Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly (2017)
Main Character: Belle
Plot: 4 out of 5 stars
Suspense: 4 out of 5 stars
Overall: 5 out of 5 stars
If you know anything about Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, think again.
After the Beast gives Belle his library as a gift, Belle decides to do some cleaning in order to make it feel cozy. While inside, she discovers a magical book entitled Nevermore that can transport her to any place she would like to go. Naturally, she is not a fan of being the Beast’s captive so she steps into Nevermore’s pages for an adventure she’d only dreamed about.
Inside the book, Belle meets the Countess, also known as the author of Nevermore. The Countess tells Belle that she can go just about anywhere she wished to go, however, the Countess has a few secrets up the sleeves of the black dresses she always wears. She promises several things for Belle, summer houses, parties, anything Belle could possibly want.
The longer Belle stays in the pages of Nevermore, the harder it gets for her to leave, both emotionally and physically. If she consumes three things and leaves three things behind, she is then bound to the book for eternity.
That is literally the shortest summary I can give. Anything else would be spoiling the magic of Lost in a Book. The title alone is incredible. I could not wait for it to come out, especially with the movie being several months after the book’s publication. Seeing more of Belle’s life inside the enchanted castle was wonderful. This gave more perspective on the original animated movie. There were a few times where it seemed to just be dragging on and on, but hey, it’s Beauty and the Beast!
We get to see a side of the Beast too, that we didn’t really get to see originally. He was so worried about getting Belle to, not love, but like him, be comfortable with him. That was just heartbreaking. He still got upset and threw tantrums, but when he was around her, everything was just slightly different. The author would talk about how the Beast would look at Belle when she wasn’t paying attention, you just wanted to jump into the book and give him a big hug and tell him that she DOES end up falling in love eventually and it won’t be too late.
The book also proved that the Beast did care for his servants, no matter how mad he was for his selfishness. He didn’t want to see them suffer anymore and just wished he could’ve turned back time and invited the old beggar woman inside.
I loved how Belle admitted that she did care for the servants, too. At the beginning of the book, she even calls them friends! They cared for her as well, and not just because she was the one to break their curse.
There were times where I was wondering if the author would change the outcome of the story; Certain scenes had me scared that Belle would be trapped in the book forever.
There are few Beauty and the Beast retellings out there. I know it is also one of the more popular stories because Belle is not one of the average princesses. She is headstrong and independent and I think she is a great role model for young girls. She will always be one of my favorites because we share a love of reading; we both use books to escape reality once in a while.
I was pleased with the live-action version as well. The Beast was portrayed as a well-read character (instead of the animated version where he is illiterate). It was nice that they had something in common other than “just being odd.”
If Jennifer Donnelly comes out with another original Disney book, I will be the first one in line!