A memory: Isola as a toddler, sugarlump teeth, skin still smelling of milk. Hair that curled without use of an iron and sweet dresses that didn't matter were dirtied. When she was old enough, she demanded the usual suspects at bedtime: The Little Mermaid, Hansel and Gretel, Beauty and the Beast.
Even then, Mother's contempt for non-Pardieu fairytales was obvious.
'Hmph,' she snorted derisively, folding up her knees to perch on Isola's bed. 'Listen to me, Isola. The original Beauty's just an encouragement to young women to accept arranged marriages. What it's really saying to impressionable girls is, 'Don't worry if your new husband is decades older than you, or ugly, or horrid. If you're sweet and obedient enough, you might just discover he's a prince in disguise!'
Mother's Lasting Advice
'Never be that girl, Isola. Never pick the beast or the wolf on the off-chance he won't devour you.'