As Old As Time by Liz Braswell

As Old As Time by Liz Braswell

What if Belle’s mother cursed the Beast?

Belle is a lot of things: smart, resourceful, restless. She longs to escape her poor provincial town for good. She wants to explore the world, despite her father’s reluctance to leave their little cottage in case Belle’s mother returns—a mother she barely remembers. Belle also happens to be the captive of a terrifying, angry beast. And that is her primary concern.

But Belle touches the Beast’s enchanted rose, intriguing images flood her mind—images of the mother she believed she would never see again. Stranger still, she sees that her mother is none other than the beautiful Enchantress who cursed the Beast, his castle, and all its inhabitants. Shocked and confused, Belle and the Beast must work together to unravel a dark mystery about their families that is twenty-one years in the making.

“Magic comes back to you, just as the actions of people do.”

Well, this book definitely didn’t end the way I was expecting, and I’m not sure if I liked it better than the original Disney version or not.

Besides the ending though, I liked the twist question of having Bell’s mother being the Enchantress. It makes the story have much more meaning to it, and such a twist than just having a random Enchantress curse the Prince because he’s a jerk that has an ugly personality. Sure, it makes for a good moral, but like, what made the Enchantress come there of all places, and why that test? With this addition to the story, it makes more sense, a lot more sense.

I also really appreciated the background of Maurice and Belle’s mom – who finally has a name! It’s Rosalind – and how they met, fell in love, and came to such a provincial town. They definitely didn’t start off there, and it was so nice to know that Maurice actually did have friends before we first met him in Beauty and the Beast. He wasn’t such an oddball that everyone ridiculed and didn’t take seriously, but he was someone that people actually respected and loved and care for… at least back where they were originally from.

The connection between the kingdom where the Beast is from and Maurice and Rosalind also comes into play, and the background on that is almost heartbreaking and reminds me of World War II. Maybe not as devastating with the concentration camps and an all-out war, but you’ll see what I mean when you read it.

We’ve always wondered what happened with Belle’s mother, and this book really explains what happened. It’s also true to its word on being a “twisted tale” as nothing is as it seems, and certain scenes that you may imagine to play out as it did in the original – or remade – Disney versions don’t always happen that way. Are you expecting everything to fall into place, even with the realization that Rosalind was the one that placed the curse on the kingdom? Will Rosalind even be found alive in this book, or will Belle have to face the fact that her mother left, and died? Will Maurice ever remember the loving wife that he adored and couldn’t imagine life without before he seemed to have forgotten about her?

So many questions came into my mind as I was reading it, and trust me when I say that it does not end neatly wrapped with everything explained. It leaves just enough for the imagination to grow, but still has the elements that made the Disney version loveable. I think I liked this book almost a little more than the Disney animated version. The live-action remake? Well, not so much.

See for yourself. And remember, it’s not always what it seems.

Rated: 4/5