“My dear papa, I wish for one thing more precious than all the ornaments my sisters have asked you for… It is the gratification of seeing you return in perfect health.”
This review works in conjunction with my review videos so make sure you watch them too!
This book was so different to the Disney story that I have come to know and love that it never ceases to amaze me! There were some ways in which that difference felt like it was better than the Disney story but there were many other ways in which I thought the Disney tale very much improved on the story! I talk about that more in my book club chat though.
It is worth mentioning here that this particular telling of The Beauty and The Beast is an unabridged translation of the original tale by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve. The most common version of the same tale is an abridged telling by Jeanne-Marie LePrince de Beaumont. You can actually read both of these versions for free online and if you’re interested in the history of these versions Beauty and The Beast I will leave the links below. 🙂
Reading this book you definitely get that old-time fairytale vibe. It reads in the same way that parlour stories do – the chapters are long, and filled with a lot of world-building descriptions, and the whole thing has the vibe of a periodical tale which would lend itself well to bedside tellings. The language style it is written in is more deserving of praise than the actual story to be honest, it’s floral, ornate, and an absolute pleasure to read.
If you read this in the hopes that you’ll see connections or inspirations for the Disney adaptation then you will likely be disappointed as there are very few parallels. But if you read this as someone with a passion for fairytales and fairytale history then I guarantee you will enjoy this one! All in all I gave this book a four star rating and would recommend it to anyone who wants a slow and nostalgic read!
SPOILER FREE SUMMARY
“Perhaps the dreadful fate which appears to await me conceals another has happy as this seems terrible.”
“‘The Beast must be very hungry indeed,’ said Beauty, half-jestingly, ‘to make such grand rejoicings at the arrival of his prey.'”
“Beware of allowing thyself to be prejudiced by appearances.”
What do you think of Belle’s characterisation in this version of the fairytale versus more modern versions? What implications do you think it has for feminist and female empowerment movements?
What points does the story make about virtue versus status?
What does the addition of Gaston bring to the Disney story?