Belle

Belle

A Retelling of "Beauty and the Beast"

Book - 2008
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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" -- Cover
Publisher: New York : Simon Pulse, c2008
Edition: 1st Simon Pulse ed
ISBN: 9781416961314
1416961313
Branch Call Number: YF Doke (paper)
Characteristics: 204 p. ; 18 cm

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FindingJane May 14, 2017

This is yet another take on the Beauty and the Beast conte. Why does this story continue to resonate throughout the ages, drawing author after author to write their own take on the subject? Perhaps it’s because ours has become a culture obsessed with beauty. We subconsciously look for height and strength in our men and beauty in our public figures. With few exceptions, cinematic romantic leads are figures of pulchritude and visible signs of aging are frowned upon and avoided.

So what about those of us who’ll never possess fashionable notions of beauty? Does that mean we’re without hope? Maybe not…

Thus, the idea of a beast yearning for someone to see beyond his hideousness of his physical form to his inner spirit resonates with people. Whatever we look like, a lot of us yearn for love, for someone to see who we really are past our frail, decaying human forms.

Where Ms. Dokey diverts from the usual trope is taking Belle’s side of the question. Having two sisters who are truly lovely, Belle (née Annabelle) thinks of herself as the plain sister, the one overlooked if she has the misfortune to stand literally in her siblings’s shadows. Ms. Dokey’s Belle possesses a yearning nature and the gift of woodworking, of finding beauty within wood and cleaving to her equally gifted carver father who doesn’t care how she looks.

But Belle isn’t the only character of note in this novel. Ms. Dokey gives each of the girls and their parents individuality; their interactions are fun to read since they come off as being like a regular family, who that argues, bickers and has its differences in spite of the obvious affection they bear for each other.

But it’s the relationship between Belle and the Beast that must work if the novel is to be any kind of success and here is where Ms. Dokey truly soars. Belle’s exchanges with the Beast hinge on the notion of sight and her language thrills and aches as both of them struggle to see the other.

There is a happy ending but it only arrives after inner struggle and heartache—just as true love always does if it has any chance of enduring. Perhaps that is the real secret behind persistent fairy tales; the original authors understood that nothing worthwhile comes without exertion and grief.

s
SoftFire
Dec 30, 2015

A fair "retelling" this story isn't nearly as intricate as some. Belle was interesting but I would have liked to have seen more depth to the Beast.

e
Elentari
Nov 10, 2013

I thought this book was amazing. The writer had a magnificent way of developing a very detailed and vivid retelling of this classic story. I liked the aspect of the heartwood, and I really enjoyed the deepness of the story. touching and enjoyable. I wish that Celeste had fallen in love with someone from the country though. Belle's search for herself and her beauty was pretty heart warming. I felt I could relate to it. I will definitely read this story again.

t
tocch101
Aug 25, 2012

A fun read that could be a little better told and have some more details. The ending is a little poor and would have appreciated more of a closed door.

debs4 Jul 14, 2012

This book was okay I just felt like the plot really didnt pick up until the end

g
goofy
Nov 01, 2011

I was overall not impressed with this book.I kinda felt like I had wasted my time with this book. If you have already read Robin McKinley's Beauty or Donna Jo Napoli's Beast you will be dissapointed.

k
Kurisutaru
Oct 08, 2011

I think I read this twice...

crystal_dark Oct 01, 2011

This is a very well written re-telling of Beauty and the Beast with a few interesting changes that make it unique and keep the reader intrigued about what will happen next.

g
Geping
Jun 25, 2011

wonderful. absolutely wonderful. the author paints a beautiful canvas based on the original fairytale story

n
nic03red
Feb 25, 2011

An interesting twist to the story of Beauty and the Beast. I agree that the ending was kind of abrupt, but it was a quick and easy read. I will definitely read some of the other Once Upon a Time stories.

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crystal_dark Jun 22, 2014

“It took two," I said. "Two different people to make the Heartwood what it is. Two different experiences, grief and joy, combined. True love never has just one face, does it? It must always have two, or it isn't true love at all.”

crystal_dark Jun 22, 2014

“Unhappy memories are persistent. They're specific, and it's the details that refuse to leave us alone. Though a happy memory may stay with you just as long as one that makes you miserable, what you remember softens over time. What you recall is simply that you were happy, not necessarily the individual moments that brought about your joy.

But the memory of something painful does just the opposite. It retains its original shape, all bony fingers and pointy elbows. Every time it returns, you get a quick poke in the eye or jab in the stomach. The memory of being unhappy has the power to hurt us long after the fact. We feel the injury anew each and every time we think of it.” Pg. 45 - 46

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KayleighBook
Jul 04, 2013

KayleighBook thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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