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.
Oh. My. Word. It’s been known that I am a 100% certified Disney nut! So when, a few years back, Liz Braswell started the Twisted Tale series, I was most intrigued and excited. Alas, I was left disappointed with the first tale, confused and befuddled with the second, but I found myself willing to give the third (and ironically, final) book, As Old as Time, a try. I mean, it’s Beauty and the Beast after all! There’s the proposed notion that asks the reader, “What if Belle’s mother cursed the Beast?” and that is the story you will encounter with this book!
The first “part” of the story alternates between us seeing Belle willingly take her father’s place as the Beast’s prisoner and then in the past when we see Maurice meeting, Rosalind, the woman who would become Belle’s mother and a “charmante”. The gist of “charmante” is basically a magical type person, ranging from fairies to psychics to other faelike creatures and of course, an enchantress. It was quite interesting in some ways to see these flashbacks. Familiar faces pop up as well ones that may surprise you in some ways. And then the moment comes when Belle enters the West Wing and reaches out to touch the rose, but instead of the Beast sending her into a terrified tizzy, she touches the rose! And after seeing a whirl of visions of a familiar face, the story changes entirely.
It’s from that moment on we don’t know what to expect. Aside from the flashbacks of Maurice and Rosalind, which promptly end in the second part of the story. The Beast is beside himself now for there is no way for him to break his curse. Which was a little puzzling in some ways, for I always thought of the rose as a timer in a way, that he basically needs to end his curse before the last petal falls, but apparently the curse is tied to the rose in a way because suddenly now he’s not so sure the curse can be broken.
But Belle, the daring and brave young woman that she is, thinks that there might be a way to break the curse if they could learn more about the enchantress who put the curse on him. Who she knows immediately upon seeing those visions, is her mother. And so an adventure sets forth between Belle and the Beast and it was quite entertaining!
Perhaps I took more enjoyment out of this novel more than the others because Beauty and the Beast has always been one of my most favorite Disney movies of all time (now to include the live action version too!). There was so much familiarity with this one! The characters are all still the same, yet there’s still a bit of a twist here and there that are thrown in to make the story its own. I actually quite enjoyed how Liz answered some of the smaller mystery/questions we’ve always had about this movie! Like the portrait I mentioned in my Teaser post earlier today! It AGED with the Beast so he’d know what he’d look like if he was in human form? We get to know who Mr. Potts was! We get teased about what the Beast’s name is! It was awesome!
There were things I did miss that were from the movie, like the ballroom scene, but since that takes place after Belle “almost” touches the rose, obviously it gets cut. But I have to admit, I really really enjoyed seeing what happened in this story! It held me captivated pretty much from the first few pages! It was deeply addicting and had a pretty strong storyline. I liked how true to the movie the book stayed though in the other aspects. Like the other familiar characters from the town, such as the bookshop keeper, Gaston, even LeFou! It was nostalgic and magical!
Did I forget to mention the mystery? I likely did in my Disney addled fangirl mind going off here! We have a bit of a mystery that happens over time. The “charmantes” have been disappearing over time, it was something that happened way back in the past while Belle was just being born and all that! And the way this took precedence in the now time was pretty well thought out! I guess because I had too much time between reading spurts that I didn’t quite catch onto the nefarious evildoer as quickly as I should have! But it was definitely quite the twist and surprise!
My one and only complaint about this book was the ending. While it was good in fact, I couldn’t help but wish for an epilogue! I mean there’s a bit that’s left unsaid and unaccounted for and I really wanted to see it played out and its outcome! I mean I guess in a way it’s the you choose your own ending kind of thing? Maybe? I’m not sure, but I basically want to know what the outcome would’ve been! It’s maddening not to know! I won’t get into details obviously, but yeah, it’s one where you want to shout at the book and demand that it gives you the epilogue which clearly must have fallen out of the book binding somehow! Lol!
If you were like me at all from the start of this Twisted Tale series and struggled with the first two books, I strongly urge you to at least give this one a try! It’s Beauty and the Beast, the most favored Disney movie among all bibliophiles (for the most part I suspect! LOL!). This book has all the magic that we loved from the movie, plus more! The answers to other questions that were left unsaid in the animated movie, though the new live action one did answer a few of those as well in their own way. But this book takes the animated classic in an entirely different direction! It’s as beautiful and romantic as the classic, and it has even more adventure and action than we would’ve expected! This is the Disney inspired novel we’ve all been waiting for!
Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars—yeah I had to take a half point off because that ending!! I guess with a standalone, because this is in its own way a standalone, I expect an ending that feels more complete and hopefully happy. While this one is very good, it still leaves you wondering at the next outcome! It’s possibly going to be driving me crazy these next few days I’m sure! LOL!