Benella is concerned with two things - avoiding the two village boys who torment her and scrounging for food to help feed her family. Unfortunately the best wild fruit and vegetables are near the walls of the estate, a dark, misty place inhabited by an unforgiving beast. When her tormentors lock her behind the massive gates, Benella knows her fate is sealed. Yet the fate isn't one she expects. Her encounter with the beast starts a bizarre cycle of bargaining for her freedom, a freedom the beast seems determined to see her lose.
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Safely hidden within the estate's enchanted walls, Benella no longer has time to fear her tormentors. She's too preoccupied attempting to determine what makes the beast so beastly. It might be the taxing visits from the aged enchantress who cursed him or his growing vexation at not being allowed to touch Benella.
Abused and rejected, Benella strives to regain a purpose for her life, and finds herself returning to the last place she ever wanted to see. She must learn when it is right to forgive and when it is time to move on.