Since I absolutely love fairytale retellings, this was a pretty exciting read for me. Liz Braswell told the story of Beauty and the Beast in a twisted, dark, and different way than the original fairytale that I really enjoyed.
What if Belle’s mother was the enchantress that cursed the beast? This was an exciting twist to the original story of an enchantress randomly entering the castle and cursing a prince for not seeing the true beauty within.
The book started by following Maurice and his growing love for an Enchantress named Rosalind. The pair fall in love and surround themselves with some close friends that make their lives joyful. Rosalind constantly has to deal with the hatred that comes from being an Enchantress and is overjoyed when Maurice protects a smaller “charmante” or magic wielder.
After falling deeply in love, Rosalind and Maurice get married and Rosalind becomes pregnant with a baby girl. Unfortunately, “charmantes” become scarce in the Kingdom that they live in, due to the hatred they receive from any normal humans. With the plague spreading like wildfire, many choose to flee the Kingdom.
Rosalind has baby Belle and Maurice is in love with his little girl, so they decide to get out of the Kingdom while they still can. They move to a small village, but Rosalind is called back by the King and Queen of their old Kingdom to help save them from the plague. Rosalind refuses, but helps the children of the Kingdom, giving the King and Queen over to the plague.
On the young princes’ coronation, Rosalind returns to the Kingdom to see whether the prince is a worthy ruler. As an eleven year old, the prince turns the disguised enchantress away and is cursed to live as a beast until he falls in love with someone, who in return, loves him back. For who could ever learn to love a beast?
This twist on an otherwise beautiful tale was incredible. I think the whole story of Maurice and Rosalind made me understand this fairytale a lot better, especially because there was no back story for the enchantress in the first place.
Along with that, we got to see Belle fall in love with a Beast who is really kind, and gentle compared to what he looks like on the outside. And I just have to mention the Library, because WOW.
Belle was your average warm and cozy protagonist. She kind of just wanted to help everyone. She was a little predictable which made me kind of annoyed at times, but she was overall a pretty great character in contrast to the Beast.
The Beast was probably my favorite character. At first, he came off as super defensive and so choppy as a character, however, he grew into someone with a bigger story than I envisioned and he made me sympathize with him.
Rosalind was definitely an interesting character. She’s a bit cold to be Belle’s mother which was bothering me quite a bit, but I think as time goes on she’d warm up as a character. She also seemed pretty self-centered but maybe that’s the enchantress side coming out of her.
Maurice was definitely an adorable character, and I loved his protectiveness over Belle. His one and only motive were to protect and help Belle to get away from the Beast that he thought was wicked and cruel. He was such a simple character that added so much to the story.
Finally, our little inanimate objects were absolutely adorable. They sometimes had sass, made me laugh, made me cry. They were overall incredible characters and I loved each and every one of them!
There were a few different settings in the book so I’ll start from the beginning.
The little town that Belle and her father lived in was…well, provincial, to say the least. It seemed like such an odd town. I mean there was an insane asylum at the top of one of their steepest hills! Couldn’t it be in a more hidden place or maybe not at the top of a hill? It just overall kind of creeped me out. It was a weird town with weird people and weird things going on.
The castle on the other hand was magical. The little inanimate talking objects were adorable, the antiqueness of how it was described…just everything seemed lovely. As the book went on, however, it seemed like the castle was covered in cobwebs and that’s definitely not something I’d enjoy.
This writing style was different. It kind of bored me at first, but as the plot got going I was hooked so it was good and bad for me. It took me quite a while to get into the book, maybe even the whole first part of it, but part two and part three did get better, in my opinion.
Definitely an interesting twist on an otherwise beautiful fairytale. Beauty and the Beast but darker, more haunting, and with cobwebs surrounding the castle! What if Belle’s mother was the enchantress that cursed the Beast?