What if Belle’s mother cursed the Beast? That’s the question this book is based around.
“Once upon a time in a faraway land, a young prince lived in a shining castle…”
Everyone knows the story of The Beauty and the Beast, and Disney fans know it inside out, but this book explores what the story would be if the curse unveiled more than just the Beast’s history, but Belle’s and the village’s as well.
“Once upon a time, slightly longer ago than before, there was a kingdom whose name and very existance have long since been forgotten. While the rest of the world was fighting for control of new lands across the seas, inventing ever more deadly weapons and generously gifting their own religion to foriegn people who didn’t want it, this kingdom just splendidly was.”
In this version of events, the village is a small town where magical people and creatures (les charmantes) can live in secret and in harmony with humans with unusual talents, such as Maurice himself. Maurice falls in love with a beautiful enchantress, Rosalind, who they say is the most powerful of them all.
When les charmantes are in danger and are disappearing with no explanation, Rosalind knows that her non-magic daughter and husband will be safer living without her and casts a spell on them ensuring that they forget all about magic and les charmantes.
When Belle takes the place of her father in the Beast’s castle she, of course, learns of the castle’s magic, helping the Beast to break the curse. But all around her, there are signs of the past, signs of her mother’s involvement. So Belle and the Beast share their journeys: Belle to find her mother and the Beast to break the curse and set himself and his castle free.
Alternating chapters tell the reader both Belle’s and her mother’s story and they come to learn more and more about the castle and the village, giving a whole new stance on the original Beauty and the Beast story.
Belle stumbled in confusion. As clear as if it were occurring right there behind her eyes, she saw the truth: the Prince who was the Beast, the spell, the rose, the Enchantress.
The rose was from her garden. That was why it had looked familiar.
Belle held the blossom before her face in wonder. Her mother had held it exactly ten years before, the same way.
But under her look and the light of the moon, the rose began to fall apart. The petals fell and shifted into glittering red sand that disappeared before it hit the ground, The stem dissolved inch by inch until there was nothing left.
And the Beast howled in despair.