Author: Liz Braswell
What if Belle’s mother cursed the Beast?
When Belle touches the Beast’s enchanted rose, memories flood through Belle’s mind — memories of a mother she thought she would never see again. And, stranger still, she sees that her mother is none other than the beautiful enchantress who cursed the castle and all its inhabitants.
Shocked and confused, Belle and the Beast will have to unravel a dark mystery about their families that is 21 years in the making.
As Old as Time is the Twisted Tale for Beauty and the Beast. While it is the third in the series, it can be read completely as a standalone as each story does not relate to the other novels in the series. There are two stories within the novel as there are scenes featuring Maurice and Rosalind, the Enchantress, and others featuring the Beast and Belle in the present. There are still elements from the Disney version, such as, Belle trading herself for her father to be a prisoner, however, the book does not copy all the moments. There are still many elements directly from the Disney version, which follows a similar pattern to the other novels in the series. When the story first begins, I was slightly confused until I realized that this was in the past where Belle’s parents meet. The novel continues to follow the two timelines where the reader gets background into the curse and the present day where they are trying to break it.
The characters in the story have some familiarity to the traits that readers are familiar with along with some changes. Belle does come across as a little more conceited where she believes herself better than the villagers in town. While this is hinted at in the Disney movies, it was exaggerated a little more in this novel, for me. She also was written as a little more sarcastic, which did not quite work with her character. She was still a likable character with a love of books, but there were some pieces of her “new” version that I didn’t connect to as much. The Beast is about the same in terms of his personality with a little more background given to him since the reader explores the background of his curse. Both characters still worked well together, and the general secondary characters all brought back a nice sense of nostalgia.
Overall, I enjoyed the backstory as it gives more context into why the Beast was cursed. The story goes into Belle’s parents meeting, their life together leading to the curse, and the present day where Belle and the Beast are working to break the curse. Belle does not remember a lot about her mother, so she is discovering more about her family along the way. Like the movie(s), she is working to find her own adventure. The twist was interesting, and the ending is still nice while being slightly altered to fit the new story. There was a lot more featuring Maurice and Rosalind, which, at times, became a bit much as I preferred the current timeline with Belle and the Beast. There were moments where the characters felt a little flat, so I wish there were a little more exploration of their characters to make them complex versions of the ones readers are familiar with. It was a generally clever twist on the original story to connect the characters and it was an enjoyable read. While not my favorite in the series, it was worth the read and I will definitely continue with the series.