Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Book review: The beauty and the beast by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot De Villeneuve.

The Beauty and the Beast

The beauty and the beast are for many known as the Disney movie that came out in 1991. Since I was born just a few years before, it was one of the Disney movies I saw as a child. I remember I liked Lymiere and Kloksworth. When I saw the new version with Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, I was very excited. My review of the movie can be read: HERE. I loved the new version very well. After watching the movie twice at the cinema, I wanted to read the original story. The original story was written by Garielle-Suzanne Barbot De Villeneuve in 1740.

The book  is a very different story. It has a few resemblance to the Disney version. In the original version Beauty (Belle) has five siblings. Three brothers and two older sisters. Her father is a merchant and in the beginning of the story they lose their fortune. The family goes from living in a mansion, to move to a small farm in the countryside. A few years later, when they have lived on the farm for a while, her father decided to make a journey and in hope to get back their wealth. He asks all six children if they want any gifts from the trip. The sons want horses and weapons to hunt with, while the oldest daughters want jewels and beautiful dresses. Beauty only asks for a rose. The sisters show great jealousy over Beauty.

A storm causes her father of the road to seek shelter in the castle where the prince/ the beast live. He stays overnight, and on the way out he comes across the rose garden. He then remembers what his youngest daughter wanted. While he takes a rose to bring home to his youngest daughter, the beast appears . The beast is given him a choice, either to die or to return with one of his daughters as the price for the rose. The beast warns the merchant that the daughter he sends must come to him by free will. 

There is no candlestick or clock that can speak at the castle. Instead there is invisible servants and monkeys. Something else is the way the beast gets cursed and why he has to live like a beast until he finds someone who can love him. I the original version his father dies, his mother must rule the country in his place. So she is away a lot and gives responsibility for her own child to a good fairy she believes. The fairy take care of him and is like a governor for him. When he has grown up, he becomes a beautiful prince. The fairy falls in love with him and as thanks for taking care of him, she wants them to marry. When both the prince and his mother say no to the courtship, it turns out bad. She curse the prince, turns him into a monster.

What I liked the most about this book was that we got behind the story of both the Prince and Beauty. In this version, Beauty turns out to be a princess, her parents thought she was dead, because of the same evil fairy that cursed the prince and Beauty becomes united with her biological father in the end.

I liked the relationship between Beauty and the Prince. In the book Beauty is dreaming about the prince for several nights without knowing that he and the beast are the same person. She fall in love with the prince and she thinks the beast keeps him hidden in the castle. She is determined to save him. After some time she leave the castle to visit her father and while she is with her family she release that she have feelings for the beast. She chooses to forget the prince from the dream and say yes to the beasts proposal. Yes, the proposal is also something that happens every night in this story. Every night since Beauty come to the castle, the beast asks if she wants to marry him, but she always answers no.

The book is different without a doubt, but if you've seen the movies you can still recognize the story. The only thing I felt the original version was missing was a bit of the magic I felt the love story had in the Disney version - both the good old and the newest. I liked the relationship between Beauty and the Prince, but I felt it was more like a strong friendship than love.

4 stars.

I would have given the story 3 stars, but I felt the illustrations in this book were absolutely amazing and made me love the book even more because of it.

~ Elin ~


  1. oh wow! I've read a bunch of diff versions of beauty & the beast but this one sounds good too! Plus the cover is SO pretty!!

    1. Yes it's really old story but good :-) I agree about the cover, one of the reason why I bought it. Thanks for your comment, Anne!