Bonjour! I just finished the most wonderful story about a beauty and a beast... Well, before I get too ahead of myself, let me explain: I'm starting a new series called Belle's Library, where I talk about Disney books that I have recently read!
Today I'm starting out with the first book I discovered by Serena Valentino called The Beast Within. I first learned about it from a friend who picked it up at Walt Disney World. She told me it was the story of Beauty and the Beast, but written from the Beast's perspective. I had no idea these sorts of books existed and I got so excited! Even just from seeing the cover art I was intruigued and I immediately went home and ordered it on Amazon!
Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney film, and I have such fond memories watching it over and over again as a child. Perhaps my favorite part of the movie is the opening monologue, where the narrator (whose voice is so iconic!) paints the picture of the prince, and though he had everything his heart desired, he was spoiled, selfish and unkind. The story of him turning the old beggar woman away always saddened me, and I had wondered what caused him to act that way. What events leading up to this point had helped shape the prince's character? I've always been curious about the Beast and his life pre-transformation. The movie doesn't really shed light on his story before Belle comes into his life, and I was so anxious to learn more about the prince who lived in a shining castle. What kind of a ruler was he? Had he always been unkind? Who was this old beggar woman, and how did she become intertwined in his story? I don't want to spoil the book for you, so you'll just have to read it for yourself!
Serena Valentino really took a creative spin on this tale as old as time that we know and love, and I highly recommend getting your nose stuck in this book! I felt that she remained true to the classic story line, while also painting the picture of the Beast's life before Belle is introduced. I also enjoyed the way she incorporated characters that I wasn't expecting to be part of his story. For example, the Beast and Gaston were actually buddies. Say what?! Yep, you heard me. Pretty soon it may just become your favorite book that you've read twice, with far off places, daring sword fights, magic spells, a prince in disguise! But, really.
Once you read it I would love to hear your thoughts on it!