The story is written in a fictional version of Orleans. There are Belles within the walls of this city that use magic to depict beauty whether that is in a beautiful or ugly way. They do this for monetary gain and how they thrive, and have been trained to it, in their city. Each one of the Belles have a burning desire to be chose as the Majesty's favorite; as the rewards are great and steep - to keep the royal family beautiful and happy. Trouble ensues when questions start to arise about where these Belle's have come from and what their true origin not only is but about. The villain in this book doesn't come from a person or even spirit but that of beauty itself and the greedy need some may have for it, about it, and ways to use it. I was amazed by how well this one is written. There are themes that are rarely touch on and in our society probably should more often than is within the pages of this magically written novel.