Wow. This was a great re-telling of "Beauty and the Beast". I loved the whole idea behind this book with the great enchantress from the stories being Belle's mother. And reading about magical people who were afraid since they were being persecuted by those who were "normal". The development of Belle and the Beast was great and I actually bought that Belle fell in love with him in this one. They were a great duo. Braswell changes things up a bit with the introduction of the magical people (les charmantes) so you find out that people from the Disney movie (the bookstore seller) are not what they first appear as. I also loved more of a backstory to Mrs. Potts in this one too. The ending surprised me and I thought it was well done. I went looking for the other "Twisted Tales" but they are retellings of Snow White, Mulan, Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty, etc. So you don't get to read these characters after the separate stand-alones. I may revisit this series when I get some breathing room later in the year.
The book starts with a man named Maurice who likes to invent things. He sees a beautiful woman named Rosalind who is one of the les charmantes that live in the village. Though the les charmantes and others have lived togeter in harmony, fighting starts after two boys (one a les charmanates) gets into a fight over a girl and kills the other. The kingdom starts to persecute the les charmantes and many go missing. Rosalind and Maurice though marry and have a daughter named Belle. The story switches back and forth between Rosalind and then Belle. Belle we already know, but in this one she's even more head strong then the Disney counterpart. She's also horrified and a little flattered that Gaston wants to marry her. She wants adventure and to see the world though. When her father goes missing she then comes across the Beast.
Braswell does a great job with showing us the two women until Rosalind disappears from the story. We find out later on what happens to her. When Belle realizes what has happened and what her own mother did (seriously who curses a 11 year old boy) she wants to do what she can to help the Beast and the enchanted servants. I also liked Rosalind though I agree with everyone else, what she ends up doing is kind of a jerk move. We get why she did it, but you realize she was not as she could have been. We get into a bit of the les charmantes that want to leave the kingdom and go somewhere safer and others who just want to be "normal."
The writing and flow was good I think. This is a familiar story to so many people so we get different set up scenes. For example, we don't get a be our guest scene, but we do get a here's some food and wine and no we are not talking to you about anything. We get the scene with Belle and the rose, but it goes totally different.
The setting of this kingdom is still in France. But a France that is focused on driving out the different and to keep things "pure."
The ending leaves things on a totally different note than the Disney movie and I wonder how much better the movie would have been if it changed things to what Braswell did. I think a lot more people would have been happy. Not all of us thought the Prince was sexy.