As Old as Time by Liz Braswell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Summary from GoodReads
What if Belle's mother cursed the Beast?
Belle is a lot of things: smart, resourceful, restless. She longs to escape her poor provincial town for good. She wants to explore the world, despite her father's reluctance to leave their little cottage in case Belle's mother returns--a mother she barely remembers. Belle also happens to be the captive of a terrifying, angry beast. And that is her primary concern.
But Belle touches the Beast's enchanted rose, intriguing images flood her mind--images of the mother she believed she would never see again. Stranger still, she sees that her mother is none other than the beautiful Enchantress who cursed the Beast, his castle, and all its inhabitants. Shocked and confused, Belle and the Beast must work together to unravel a dark mystery about their families that is twenty-one years in the making.
I was very afraid to begin reading this book. After the disappointment of the previous books (retellings of Aladdin and Sleeping Beauty), I needed to give one more chance to this author because "Beauty and the Beast" is one of the top, most beloved stories of my childhood.
As the summary goes, Beauty is taken to the Beast's castle and when she touches the rose, the curse is revealed and everything changes. Now as the story progress both Beauty and the Beast must find a way to break the curse, before the castle disappears and everyone in it remain in their magical state forever.
The story moves from past to present and tells both the main story as also a prequel one where Maurice meets Belle's mother. It was very interesting to develop the backstory of the Beast's kingdom, how bad everything became when the magical creatures became feared and exiled and of course, the time of the curse.
Now, because the story changed from a point onward, it felt much better regarding the relationship between Belle and the Beast. After the scene with the wolves Belle and the Beast come into an agreement and in a way they become the detectives of their story as they try to solve the curse.
I think that if they had more time to get to know each other, it would make the classic Disney movie even more enjoyable. The flirt and the sweetness, how shy the Beast sometimes appears, even the Library scene was amazing in its own way.
We have also Gaston, who is the most idiotic character of the book (and I liked that very much!), but luckily he doesn't get much chapters to himself. The plot twist towards the ending was very clever and the ending despite being a little rushed will satisfy the ones who still believe after all these years that the Beast was better off as...a Beast. ;)
I don't know what will happen in the next retellings but I hope that they will be as well written as "Beauty and the Beast".
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