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Belle: A Retelling of Beauty and the Beast…
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Belle: A Retelling of "Beauty and the Beast"

by Cameron Dokey

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Once Upon a Time

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More like a dissertation on beauty than a love story

As I continue my Beauty and the Beast mission to read every adaptation I can find, I chose BELLE next owing to its beautiful cover and placement on the Barnes and Noble Beauty and the Beast table.

BELLE by Cameron Dokey is a smartly written study of Belle in a short, predictable, and not very heartfelt adaptation of the Beauty and the Beast tale. This is a historical teen novel set in a mythical walled city outside a dark wood.

Annabelle is obsessed with beauty and has been ever since she was twelve and stood unseen next to her two beautiful sisters. The first 50 pages of this book is a study of the word beauty and what it means to Belle as she ages into her teen years. Belle believes she's too ugly to stand beside her sisters in public, and so she shuns events in favor of carving wood. When her father's shipping business suffers a huge loss, her family must move from the expensive city and into a quaint house in the countryside, next to a dark wood, where legend holds lives a Beast who protects a magical flowering tree. At about the 75% mark in the book, Beauty finally meets Beast for a very short, very shallow courtship that progresses in the most predictable way, holding true to the classic beauty and the beast story.

This was a slow-paced, predictable story steeped in atmosphere. There is no deep point of view here, and no opportunity to really invest in any love story, though Belle is likeable enough. I honestly couldn't tell if the beast liked beauty or not. He didn't seem terrible taken with her. The Beast remained mysterious and showed no real character change in this story. In a way, this is more of a lyrical tale than it is focused on plot.

To date, this has been my least favorite retelling of the classic Beauty and the Beast story. I skimmed most of it, but I did want to finish the book, which ended with a nice, though predictable epilogue. The writing gets an A+ but the love story earns an F for forgettable.
Beauty and the Beast fans may enjoy this enchanting short, which hold fairly true to the original fairy tale. I'll definitely hang on to this book and not only for its beautiful cover--there were some beautiful sentences I highlighted as well. The is no real romance here. It's more of a meeting of two minds. The language is tame, and the violence is nil. This book is appropriate for ages 10 and up. ( )
  cmmccoy | May 23, 2017 |
This book had some good ideas and moments, but it felt to me like it was too influenced by Robin McKinley's B&tB books. I'm going to reread Rose Daughter shortly and see if my impression is correct. I'm also not sure why, when her story is *supposed* to be influenced by prior storytelling on this subject, I would hold that against her, especially since she does have several truly unique things to add to the story. Anyway, it's such a quick read and it was nice. ( )
  amaraduende | Mar 30, 2013 |
bnot enough of belle with the beast it's rather rushed towards the end ( )
1 vote avhacker | Dec 9, 2010 |
I actually enjoyed this book a lot until the end. It's the first re-telling I've read in which the mother is still alive. It didn't add a whole lot but it was a fun change. I also liked that Belle had a rather unusual gift for wood carving. There were a lot of little changes that added something fun and unique to this story.

How disappointing, then, that this story was more about Belle than Belle and the Beast. It's such a short book and yet, the Beast doesn't even enter into it until it's almost half over. The most important part is the development of Beauty's relationship with the Beast, but we only see them interact about three times and always briefly. Yet she's willing to risk everything and marry him based on that?

Another one that disappointed and ended with too much uncovered territory. ( )
  2below | Nov 2, 2010 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Cameron Dokeyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Craft, Kinuko Y.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Craft, Mahlon F.Cover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Jim, as they have all been, once upon a time and always
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I've heard it said - and my guess is that you have too - that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"Belle is convinced that she has the wrong name, as she lacks her sisters' awe-inspiring beauty. So she withdraws from society, devoting her time to wood carving. Secretly, Belle longs to find the fabled Heartwood Tree...During a fierce storm, Belle's father stumbles upon the mysterious Heartwood--and encounters a terrifying and lonely Beast. Now Belle must carve the Heartwood to save her father, and learn to see not with the eyes of her mind, but with the eyes of her heart"--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

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