And we return to Mercedes Lackey’s Beauty and the Werewolf. To catch up or review, see parts one, two, three, and four.
Bella finds work in the stillroom, clearing out old herbs and organizing good ones, to occupy her time. In the course of this, she offends Mustard, the spirit second in command of the kitchen, by missing dinner. After, she makes a concerted effort to apologize and make peace with an herbed vinegar she prepares. This makes her realize how important the relationship between servant and master is, a fact she explains to Sebastian at supper that night. Sebastian and Bella stay up late discussing the stillroom and all the substances he needs for his magic that she can now provide.
Reader Comments: Stay up late? The romance in this book is slower but more natural. There is no locking eyes and falling instantly in love, which is a nice change.
Writer Comments: A writer as experienced and renowned as Mercedes Lackey knows the importance of linking everything in a story together. This chapter deals primarily with servant-master relationships and the stillroom. So, knowing the author, we now can infer that this sort of relationship and the need for some sort of substance from the stillroom will be essential pieces to the book’s resolution.
A few days pass, and Bella is well on her way to finishing preparing the list of supplies Sebastian requires. Eric returns with a gentle mule for her to ride and insists they take her out that afternoon. Bella reluctantly agrees and goes with Eric on his patrol. The mule is perfect, but Eric muddles her perceptions further with his explanations of how he handles poachers more mercifully than they’d receive from the law, though he does not hesitate to take favors in exchange from the women he catches stealing rabbits from Sebastian’s woods.
Reader Comments: I spent this entire scene waiting for Eric to pull some stunt that would hurt Bella, but he didn’t. I’m torn. Is he the villain or not? Maybe he’s planning on using her or waiting until he knows whether or not she’s a werewolf? Maybe he has some worse nefarious plot that requires her continuing to live in ignorance.
Writer Comments: Lackey includes a lot of explanations in this section about poaching, how the law work and how snares are put together and successful at killing small animals. This was all fascinating stuff, but she pulled it off mostly because she gave the explanations into the mouth of a character that would logically explain them.
At supper that night, Sebastian gives Bella a box through which she can writer her father letters. That night she pours her heart out to him and is reassured by his loving response to her worries over him and how the whole situation is her fault. The next morning she wakes horribly sore from her ride and discovers that Sebastian made the bandage around her foot magic to decrease her pain. Then at breakfast, he reveals his need for her to help with his magic in the hopes of healing them.
Reader Comments: Poor Sebastian. He’s so nice and generous, yet you can tell that he’s jealous of Eric and perhaps has a little thing for Bella.
Writer Comments: The cliffhanger. It’s one of the great tools of a writer, especially a novelist. Cliffhangers are one of the biggest reasons we turn to the next page and read on against our better judgment. Lackey ends most of her chapters on cliffhangers.
Thank you for joining me today for our reading of Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey. Next Monday, we’ll go over more. Until then, join me Wedneday and Friday for more treks into the speculative and life.