I’m a huge fan of retellings so when I heard about this new Beauty and the Beast retelling I had to get my hands on it! Lost in a Book revisits the story of Belle and the Beast. The story begins when the Beast grants Belle access to his amazing and full library. However, this time Belle is lured into ‘Nevermore’ – a trick by Death herself. Death is trying to thwart the blossoming romance between Belle and the Beast so not to lose a bet she made with her sister, Love, but she uses underhand tactics to get her way. Belle, tired of the dusty (castle) and missing her father dearly, is taken in by Nevermore immediately and sucked into Death’s evil plan. But will she manage to escape from Death’s clutches in time to get back before the last rose petal falls and seals Beast’s fate?
It was lovely to see more of the story behind Belle and the Beast’s relationship and I think the Beast appears a lot softer and more human in this version. Interestingly in Donnelly’s version I sympathised a lot with the Beast and not so much with Belle, whereas my feelings towards the original story are the complete opposite. However, my favourite characters in the end (and those that I felt we knew the most about!) ended up being Chip and the other transformed household objects. These characters really tugged at my heartstrings and for me they stole the show.
I wasn’t such a fan of the stuff that actually takes place in ‘Nevermore’. These parts reminded me a lot of the story ‘Coraline’, which is just thoroughly disturbing and it gave me the creeps! Death is a horrible character who is much more sinister than some of the other ‘baddies’ in fairytales because she actively tries to manipulate people’s lives in such a way that she may even cause their deaths. I found it hard to sympathise with Belle when she was in Nevermore because I thought her terribly naive but this is actually only a small part of the story. Furthermore, the climax is a little predictable too but I suppose with this sort of novel it almost always is.
I love reading books about books and this one was no exception. It’s the perfect time to read this to tie in with the live-action film release (which I am yet to see!). What’s great about this retelling is that it doesn’t rewrite the original story, but instead it could actually be placed into the original without changing it. I would say, however, that I think this story is primarily aimed at younger teenage girls. The story isn’t particularly complex and it’s very easy to read so this would’ve been absolutely perfect for me around 7 years ago. It’s a story of friendship, bravery, love, family etc. so a really lovely tale for YA readers. Of course, if you’re a massive Beauty and the Beast fan, you’re sure to enjoy this story at any age, but I thought that was a point worth noting! All in all, Lost in a Book is a heart-warming tale that will no doubt please Disney fans. It’s a quick, easy read that’s perfect for a lovely spring afternoon 🌹
Many thanks to Paragon Books for providing me with a review copy!
Are you a Beauty and the Beast fan? Have you seen the latest live action film?