alone, he finally retreats to his country estate, convinced of his own monstrousness.
So when a young man is caught poaching on his lands, and his sister braves “the monster’s den” to plead with Balmore to drop the charges (he was just trying to feed their family, who are clinging to a crumbling house and little else on a small, failing estate nearby) Balmore makes an unforgivable offer.
Marry him, and she and her family will never want for anything again. She could ask for the stars, and he would pull them down. All she has to do… is say “I do”.
And really, what other choice does Helena have? But as word gets out about a hasty secret wedding, and society watches with fascination to see what happens when a beast takes a bride, Helena begins to discover something amazing. A house full of unexpected beauty, gardens hidden behind stone walls, and a in place of the monster she thought she agreed to wed: a man with gentle eyes.
So…. that was supposed to be a lot less specific when I started writing it - but you get the point! More gentle beasts!
*cough* Also now I have to go write a thing when I get home from work.